Mariners' Moyer still has Orioles baffled

Lefty goes strong 7, gets no-decision vs. ex-team

April 29, 2004|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

The Orioles had to know that they weren't going to do much against Seattle Mariners starter and long-ago Oriole Jamie Moyer, so they did the only thing they could.

They played for time.

Moyer pitched seven innings and gave up one run on four hits, which was about par for the course for a pitcher who has dominated the Orioles so completely during his career that they have beaten him just once since he lost his first career start against Baltimore in 1989.

The Orioles waited him out and scored two runs off reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa in the eighth to score a 3-1 victory.

The numbers don't lie. Moyer entered last night's game with a 14-2 lifetime record and 3.18 career ERA against the Orioles.

He is not off to a particularly impressive start this season, having entered the game with a 1-2 record and a 6.26 ERA, but when he took the mound at Camden Yards, he looked just like the guy who won 21 games last year and always seems to look like Sandy Koufax in slow motion to the Orioles.

"That's because he locates his pitches and he makes you chase balls out of the zone," said Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro. "He basically does whatever he wants to."

Moyer doesn't carry a grudge against the Orioles, who helped him turn around a flagging career in the mid-1990s. He was a struggling, marginal pitcher when he joined the Orioles in 1993. He left after the 1995 season and established himself as one of the game's top control pitchers.

From 1996 through 2003, he went 126-56 and had the highest winning percentage (.692) of any major league pitcher with at least 15 decisions per season.

"He figured it out here," Palmeiro said. "Now he has it totally figured out. He should be able to pitch like this for a few more years. He doesn't need velocity. He just needs to do what he does."

If Moyer also has the Orioles figured out, it isn't anything he can really explain. He's been in the American League for parts of the past 16 years, so it's hard to tie all of his success against the Orioles together.

"My history?" he said. "Is there anyone on that team who's still around all that time ... no. That's almost a completely different team than it was a few years ago. I don't have an answer."

Moyer struggled in the first inning, giving up a leadoff double to Brian Roberts that led to the only run he allowed.

"Obviously, he feels pretty good pitching against us," said Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff. "He's very confident. ... We had him on the ropes a couple of times but let him off the hook.

"It's just one of those things. Some guys have great records against certain teams. It's hard to explain."

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