O's unable to sweep unique twin bill

Cherry saves win in April game

Thome's homer gives Sox split

August 26, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

They got into a handshake line to celebrate one victory, and with the way this homestand has gone, that automatically qualified yesterday as a good day for the Orioles.

It took 120 days for the Orioles to finally close out their rain-suspended April 28 game against the Chicago White Sox, but it was worth the wait as they earned a 4-3 victory that featured Lou Montanez's tiebreaking 14th-inning RBI single and Rocky Cherry's first major league save.

They couldn't build off the momentum of the win and fell, 4-3, in the nightcap before an announced 20,707 at Camden Yards. With the first game counting only as a victory in April, the Orioles (62-69) have a four-game losing streak and are 1-6 on the homestand.

"We're doing our best," said outfielder Nick Markakis, who scored the winning run in the first game and struck out as a pinch hitter with the potential tying run on second base in the seventh inning of the second game. "This homestand has been tough. The Yankees, Red Sox and now the White Sox. We just have to win the next two games and start playing the way that we've played the last two months."

Chris Waters gave the Orioles a much-needed solid start in the second game, going seven innings and allowing three earned runs.

"He kept us in the game. Our situational pitching was good; we came up short," manager Dave Trembley said.

But Waters showed his inexperience with some costly mistakes. He balked in the tying run in the fifth when he was distracted by Carlos Quentin stepping out of and back into the batter's box and thought a timeout had been called.

He then abandoned his slider and hung a curveball to Jim Thome in the sixth inning, and watched it get bashed 435 feet, rolling all the way to the batter's eye in center field. That homer proved to be the difference.

"Thome's been my favorite player since I've been old enough to know about him with the Indians," Waters said. "I dominated him with the slider in the first two at-bats and then I threw him a cookie like that."

Held without a hit for the first three innings and trailing 2-0, the Orioles had five in the fourth inning against White Sox rookie left-hander Clayton Richard, including RBI singles from Ramon Hernandez, Kevin Millar and Jay Payton.

However, they were held off the scoreboard the rest of the way, partly because of two strong defensive plays by third baseman Joe Crede, who was activated from the disabled list earlier in the day.

White Sox closer Bobby Jenks retired Alex Cintron and Brian Roberts with a man on to secure his 26th save.

Jenks and Orioles All-Star closer George Sherrill had blown saves before the April 28 game at U.S. Cellular Field was stopped after 11 innings because of poor field conditions with the game tied at 3.

It resumed last night with the weather much warmer, the stands less populated and the two rosters significantly different.

"It was a strange game," Millar said. "There were 17 people in the stands, we're the visiting team and I was leading off."

The Orioles took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 14th when Montanez, who was with Double-A Bowie when the game initially started, came up with the bases loaded and one out and lined a single over the head of second baseman Juan Uribe.

Cherry retired pinch hitter Jermaine Dye on a pop-up with the bases loaded to secure the victory and validate a gutsy decision by Trembley.

With men on first and third and two outs in the bottom of the 14th, Trembley chose to intentionally walk pinch hitter Ken Griffey Jr. after Cherry had fallen behind 2-0.

That put the winning run on second base and brought Dye off the bench as a pinch hitter.

Cherry jammed Dye on an 0-1 pitch and the Orioles celebrated the long-awaited victory.

"It was good for our team," Trembley said. "It hasn't been exactly peaches and cream around here. We've lost some very tough games."

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