Tejada accepts power outage

Orioles Notebook

Seeing fewer fat pitches, he settles for 200 hits

Gomez bats leadoff

Notebook

September 22, 2006|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN REPORTER

Miguel Tejada hasn't homered in 118 at-bats and for the second straight season, his power numbers have dropped after the All-Star break.

But the shortstop said yesterday that home runs are not the primary weapon in his game and that he's not concerned about his relative power lapse.

"I'm not a home run hitter," Tejada said. "I'm the kind of hitter that I am right now, getting base hits. I hit home runs, but I'm not a home run hitter."

Tejada went 3-for-5 yesterday and ranks third in the American League with a .330 batting average. He leads the Orioles in home runs with 22 and RBIs with 94. He batted .364 in July and .343 in August and reached 200 hits for the third time in his career with his first of three singles yesterday.

But Tejada has homered only five times since the All-Star break. If he finishes with 22 homers, it would be his lowest total since 1999, when he hit 21.

His power numbers might be better if he'd had a healthy Jay Gibbons hitting behind him all season, manager Sam Perlozzo said.

"He tries so hard to carry the team that I think it works against him sometimes," Perlozzo said. "I think it's easier for everyone in the lineup when you have a lot of guys who are hitting."

Tejada acknowledged that he was probably more valuable in the first half, when his power numbers were up.

And Tejada agreed that he's been trying to line the ball to right field. "They know how to pitch me to not hit a home run," Tejada said. "So I try to get hits."

Gomez rising

Kevin Millar stared at the top of the lineup card on the clubhouse wall, shaking his head in disbelief.

Like everyone else associated with the Orioles, he never expected infielder Chris Gomez to hit his way into the leadoff hole. But that's exactly what's happened.

Gomez has been the team's hottest hitter in recent weeks. And yesterday, he spelled Brian Roberts in the No. 1 hole, going 2-for-5 to raise his average to .330.

"I think you're surprised that anyone hits .420 for the month," Perlozzo said. "It doesn't surprise me that he comes in and hits, because he stays on top of his game."

Gomez singled in his first at-bat yesterday to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, tied for a career high.

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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