Rays pour down on O's after rain

Losing before delay, Tampa Bay solves Bedard, ends O's streak

Devil Rays 8 Orioles 6

June 02, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

Perhaps, it's impossible to know what kind of effect the weather delay of 1 hour, 32 minutes last night had on Orioles starter Erik Bedard. He surrendered a long two-run homer before the tarp went on the field and then got two quick outs immediately after it came off.

At that point, both his location and his velocity looked fine. But then the enigmatic left-hander lost his way, giving up three third-inning runs and the lead, as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays avoided a three-game sweep, 8-6, before a crowd of 14,044.

Bedard (5-5) lost his third straight start and has just one win over his last eight outings. The Devil Rays broke their season-long six-game losing streak, prevented the Orioles (25-29) from their season-high fourth straight win, and secured just their third win over the Orioles in 10 tries this season.

The game was halted because of rain and lightning before the start of the third inning with the Orioles leading 3-2. They had just scored two runs off Tampa Bay's No. 1 starter, Scott Kazmir, who clearly was struggling with his command and did not return after the weather delay.

Bedard did, but his stay didn't last long. He got two outs before serving up a double to Carl Crawford.

Aubrey Huff dumped a single into left field and then Ty Wigginton drove in two with another single, giving the Devil Rays a 5-3 lead.

Bedard was done after the third, his third straight disappointing outing. Bedard gave up four earned runs on four hits and a walk. He has won just once since April 20 and has gone at least five innings just once in his past six outings.

John Halama entered in the fourth, meaning Adam Loewen will likely get tomorrow's start against the Yankees. Halama allowed a two-run triple to Crawford, who was thrown out at home to end the fourth while trying for an inside-the-park home run.

Crawford jumped up and slammed his helmet after C.B. Bucknor called him out, and then fell to the ground clutching his knee.

Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon also came off the bench to argue. Tampa Bay still led 7-3. The lead was cut to three runs when Kevin Millar hit a bases-empty homer, his fourth of the season, off Travis Harper in the fourth.

The Devil Rays reclaimed the four-run lead on Toby Hall's RBI single in the fifth.

Before the rains came, Tampa Bay had taken the lead in the first on Jonny Gomes' two-run homer, his 15th of the season. Gomes hammered Bedard's 0-1 fastball 430 feet over the center- field wall.

The Orioles answered with a run in the bottom of the inning, manufactured by the speed of Brian Roberts. The All-Star second baseman drew a leadoff walk, stole second and then stole third with one out. They were Roberts' first steals since returning from the disabled list and he is now 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts this season.

The Orioles tacked on two more in the second, again buoyed by a Scott Kazmir leadoff walk. Catcher Ramon Hernandez took the free pass, advanced to second on a wild pitch, went to third on Millar's fly ball and then scored on Corey Patterson's RBI single.

After taking second for his 20th steal in 21 attempts, Patterson scored on Roberts' line drive single over the head of Tampa Bay third baseman Huff. Kazmir struck out third baseman Melvin Mora swinging, leaving two men on in the second.

Still, Kazmir threw 44 pitches through two innings. The Orioles used the same patient approach last night as they did on Opening Day, when they scored six runs on the left-hander on eight hits and three walks.

On Opening Day, Kazmir threw 104 pitches in four-plus innings, the worst outing of his season. They expected the task to be far tougher last night.

"He's been a pretty dominant pitcher since Opening Day." Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.

The 22-year-old entered last night one off the American League lead in wins with seven, second in the A.L. in strikeouts (73) and fifth in ERA (2.86). But he did not return to the game, following the weather delay.

Bedard did, but lasted only one more inning.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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