Cabrera submerges Mariners in 7-2 win

Orioles rookie shines in second straight start

Bigbie hits 2-run homer

May 19, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

SEATTLE - The Orioles have a new starting pitcher who runs from the dugout before each inning, missing the foul line in the old superstition with a leap that looks like it should be measured for distance at the Olympics.

At 6 feet 7, Daniel Cabrera is all limbs, but he quickly channels that exuberance and turns into an unflappable force on the mound. When his work is finished, he returns to the dugout with a purposeful strut, pausing only to hop over the foul line again.

The Orioles saw it again last night, in their 7-2 victory at Safeco Field, and as they watched in wonderment, the poor Seattle Mariners probably wanted to weep.

For the last-place Mariners, the whole night was a reminder of yesteryear. Before the game, the stadium's video board flashed the live telecast of former Seattle ace Randy Johnson finishing his perfect game against the Atlanta Braves.

Seattle, the franchise that could never seem to keep its best players, traded Johnson to the Houston Astros in 1998 for a package of three players that included a promising minor league pitcher named Freddy Garcia.

How time flies. Now, it's Garcia who could be nearing the end of his Mariners' rope. At 13-25, Seattle is expected to start unloading some parts soon, and Garcia could be the first to go. He spoke openly about his desire to be traded to the New York Yankees last weekend.

So on a night the Orioles could enjoy watching Cabrera (2-0) hold the Mariners to two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings, Seattle suffered again.

The Orioles jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, and Larry Bigbie made it 5-1 in the sixth with a 417-foot home run to center field off Garcia.

Bret Boone homered off Cabrera in the seventh, trimming the lead to three, but B.J. Ryan turned in 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and the Orioles pulled away with two runs in the ninth.

Safeco Field used to be a house of horrors for the Orioles. Since 1999, they are 5-21 here, but these aren't the same Mariners. Including their earlier series at Camden Yards, the Orioles have now won three of the four meetings this season.

Before last night's game, Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said it wasn't a "make-or-break start" for Cabrera, who held the Chicago White Sox to two hits in six scoreless innings last Thursday for a 1-0 win in his first major league appearance.

"I like what I did see," Mazzilli said, "and I want to at least see it for a couple of more times."

Presumably, Cabrera will start Sunday's series finale at Anaheim before the Orioles decide anything. Matt Riley, who has been out with a sore left shoulder, is eligible to come off the disabled list next Tuesday, but Mazzilli said he's not sure when that move will be made.

Cabrera doesn't seem to let anything faze him. He has shown remarkable poise for someone who had never won a game above Single-A before beating the White Sox and someone who won't turn 23 until May 28.

Leading 3-0 in the second, Cabrera grooved a 3-2 fastball that Raul Ibanez drilled into the right-field seats for a home run. But showing almost no emotion, Cabrera got right back on the mound and retired the next three batters.

He issued a leadoff walk to Rich Aurilia in the third inning, and three batters later, he had three outs.

After an error by shortstop Miguel Tejada with two outs in the fourth, Cabrera issued a four-pitch walk to Dan Wilson, but John Olerud fouled out to third, ending that threat.

The Seattle fans who cheered the end of Johnson's perfect game can't be blamed for getting jaded. The Mariners were considered the favorites to land Tejada last offseason, before the Orioles trumped their five-year offer with a six-year, $72 million purchase.

Tejada gave the Orioles a first-inning lead when he hit a run-scoring double over the head of center fielder Randy Winn. Bigbie had a run-scoring groundout in the second, and after Brian Roberts kept the inning alive with a seven-pitch walk, Melvin Mora hit an RBI single up the middle.

Mora, who led the American League in hitting entering the day, went 3-for-5, raising his average to .377.

After using 34 pitches to get through the second inning, Garcia found his rhythm, retiring nine in a row at one point. But Luis Matos doubled with two outs in the sixth, and Bigbie followed with his sixth homer of the season.

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