Colon keeps O's bats quiet for fifth loss in a row, 3-1

Angels reach Bedard for 3 runs in fifth to win

August 25, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo refuses to concede the wild card to another team. He's done the math. He knows they haven't been eliminated, and a stubborn streak won't allow him to write off the season.

They'll be finished, though, if a winning streak doesn't develop pretty soon.

With runs being scarce again last night, the Orioles lost their fifth game in a row, 3-1, to the Los Angeles Angels before 27,586 at Camden Yards, leaving Perlozzo's record at .500 since he replaced Lee Mazzilli and testing his optimism.

"As far as we're concerned, we need to win," he said. "And we need to do it pretty quickly if we're going to stay in the race."

The Orioles look like a team that's threatening to pull up - not from a lack of effort, but a lack of offense. They've scored five runs off starting pitchers in the past five games, and were blanked by Bartolo Colon last night until Rafael Palmeiro's sacrifice fly in the ninth.

"It goes through cycles," Palmeiro said. "Teams are going to do that."

Expected to bash teams into submission much of the season, the Orioles have scored four runs or fewer in seven of their past 11 games, and totaled 35. They've reached double figures in hits three times.

"That's baseball," shortstop Miguel Tejada said. "We've got to give credit to their pitchers. You can't do much about that. But tomorrow is another day."

Turned away with every threat through the first four innings, the Angels finally broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with three runs off left-hander Erik Bedard. Garret Anderson, Bengie Molina and Robb Quinlan had RBI singles after two walks - one intentional - and a sacrifice bunt fueled the rally.

By that time, the Orioles had one hit and little reason to expect a surge. Not as long as Colon stood on the mound.

Their first serious threat against him came in the fifth inning after Javy Lopez and Jay Gibbons singled with none out. B.J. Surhoff flied to center and Eric Byrnes lined to Quinlan, the Angels third baseman, who doubled off Lopez at second.

The Orioles began the sixth with a hit batter and walk, but Melvin Mora lined to second baseman Adam Kennedy, beginning another double play.

"We're trying to be aggressive, a little too aggressive," Perlozzo said. "Everyone's pushing a little bit. We need to get some hits to fall in there."

An offense that's been shutting down lately welcomed Palmeiro to the lineup. Palmeiro, returning from a sprained right ankle, has played in three of a possible 21 games since being suspended for violating baseball's steroid policy.

"I feel good enough to go out there and play and be productive," he said.

Last night marked Palmeiro's return to first base after twice serving as the designated hitter. It was his second appearance at home since the suspension, and the crowd's response was mixed, the cheering and boos not nearly as loud as for his debut. He went 0-for-3 with an RBI.

"I felt pretty decent," he said.

The game figured to challenge every Orioles hitter with the Angels sending out Colon (17-6), who's trying to become their first 20-game winner since Nolan Ryan in 1974.

Colon hasn't lost since July 16, a span of seven starts. He retired the first eight Orioles before Matos singled to right.

"He hasn't won 17 games for nothing," Perlozzo said.

Bedard (6-5) has posted one victory since May 21, though he left his last start with a 4-1 lead before Cleveland's Casey Blake hit a three-run homer off Todd Williams in the eighth inning. He's 1-4 in eight appearances since coming off the disabled list.

"He was actually throwing the ball well," Perlozzo said. "Some of them were jam shots, but when you get the ball up, they get over the infielders' heads for hits."

While Colon made the early innings look easy, Bedard treated them as a chore. He walked Darin Erstad with two outs in the first before getting Vladimir Guerrero to hit into a force. Juan Rivera walked and Quinlan singled with two outs in the second, but Kennedy struck out. Guerrero flied to center after consecutive one-out singles by Orlando Cabrera and Erstad in the third, and Anderson struck out.

The fourth inning had the potential to wreck Bedard's start, with Molina doubling over Luis Matos and Rivera singling with none out. Quinlan flied to shallow right-center and Kennedy grounded to Mora, who threw home to get Molina in a rundown.

Sensing another great escape, Bedard retired Chone Figgins. The game still was scoreless. It just wouldn't stay that way. And an offense remained dormant for much too long.

"You've got nine guys in the lineup. You don't expect nine to scuffle," Perlozzo said. "An offense like this shouldn't shut down for an extended period. We'll be OK, but time is creeping up on us."

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Los Angeles Angels

Site/Time: Camden Yards/7:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/1090 AM

Starters: Angels' John Lackey (10-4, 3.66) vs. Orioles' Rodrigo Lopez (12-7, 4.81)

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