O's remain in zone out West, win 8th in row

Club gets season-high 20 hits in 11-3 victory over Angels, is 3 games under .500 mark

August 11, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Apparently, this revival by the Orioles plays out just as well on the opposite coast.

It stands up to exhausting cross-country travel and time zone changes. It's also heat resistant, preventing a season-long winning streak from melting into defeat, and immune to the game-changing effects of the Rally Monkey.

How much further can it go?

The Orioles have to wonder after getting a season-high 20 hits and just enough out of right-hander Daniel Cabrera, to produce an 11-3 victory over the Anaheim Angels last night and move them within three games of .500 for the first time in two months.

Played before a sellout crowd of 43,068 at Angel Stadium, the game included a run-scoring double by Melvin Mora in the first inning, a bases-empty homer by Larry Bigbie in the second, a three-run shot by Miguel Tejada in the eighth and four hits from Brian Roberts, and concluded with the Orioles' eighth straight win.

The streak is the Orioles' longest since winning 13 straight in September 1999.

"The guys feel good about what's going on," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "It's fun to play that way. You pitch, you hit, and you roll the dice and see what happens."

Tejada drove in five runs, increasing his total to 106, most in the American League.

"Anytime you have a guy like him you feel lucky," Mazzilli said of Tejada. "The kid's a player, no doubt about it."

Mora extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a shot into right-center field off Aaron Sele (7-1) that delivered Roberts, who led off with a single. Mora, who also walked twice, was batting .439 with 16 RBIs in his previous 11 games.

The night began with Mora trailing Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki by six points for the lead in the AL batting race. But there's another race that interests him more.

With the Tampa Bay Devil Rays losing last night, the Orioles took over sole possession of third place in the East Division. They're still seven games back in the loss column for the wild card, with five teams ahead of them.

OK, so it isn't all perfect.

Cabrera hadn't won since July 20 in Kansas City, and he needed 26 pitches to close the first inning last night. He battled through the sixth, throwing 107 pitches and walking five, and left with a 6-3 lead that would have been bigger if the Orioles hadn't stranded 15 runners before he exited.

"I feel like this team can strike at any time," Mazzilli said, "but you don't like to leave that many men on base."

Cabrera had a score to settle with the Angels, who handed the rookie his first loss on May 23. In his shortest outing this season, Cabrera allowed six runs and nine hits in four innings.

The Orioles were 20-17 before making their first trip to Anaheim and being swept in three games, losing to Sele on the day Cabrera pitched. This time, Sele was ushered out after 4 2/3 innings with the Orioles leading 5-3.

He allowed 13 hits, the last a run-scoring single by David Newhan. A sixth run was charged to him when Tejada singled off reliever Kevin Gregg.

Newhan added a two-run single in the eighth, giving the Orioles an 8-3 lead. They had been 0-for-4 with the bases loaded.

The Angels had threatened to pull even after trailing 4-2 going into the fourth inning. Darin Erstad scored on a grounder up the middle by Josh Paul, but Roberts made a diving stop to hold Robb Quinlan at third. David Eckstein bounced to Tejada, who threw home for the out, and the Orioles stayed in front.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Anaheim Angels

Site: Angel Stadium of Anaheim (Calif.)

Time: 10:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Erik Bedard (5-6, 4.47) vs. Angels' Kelvim Escobar (6-8, 4.15)

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