DeJean, O's perplexed by reliever's slide

6-pitch, 3-hit Friday outing leads to crushing defeat

At 0-4, "I don't have any answers"

With Ryan wearing down, Mazzilli revisits options


ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Late Orioles game: Last night's game between the Orioles and the Angels in Anaheim, Calif., ended too late to be included in this edition. A complete report can be found in later editions or on the Internet at www.

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli has built a reputation for going against the book this season and trusting his players during moments they didn't even know they could trust themselves.

It worked on Opening Night, when he used recently exiled starter Rodrigo Lopez in the sixth inning of a tight game against the Boston Red Sox. It worked with B.J. Ryan countless times, as he evolved into the team's primary setup man.

And though the results weren't quite as convincing, it worked Wednesday night, when Mike DeJean protected a seventh-inning lead by the slimmest of margins in Seattle.

So with Ryan fighting arm fatigue and the Orioles leading the Anaheim Angels, 3-1, in the eighth inning Friday night, Mazzilli decided to roll the dice with DeJean again.

The results were disastrous.

Anaheim rallied for four runs in the eighth to pull out a 5-3 win at Angel Stadium.

In yet another blow to DeJean's diminished confidence, and perhaps the confidence of the first-year manager, the Angels strung together three quick singles before Mazzilli rescued DeJean from the game.

With the Rally Monkey jumping on the score board, and a crowd of 43,557 fans going berserk, Mazzilli summoned another right-hander, Darwin Cubillan, into a tight spot.

The lead had shrunk to 3-2, and the Angels had runners at second and third. With first base open, Mazzilli opted to have Cubillan pitch to Jose Guillen, who delivered a two-run single to right-center field, giving the Angels the lead.

Guillen stole second, and Jose Molina followed with another run-scoring single before Mazzilli finally summoned Ryan, who didn't escape the inning until Robb Quinlan singled and Orioles right fielder Jay Gibbons threw out Molina at the plate.

It had taken DeJean (0-4) just six pitches to turn another game upside down. In his previous three losses, he had entered with the score tied, so this registered as his most crushing defeat as an Oriole.

"When [stuff] hits the fan." DeJean said, "you just look at who gets the most on them, and right now I've got the most on me."

DeJean had lowered his ERA from 8.38 to 5.93 in his previous five appearances. He gave up an infield single to Jolbert Cabrera and walked Bret Boone to load the bases on Wednesday night in Seattle before striking out Edgar Martinez on a generous call from home plate umpire Larry Young for the third out.

But just like that outing, DeJean walked away from Friday night's game incredulous because nobody had hit the ball especially hard off of him.

Pinch hitter Adam Kennedy started the rally with a single down the third base line - an opposite-field poke. Then the speedy Chone Figgins reached on a perfectly placed bunt single to second base.

Then Vladimir Guerrero dumped a little flare into center field, and the runners moved up to second and third after Ken nedy scored.

"D.J. made good pitches." Ryan said, sympathetically. "He could have had two ground-ball outs."

DeJean stood up and answered reporters" questions afterward.

"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's nothing I would change about the way I pitched tonight. ... I don't have any answers, all I know is to go out there and keep pitching."

Mazzilli could be questioned for trusting DeJean again, but it's important to note that Ryan hasn't been feeling his invincible self.

Ryan had recorded four outs Tuesday and three outs Wednes day in Seattle, protecting leads in eventual Orioles" victories. He did not pitch Thursday.

"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."

Afterward, the wounds were too deep for Mazzilli to know exactly where to go with DeJean from here, but he could be thrust into a different role.

"I don't know yet." Mazzilli said. "I'm going to sit down with him and see how he's doing. He's done it before so I'd like to think he's going to be able to do it again."

Orioles today

Opponent: Anaheim Angels

Site: Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Calif.)

Time: 4:05 p.m.

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

Starters: Orioles' Daniel Cabrera (2-0, 1.42) vs. Angels' Aaron Sele (2-0, 2.97)

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