Blue Jays batter O's, 12-0

Mora's error with 2 outs in first leads to 4 runs

Palmeiro doesn't play

August 13, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

By the time Toronto Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun launched a three-run homer last night, Melvin Mora could have used an icepack for his neck. Not from watching the flight of the ball, but from berating himself again. There was lots of guilt to go around. His turn came first.

Mora's throwing error with two outs extended the first inning, and it led to four unearned runs off Daniel Cabrera, who almost incited a bench-clearing brawl after hitting Eric Hinske in the Orioles' 12-0 loss to the Blue Jays before 29,069 at Camden Yards.

Nine batters came to the plate against Cabrera, who followed the error by allowing a single, an RBI double by Corey Koskie and Zaun's shot to right field. He gave up another single and drilled Hinske, who took a few steps toward Cabrera as both benches emptied.

So much for damage control. Or any sort of control.

"He could have been out of the inning," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said, "but at the same time, we could have pitched a little better that inning."

Toronto also sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth, scoring six times with two outs. Zaun had a two-run double off Eric DuBose, and Alex Rios hit a three-run homer off Aaron Rakers - both pitchers making their 2005 debuts. Shea Hillenbrand homered off Steve Kline in the eighth.

The Orioles (56-59), shut out on nine hits by Josh Towers, are 5-3 under Perlozzo and 5-6 since Rafael Palmeiro left their lineup. Palmeiro didn't play again last night after taking batting practice, and didn't barge into Perlozzo's office with any demands.

"My timing's pretty good, but that's batting practice," he said. "It's just getting into the games. It's a little bit different when they're changing speeds.

"I'll talk to Sam and we'll come up with a plan. I haven't played in 10 days. Baseball is a little different than any other sport, especially in hitting. You have to have your timing, and when you step away, just for two or three days, it takes time to get back into it. I just want to ease back into it."

Perlozzo was willing to let Palmeiro plead his case, but the final decision didn't belong to the first baseman.

"I think he's going to use some common sense. I really do," Perlozzo said. "I think he's going to come in whenever he feels that he's ready to play."

Jay Gibbons made his first start at first base since June 15 against the Houston Astros. Perlozzo said he's leaning toward holding out Palmeiro until tomorrow.

"I'd like to see him get in at least one game at some point," Perlozzo said. "I think that would be good for him."

The Orioles have to be certain that Palmeiro is ready physically after the layoff, an obvious consideration for a 40-year-old player.

"He's pretty sensible in terms of what he's trying to do with his body," Perlozzo said. "It's going to be our job to make sure something doesn't happen."

Palmeiro rushed on the field sooner than expected, after Cabrera (8-11) nailed Hinske on the right shoulder. Hinske yelled at Cabrera, and catcher Sal Fasano moved in front of him. No punches were thrown and nobody was ejected, but both sides were issued warnings.

"I thought it was gutless," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "You throw that hard, you can kill somebody."

Cabrera, winless since July 14, left before reporters were allowed inside the clubhouse. He has angered teams in the past, the concern being that he can't harness a fastball that almost touches 100 mph. He didn't make any friends last night, walking toward Hinske as Fasano got between them.

"It was a 2-0 pitch and he threw a fastball right at my head," Hinske said. "When it's coming at a guy's head, you're messing with a guy's career. That's just wrong."

Said Perlozzo: "I don't know if he did it [on purpose]. It certainly didn't look good. I'll talk to him later. It's not something I'd like to see happen."

If the Blue Jays thought Cabrera was aiming at Hinske, they should consider how he walked the first two batters in the second inning. And how he walked five in 3 2/3 innings his last start, and seven in a July 25 loss. Cabrera isn't just having trouble controlling his emotions.

Mora tried to keep his own under wraps, but he snapped his head in anger after Koskie's double, and again after Zaun homered. Without his error, which came after he cut in front of shortstop Miguel Tejada to field Vernon Wells' grounder, the Blue Jays would have gone down in order.

"He made a mistake," Perlozzo said. "We all make errors. You're supposed to get away with them once in a while."

Koskie homered in the fifth, and Perlozzo called upon DuBose. The five-run deficit already was too large to overcome against Towers, who blanked his former team over eight innings in his last start here, and maintained his shutout last night when Chris Gomez was thrown out at the plate to end the game.

Orioles today

Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays

Site, time: Camden Yards, 4:35 p.m.

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

Starters: Blue Jays' Dave Bush (2-5, 4.94) vs. Orioles' John Maine (2005 debut)

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