O's walk to win in 13th

Bigbie's base on balls defeats Red Sox, 3-2

O's draw four walks in inning, earn split of four-game series

April 09, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The first road trip of a long season is upon the Orioles, and they began a three-city tour with bags packed and their spirits lifted.

Left-hander Matt Riley held the Boston Red Sox to one earned run over 6 1/3 innings last night, leaving with the score tied, and a bases-loaded walk to Larry Bigbie in the 13th gave the Orioles a 3-2 victory before 31,121 at Camden Yards.

Reliever Bobby Jones walked four batters in the inning, bumping the Red Sox total to 13 and enabling the Orioles to split the four-game series before heading to St. Petersburg, Fla., for three games against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The trip also includes three games in Boston and three in Toronto.

Javy Lopez drew a leadoff walk against Jones, the fifth reliever used by Boston manager Terry Francona. Jose Bautista failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt before striking out, but David Segui, Luis Matos and Bigbie were rewarded for their patience. So were the Orioles.

"I don't know how I laid off the last one since I swung at the first two and they were about the same height," said Bigbie, who ran the count full before watching a high fastball. "I figured I'd take my chances and let this one go.

"This was a big game for us tonight. You don't want to drop three at home. Now we've got a little bit of momentum."

The Orioles had an opportunity to win in the 10th after Melvin Mora doubled off the scoreboard and took third on a wild pitch. Rafael Palmeiro was walked intentionally with one out, and Lopez lifted a fly ball into shallow center field. Johnny Damon made the catch and threw home, where Jason Varitek applied the chest-high tag on Mora.

Boston left the bases loaded in the 11th, with Buddy Groom striking out Cesar Crespo to end the inning, and the Orioles hurt themselves in the bottom half when Bautista, a pinch-runner, was called out for leaving first base too soon after tagging on Segui's fly ball.

Rule 5, meet Rule 7.10.

"He left early," said Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli, whose bullpen posted 6 2/3 scoreless innings, the last 1 1/3 by Rodrigo Lopez. "We saw it from the bench. We just hoped the umpires didn't see it."

Breaking camp with so much youth in their starting rotation was a risky proposition for the Orioles, one that didn't bring its first reward until last night.

The final member of the 25-man roster to appear in a game, Riley carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth before Ellis Burks homered into the Orioles' bullpen with one out. Riley had retired nine in a row and held the Red Sox without a hit after Manny Ramirez delivered a run-scoring single in the first.

Riley walked the bases loaded in the seventh, the only out coming when Crespo bunted foul with two strikes, before left-hander B.J. Ryan replaced him with the score tied 2-2. Riley slammed his glove on the bench, then paced the dugout as Ryan got the next two batters to line out.

Wearing a black sweatshirt to stay warm, Riley jumped to the top step of the dugout and tapped fists with Ryan. Riley wouldn't get a decision, but he made quite an impression.

"He was throwing 96 [mph] at times and got his curveball over when he wanted," Mazzilli said. "He just went after hitters. He threw strikes."

Awarded a spot in the rotation after spring training, Riley outlasted knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who left with one out in the sixth inning. Wakefield held the Orioles to three hits, but he walked five and threw 102 pitches.

Never certain when his signature pitch will betray him, Wakefield walked the bases loaded with one out in the fourth. Segui lined a two-run single up the middle to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead, the ball eluding Wakefield's glove and deflecting off second base before rolling into the outfield.

The contrasts between Wakefield and Riley extended miles beyond their favorite pitches. Riley was appearing in his sixth major league game, 387 fewer than Wakefield, who broke into the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992.

The kid held up pretty well last night. Riley retired 14 of 15 after walking Kevin Millar in the first, and responded to another error by Mora by freezing Ramirez with a curveball to end the third. Mora has four errors in four games.

Making his first career start against the Red Sox, Riley had them guessing wrong.

"I can't be gloating too much," said Riley, who allowed three hits. "I've got to understand that I have to start in seven days against the same team. They're going to try to make some adjustments, just like maybe I need to do with them."

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Site: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Time: 7:15

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Sidney Ponson (1-0, 1.59) vs. Devil Rays' Mark Hendrickson (9-9, 5.51 in 2003)

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