Play It Again

April 01, 2008|By ROCH KUBATKO

A recap of the Orioles' 6-2 loss to the Rays yesterday:

Rough start

This isn't exactly what Jeremy Guthrie had in mind when the Orioles named him the Opening Day starter. Hoping to get the team off to a 1-0 start, Guthrie took the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one, struck out two and hit a batter. Eric Hinske led off the fourth inning with a long home run, and Guthrie was gone after consecutive singles by Dioner Navarro and Jason Bartlett in the sixth increased Tampa Bay's lead to 6-2.

Successful relief debut

Anointed the long man in the bullpen, Matt Albers made his Orioles debut in the middle of the game. He replaced Guthrie with one out in the sixth and retired all eight batters he faced, striking out one. And he did so in only 26 pitches, 19 of them strikes. "That was probably the best I've seen Albers with his location all spring," manager Dave Trembley said. "He didn't throw one ball above the thighs. Everything was down, and his breaking stuff was sharp and late." Albers lost out to Brian Burres for the fifth starter's job and is the only true long reliever in the bullpen once Burres makes his first start next week, but Trembley wanted to give him an opportunity to pitch yesterday.

When it rains ...

Very little went right for the Orioles, and that was evident in the eighth as they tried to rally. Brian Roberts singled with one out and broke for second base as Melvin Mora batted against former Oriole Al Reyes. Plate umpire Bob Davidson called Mora out on strikes, then ruled that Mora committed batter's interference by crossing in front of Navarro, the Tampa Bay catcher, and preventing a throw to second. Mora took a few steps toward first, thinking he had drawn a walk. Navarro rose out of his crouch and cocked his arm but couldn't release the ball. Inning over. "He thought Melvin impaired Navarro's opportunity to throw the ball," Trembley said. "I didn't think there was any intent, but it's Bob's judgment, and he thought there was."

On deck

The Orioles are off today before continuing their three-game series against the Rays. Daniel Cabrera will face Tampa Bay's Matt Garza tomorrow. Cabrera was named the No. 2 starter in part because Trembley wants to keep him on regular rest, and it's his turn after making his last exhibition start Friday. Garza was 5-7 with a 3.69 ERA for the Minnesota Twins in 2007. He was acquired with starting shortstop Bartlett as part of the Delmon Young trade.

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