Friday night's game

Tired Bedard puts his '06 to rest

Red Sox 4 Orioles 3

October 01, 2006|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

BOSTON -- While the rest of his teammates were at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, Erik Bedard was settling into his Boston hotel room so he could get a good night's rest in preparation for his final start of the season.

The last thing Bedard expected was a drama-filled night, but that's what he got when he turned on his television and watched his teammate and friend, Daniel Cabrera, make a run at a no-hitter. The normally reserved Bedard was so incensed when Robinson Cano broke up the no-hit bid with one out in the ninth, he said that he had to restrain himself from throwing something at the television.

His emotions were well in check Friday night, even as his breakthrough season ended with Bedard all too often resorting to his previous form. He allowed four runs in five innings and the Orioles were beaten again by the Boston Red Sox, 4-3, in front of 36,269 on a chilly night at Fenway Park.

It was the Red Sox's 14th victory over the Orioles (69-91) in 16 games, but the evening was not a total loss for the visitors, who are 0-7 this season at Fenway Park. With his second-inning single, his 212th hit in 2006, shortstop Miguel Tejada broke Cal Ripken's single-season hits record, set in 1983.

"I know it was Cal Ripken's record," said Tejada, who finished 2-for-4. "I think it's still going to be Cal Ripken's record. I'm real happy. I'm happy to do it this year. I'm happy to see my kid in the stands to see it. I'm real proud of myself right now.

"Cal Ripken was every kid's favorite player because of the way he played the game. He was a great gentleman, and everyone loved watching him play. ... Now I have the opportunity to be on the same team, in the same clubhouse that he used to play in."

With the loss, Bedard finished with a 15-11 record, a milestone in itself considering that the 27-year-old left-hander had entered the season with just 12 career victories.

Completing a season in which he logged 196 1/3 innings, almost 55 more than he has pitched in any other year, Bedard consistently got himself deep in counts and was unable to put hitters away. He gave up seven hits and walked four with manager Sam Perlozzo attributing his struggles to an inability to grip the baseball on a cold night.

"It was hard to grip the ball, but it's not really an excuse," Bedard said. "I just couldn't throw strikes."

His pitch count was 101 after five innings, a total that conjured up the Bedard of old - a pitcher who nibbled too much and didn't command all his pitches; not the pitcher who had a 3.76 ERA and emerged this season as one of the better young left-handers in the game.

"That's not Erik," Perlozzo said of his pitcher's effort Friday night. "I knew there was something else besides lack of command. He just couldn't get a feel of the baseball. ... He had a breakout year. He's got nothing to be ashamed of."

The Red Sox (85-75) broke a 2-2 tie against Bedard in the fifth, stringing together three straight hits. Wily Mo Pena drove in the go-ahead run with an opposite-field single and Mike Lowell followed with a sacrifice fly that gave Boston a 4-2 advantage.

The Orioles had chances, leaving 10 runners on base and going 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They repeatedly let Boston starter Julian Tavarez off the hook. In five innings, Tavarez (5-4) allowed 11 base runners, but only two of them scored.

Trailing by two runs, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh but Jay Gibbons bounced into a routine double play, bringing home a run, but also squelching the chance for a big inning. Corey Patterson, who missed the previous two games with a bruised left forearm, then ended the inning with a hard groundout to first baseman Carlos Pena.

The Orioles arrived at Fenway Park, feeling pretty good about themselves. It's amazing what a near no-hitter over the New York Yankees and a little rookie hazing could do.

When last seen leaving the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium, several of the Orioles newcomers were sporting costumes in an annual rite of September for major league rookies. The Orioles took a nurse, a stewardess, a butterfly and a police officer on their charter flight here. The smiles were long gone when Boston jumped on Bedard with two runs in the first on Lowell's double.

Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar cut his former team's lead to 2-1 in the third, sending Tavarez's 3-2 pitch over the Green Monster in left field for his 15th home run of the season. The Orioles tied the game later in the inning when Gibbons drew a bases-loaded walk.

But a night after watching his buddy lose his no-hit bid in the ninth, Bedard saw his season end on a bad note. His reaction was much more subdued than it was a night earlier.

"I still had a good season," he said. "You can't think about the negatives."

Notes -- The Orioles are expected to announce four-year extensions of their working agreements with three of their minor league affiliates: Single-A Frederick, Single-A Delmarva and Double-A Bowie. That will match the length of the agreements that the club recently finalized with Single-A Aberdeen and Triple-A Norfolk. ... Rookie Hayden Penn is on track to start today's season finale. jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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