O's, Cabrera breeze by Royals, 13-4

Ugly 8-19 month concludes on up note

rookie stars as O's score 9 in 1st 3 innings

July 01, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - OK, so it came against the worst team in the American League. So it came against the starting pitcher with the highest earned-run average in the majors.

Considering the month the Orioles just had, they weren't going to quibble.

They bid good riddance to their worst month since September 2002 by pounding the Kansas City Royals, 13-4, last night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Orioles capitalized on some shoddy defensive plays and some shoddy pitching by Royals starter Brian Anderson to score nine runs in the first three innings.

That was more than enough for rookie Daniel Cabrera, who carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning, and continued in his surprising role as the team's most reliable starting pitcher.

The Orioles still finished with the worst record in the majors for June, at 8-19, but this game offered several positives that they hope to carry into July, August and September.

Cabrera held the Royals to three runs (two earned) on three hits over seven innings. The Orioles finally rewarded him by scoring some runs. He posted a 2.88 ERA in his previous five starts, but had just one win to show for it.

The Orioles managed just 12 runs in those five games. This time, they had 11 runs by the fifth inning.

Taking a cue from the Orioles, who made the same move last weekend, Kansas City fired pitching coach John Cumberland yesterday, replacing him with Mike Mason.

But with Anderson on the mound, the move didn't have the desired effect. Anderson came in with a 6.75 ERA, the highest of any starter in baseball with enough innings to qualify for the lead.

The Orioles, who were 4-24 in September 2002, didn't win back-to-back games once during June. But it didn't take long last night to realize this would be one of the more relaxed victories of the season.

When Brian Roberts led off the game with a ground ball to shortstop, the Royals made the first of three errors in the first three innings, as Angel Berroa fired the ball over the head of first baseman Mark Sweeney.

Roberts stole second, and with one out, Melvin Mora drilled a run-scoring single into center field. Mora was back in the lineup after missing 10 of 11 games with a strained ligament in his left foot, and he immediately made his presence felt.

Next came Miguel Tejada, and when Anderson hung a 1-0 breaking pitch, Tejada smashed it over the left-field wall for his 13th home run of the season. That home run also extended Tejada's season-high hitting streak to 15 games.

The Orioles wound up scoring five runs in the inning, as Royals center fielder David DeJesus tried making a running catch on drive by Larry Bigbie but had the ball bounce out of his glove, allowing two runs to score.

Anderson made it through the second inning unscathed, but the Orioles struck for four more runs in the third.

Javy Lopez, who finished the game 4-for-4, drew a leadoff walk and Luis Matos followed with a double off the left-field wall.

Then Chad Mottola, playing his first big league game since 2001, stepped in and crushed a three-run homer over the left-field wall. Kansas City has a promotion that awards a Dodge truck to a fan if any Royals player hits a ball into the white truck perched above that wall.

Mottola's blast traveled an estimated 419 feet, and it landed just about 15 feet beneath that truck.

By then, Royals manager Tony Pena had seen enough of Anderson, who was charged with eight runs (five earned) on five hits in two-plus innings, raising his ERA to 7.16.

The Orioles added another run off Royals reliever Justin Huisman in the third inning, and David Newhan hit a two-run homer to right field in the fifth.

Newhan has hit in all 12 games with the Orioles since getting his release from the Texas Rangers. Despite a 1-for-6 night, he is still batting .442 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

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