Red Sox walk all over O's Cabrera

Pitcher forces home three runners in four-run first

Red Sox 14 Orioles 8

Red Sox walk all over O's Cabrera in 14-8 rout

April 09, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

Catcher Ramon Hernandez came out first, followed a couple of batters later by the slow but purposeful trot of pitching coach Leo Mazzone. Before the long and grueling first inning was over for the Orioles Friday night, half of the team's infield had approached the mound to implore Daniel Cabrera to settle down and throw strikes.

The only certainty about Cabrera is you really never know if he'll dominate or implode, wow club officials and fans with his overpowering stuff, or frustrate them with his lapses of control. Friday night, the 24-year-old right-hander melted down in front of 37,063 at Camden Yards, giving up either a walk or a hit to 10 of the 14 batters he faced in Boston's 14-8 victory over the Orioles.

Cabrera's much-anticipated 2006 debut lasted just 1 1/3 innings, matching the shortest outing of his career. Of the 60 pitches he threw, 38 were balls. During one stretch of his 42-pitch, four-run first inning, Cabrera walked five of six hitters, forcing home three runs.

"Bad," was Cabrera's first response when approached after the game by reporters. "I am going to go out there and [try] to pitch, try to stay out there for five, six, seven innings. It really didn't happen tonight."

Cabrera walked six in the first inning alone, becoming the first pitcher to do that since then-Florida Marlin Ryan Dempster did it in October 2001.

"When I walked the second guy, I saw my ball run in for the lefty and run out for the right-hander and I said, `I don't know,'" Cabrera said. "I am trying to control that, but I can't."

Eric DuBose relieved Cabrera in the second and didn't fare much better, giving up eight hits, including a long two-run homer by Trot Nixon in the fourth, and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. Overall, Orioles pitching allowed 16 hits and 14 walks, four shy of the franchise record.

"I can see if they're banging the ball around the field, but to walk as many guys as we walked, just can't happen," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.

One day after managing only three hits against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' Mark Hendrickson, the Orioles (2-2) got 16 on Friday night, but most came after the outcome was long decided as they were held scoreless for the first six innings by Boston right-hander Matt Clement.

Center fielder Corey Patterson halted the Orioles' consecutive scoreless inning streak at 15 innings with an RBI single in the seventh and David Newhan hit a three-run homer in the eighth, but by then it was far too late.

When Perlozzo sprinted out of the dugout in the second to lift Cabrera, his team already down 5-0, the Orioles manager stood on the mound, arms extended at Cabrera's side, and calmly lectured his pitcher for several moments.

"You have to learn to get by a bad inning and be able to rally to keep your club in a ballgame," Perlozzo said. "I basically just wanted to calm him down and told him that it wasn't the end of the world. Obviously, when he gets in a jam, he doesn't relax. Instead of getting it a little better and being able to use the stuff that he has, he makes it worse on himself."

Cabrera was masterful in a no-hit, seven-strikeout performance over four innings for the Dominican Republic against Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. However, he returned to the club and had a 5.40 ERA and 11 walks in 15 innings this spring. Perlozzo acknowledged before the game that he and Mazzone hadn't seen the progress that they'd like to have seen this spring from Cabrera.

Red Sox leadoff hitter Coco Crisp, who started Cabrera's mess with a perfectly placed bunt single, prevented things from getting totally out of hand in the first inning, swinging at Cabrera's first pitch and fouling out to Hernandez to leave the bases loaded.

"I told him after the first, `So what, it's four runs. It's only one inning. Let's get it back together, I need you to get us through five innings,'" Perlozzo said. "He just couldn't seem to muster it."

Boston slugger Manny Ramirez, who entered the game in a 1-for-10 slump, singled in Mark Loretta, who had led off the second with a single. After Cabrera walked Trot Nixon, throwing one pitch that went over Nixon's head, Perlozzo had seen enough.

Before the start, Cabrera consulted with Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar, who was with Boston for three seasons, to discuss the Red Sox hitters' tendencies. Millar was hopeful of big things from the pitcher.

"We got a guy throwing tonight that if he takes the next step, I think he's the best in the big leagues," Millar said before the game. "I might be going out on a limb saying that, but I know this kid's got all the stuff to be a star in the is league. Hopefully, this is the year."

Friday night wasn't a good first step. jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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