One night after the Orioles held their organizational meeting to plan moves that could have an impact on next season, pitcher Rick Bauer might have given them a little more to consider. But he also took something - his first win as a starter.
Moved into the rotation for Game 2 of a makeup doubleheader last night, Bauer turned in six scoreless innings before the bullpen nailed down a 4-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays that completed a sweep before 20,600 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles won the opener, 7-6, on David Newhan's two-out, bases-loaded single off Justin Speier. Newhan also had a run-scoring triple in the eighth inning of Game 2.
Assured of a third-place finish, the Orioles (76-81) apparently won't let up until the season ends. Win or lose, it's usually competitive.
"That's the way they've been playing," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said.
In his first start since Aug. 24, 2002, which also came against the Blue Jays, Bauer allowed three hits, walked one and struck out a career-high seven batters.
"If I'm on," he said, "I can definitely start at this level."
He has to stay here first. Bauer went on the disabled list this season and was optioned twice - the last one causing him to erupt at his locker.
"I've put up with a lot of [stuff] this year and even got hurt for once," he said. "But I've been feeling good since I've been back."
As if having a true doubleheader wasn't bad enough, the Orioles almost were subjected to extra innings in sloppy weather in Game 1. But they loaded the bases with none out on a single, error and intentional walk, and Newhan delivered after Javy Lopez popped up the first pitch and Rafael Palmeiro struck out.
"We were playing with fire," said Toronto manager John Gibbons, "but we almost got out of it."
Miguel Tejada singled in the fifth inning for his 143rd RBI, breaking Palmeiro's team record. Tejada clapped his hands as he reached first base, and requested the baseball as a souvenir.
"It's the best. That's awesome," said Palmeiro, who set the previous record in 1996. "To have him on the same team as me and see him do it. ... I didn't realize how many RBIs that was until I saw him do it. When I did it, it didn't seem like that many. When he did it, it seemed like a ton of RBIs."
Tejada is expected to be named the team's Most Valuable Player, and Palmeiro has endorsed him for the league award.
"He's the heartbeat of this team," Palmeiro said. "He gets us going. He's one of the leaders. He's vocal, he's exciting. He's everything."
Palmeiro had two more home runs in the opener, giving him nine this month. He had one in August.
His two-run blast in the fourth inning landed on Eutaw Street, the fifth time he's cleared the flag court in his career. Palmeiro had his 34th multi-homer game, and second this season, when he connected again leading off the sixth inning.
"I finally made the adjustments that I needed to about a month ago, and it's working," said Palmeiro, who no longer goes to the opposite field against shifts. "It's a lesson learned. I'll take it into next year from Day One and see what happens."
Vernon Wells had his second two-homer game against the Orioles this month, both shots coming against starter Bruce Chen.
The Blue Jays relied on their power for most of their scoring. Carlos Delgado hit a two-run homer off Jorge Julio in the seventh inning that reduced the Orioles' lead to 6-5. And with Jason Grimsley pitching in the eighth, pinch hitter Russ Adams cleared the fence in center field to tie the score.
Julio was making his first appearance after serving a four-game suspension for throwing at Minnesota Twins infielder Augie Ojeda.
Bauer (2-1) had more rust on him, his last appearance coming Sept. 22 in Boston. In that game, Orlando Cabrera homered off Bauer in the 12th to defeat the Orioles, only the second run Bauer has allowed in 14 1/3 innings since his recall.
More than two years passed since his last start, but the Orioles needed him because of the doubleheader. He was 0-6 with a 5.08 ERA in the rotation.
"We've got a lot of stuff to think about in the offseason," said Mazzilli, whose club has swept three doubleheaders and split three. "We've got pitchers out there trying to show us something."
Jay Gibbons gave Bauer a 1-0 lead in the fifth with a two-out double to right field that scored Lopez. The Orioles had one hit off rookie Gustavo Chacin, making his second major league start, when the inning began.
Gibbons went 3-for-3 in the nightcap, and his double in the eighth gave the Orioles 311 this season, tying their 2002 record. Larry Bigbie pinch-ran for him and scored on B.J. Surhoff's single.
Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
Site: Camden Yards
TV/Radio: Chs. 54, 20/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Blue Jays' Josh Towers (9-7, 4.99) vs. Orioles' Matt Riley (2-4, 5.64)