Play it again -- Orioles 7, Blue Jays 3

April 23, 2007|By ROCH KUBATKO

Not so perfect

Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Gustavo Chacin retired the first nine batters he faced before Jay Payton, making his first start for the Orioles, lined a single to center field. The Orioles weren't finished, though. Melvin Mora walked and Nick Markakis followed with a two-run triple, the ball hitting the top of the fence in center field. Markakis scored on a single by Miguel Tejada, and the Orioles led 3-1.

Clutch again

Tejada entered the weekend 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. He had a run-scoring single and bases-loaded walk Saturday, and an RBI single and two-run single yesterday. He's hit only one home run in 18 games, but he's batting .338. Tejada also increased his RBI total to eight.

Sweet relief

Since allowing four runs in the 12th inning of an April 11 game against the Detroit Tigers, courtesy of a grand slam by Craig Monroe off Kurt Birkins, the Orioles' bullpen had surrendered only one run in 31 1/3 innings before Alex Rios' two-run single off Brian Burres in the ninth inning. Of the 18 runs allowed by the bullpen before yesterday, 11 came on three swings - from Jason Giambi (three-run homer), Alex Rodriguez (grand slam) and Monroe.

On deck

The Orioles begin a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards, with left-hander Erik Bedard facing Dan Haren. Bedard is 3-1, but he's looking to lower his 5.40 ERA. The Orioles have lost the past eight season series to the A's, who are tied with the Los Angeles Angels for the lead in the American League West.

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