Play it again -- Blue Jays 8, Orioles 5

September 27, 2007|By ROCH KUBATKO

Short, not sweet

Victor Zambrano didn't stick around for long, but he sure made an impact. Zambrano was charged with eight runs in the first inning. He allowed four hits, walked three and hit a batter. Manager Dave Trembley removed him after 10 batters came to the plate. Kurt Birkins allowed three inherited runners to score before getting the last out. The eight runs set a Toronto Blue Jays record for the first inning. They also made it virtually impossible for the Orioles to beat Roy Halladay.

Settling down

Once Birkins got out of the first inning, facing three of the 13 batters who came to the plate, he became an effective pitcher. He must have some medical training, too, the way he stopped the bleeding. Birkins gave the Orioles 4 1/3 scoreless innings when they desperately needed him to hang around for a while, their shortage of long relievers an issue. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out six. Birkins also turned in 2 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday at Texas.

The wild side

It's usually an adventure when Radhames Liz enters a game. Will he strike out the side or walk the bases loaded? Will he fall into the first-base dugout after releasing the ball? Liz began the sixth inning by walking the bases loaded in an 8-0 game. It could have gotten ugly, but the rookie recovered nicely. He retired Gregg Zaun on a pop-up, struck out Adam Lind and dispatched Russ Adams on a liner to center. The Orioles promptly scored three runs in the bottom half.

On deck

How nice of a Toronto pitcher to pump up the attendance at Camden Yards. Severna Park native Josh Banks, a second-round pick in the 2003 draft, will have hundreds of friends and family members watching his first major league start. Banks has made two relief appearances against the New York Yankees, allowing a run and two hits in two innings. Jeremy Guthrie returns to the Orioles' rotation after being sidelined with a strained oblique muscle.

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