Angels rally on O's bullpen

DuBose goes stellar 7, but Anaheim roughs up DeJean in 8th, wins, 5-3

O's lefty leaves with a 3-1 lead

`I didn't do the job,' reliever says, now at 0-4

May 22, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Six pitches.

That's all it took for Mike DeJean to spoil an entire game for the Orioles last night and send his season twisting further into the abyss.

Entrusted by Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli to protect a two-run, eighth-inning lead - partly because B.J. Ryan had shown signs of fatigue in Seattle this week - DeJean faced three batters and gave up three singles.

The Anaheim Angels rallied for four runs faster than you can say Rally Monkey and held on for a 5-3 win at Angel Stadium.

Just like that, the Orioles were sent to their second straight defeat after watching Eric DuBose turn in his best start in three weeks.

Six pitches, and to a man in the Orioles' clubhouse, everyone thought DeJean (0-4) deserved better because he had thrown those pitches almost exactly where he wanted them.

"It makes no difference," DeJean said. "Eric pitched his [rear] completely off his body tonight, regardless of whether I made pitches or not. That's the bottom line.

"Our guys were pretty good offensively. We played good defense, and I didn't do my job. So that will keep you guys from using any daggers or vilifying me or anything like that. I didn't do the job."

DuBose held the Angels to one run on six hits over seven innings, but with his pitch count at 100, Mazzilli turned to his bullpen to protect a 3-1 lead.

Starting the eighth inning, Anaheim had a pair of switch-hitters coming to the plate - Alfredo Amezaga and Chone Figgins - with one of the most dangerous right-handed hitters in baseball, Vladimir Guerrero, waiting to come up third.

Mazzilli has gone to Ryan to start the eighth inning eight times this season, but this time he decided to give DeJean his chance. Ryan had recorded four outs Tuesday and three outs Wednesday in Seattle, protecting leads in eventual Orioles' victories.

"In Seattle he said he felt a little rusty," Mazzilli said. "You don't want to get to the point where you use him every day."

Said Ryan: "I didn't feel good in Seattle, but I was still able to get the job done and make some pitches when I had to."

DeJean, who had lowered his ERA from 8.38 to 5.93 in his past five appearances, entered and Angels manager Mike Scioscia promptly went to his bench, sending the left-handed-hitting Adam Kennedy to the plate.

Kennedy singled and then Figgins reached on a perfectly placed bunt toward second baseman Brian Roberts. This ignited the crowd of 43,557, and had the Angels' infamous Rally Monkey jumping around on the scoreboard.

Next came Guerrero, who dropped a single into shallow center field, setting forward a chain-reaction of spellbinding base-running plays. Kennedy scored, Figgins raced to third, ahead of the throw from Luis Matos, and Guerrero deftly took second base, beating a throw from Melvin Mora.

"I knew they were going to do that," Mazzilli said of Scioscia's decision to pinch-hit Kennedy. "I figured [DeJean's] a ground ball type pitcher, and I figured I'd have B.J. come in if I needed him, if they made a change. That's [DeJean's] spot. He's got to find a way to get them out."

With the lead at 3-2 and runners on second and third, Mazzilli replaced DeJean with Darin Cubillan. Then Jose Guillen hit a two-run single and the Angels had their first lead.

The Angels added another run before Mazzilli finally turned to Ryan, who recorded the final two outs of the inning. Afterward, Ryan supported his manager's decision.

"That's a good matchup," he said. "D.J. made good pitches. He could have had two ground-ball outs."

Angels closer Troy Percival pitched the ninth inning for his 11th save, stranding two runners as Mora popped to second base ending the game. Mora finished 2-for-5, raising his major league-leading average to .387.

Asked if he will try to find a different role for DeJean, Mazzilli said, "I don't know yet. I'm going to sit down with him and see how he's doing."

At that moment, DeJean was visibly upset.

"I've owned up to my mistakes," he said. "You guys saw it in the press box, and I saw it on the field. There ain't nothing I would change about the way I pitched tonight.

"I made a good pitch against Jolbert Cabrera [Wednesday in Seattle], and it was an infield hit. When [stuff] hits the fan, you just look at who gets the most on them, and right now I've got the most on me.

"I don't have any answers, all I know is to go out there and keep pitching."

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Anaheim Angels

Site: Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Calif.)

Time: 10:05

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

Starters: Orioles' Sidney Ponson (3-3, 5.69) vs. Angels' Kelvim Escobar (2-2, 4.78)

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