A Cream-cycle

Angels Are Whipped As Pie Hits For Cycle

Tillman Gets First Victory

August 15, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Seldom-used Orioles left fielder Felix Pie on Friday night became the fourth player in franchise history to hit for the cycle and the first to apologize afterward.

In the Orioles' 16-6 thumping of the Los Angeles Angels - a game in which Orioles heralded rookie right-hander Chris Tillman earned his first career victory - Pie accomplished what only Aubrey Huff, Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson before him had done in an Orioles uniform.

Batting eighth, Pie doubled in the first, homered in the third and singled to lead off the seventh before coming to bat again in the Orioles' seven-run inning.

Needing a triple for the cycle, Pie lined a pitch from Shane Loux into right-center and took off, stopping only when he hit third base.

"I didn't know I hit for the cycle," Pie said. "[Third base coach] Juan Samuel tell me and I say, 'Wow, really?' It's exciting."

Pie threw his arms into the air several times, pumped his right fist and pointed toward an excited home bench. The display apparently drew the ire of Angels manager Mike Scioscia who was on the mound removing Loux from the game.

"Mike was staring at him and [Pie] was excited, gesturing to the guys on our bench," Samuel said. "[Pie] doesn't play that much, and he just got real excited. I'll talk to Mike tomorrow."

So will Pie, who after the biggest game of his career, two standing ovations and a curtain call from the announced crowd of 24,764, apologized to Scioscia and the Angels through the media.

"It's a special time for me, but I'm sad because I showed too much emotion on the field," said Pie, who is hitting .321 in 84 at-bats since May 10. "I apologize to Mike Scioscia and the players on the other team. It's part of the game, emotion, but I showed too much."

By the time Scioscia had reached Loux, the Orioles had taken an 11-run lead in their biggest offensive eruption of the season.

They set season highs in runs and hits (19), their most in each category since scoring 16 runs on 22 hits against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 17, 2008.

The Orioles (48-67) tied a franchise record with nine doubles - the most in the majors this year - and 12 extra-base hits.

They twice batted around, including in the first inning, scoring six runs against Jered Weaver (12-4), who entered the night tied for third in the American League in wins and hadn't lost since June 20.

All this from a club that had scored just 12 runs in its previous five games.

"It was bound to happen," Orioles manager Dave Trembley. "We have so many good guys. Sooner or later they're going to start hitting. Sooner or later. They did tonight."

It was such a rare offensive explosion that after their No. 8 hitter completed the cycle, their No. 9 batter, Cesar Izturis, went to the plate with the chance to do the same. Izturis, who has two homers all season, needed a home run for the cycle but grounded out. He settled for three hits and three RBIs.

"They've got those guys in here doing the drug testing lately. They'd probably ask to do that and check his bat," Trembley joked about what would have happened had Izturis homered in the seventh.

The Orioles also set a season high for shaving-cream pies in the face Friday. Adam Jones and Robert Andino went after Pie and then Jones came back and hit Tillman in the face while he was doing a post-game interview.

The rookie kept his composure and continued answering questions while covered in shaving cream.

It's the least he could do, since Jones' arm helped keep Tillman in the game.

Tillman walked the two first batters he faced on nine pitches and retired just one of the Angels' first five batters.

But Matt Wieters threw out Chone Figgins trying to steal, and Jones nabbed Juan Rivera attempting to stretch a double into a triple to end the Angels' two-run first inning.

The Orioles then scored six, before Tillman took the hill again. He lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) for his second consecutive quality start and first win.

"It's every kid's dream to pitch in the big leagues, and to finally be here and to get the win - especially with Felix doing what he did tonight - that's awesome," Tillman, 21, said. "It means a lot, especially after going out there and giving up those two runs. Coming in, having a long inning and then going out to put up a zero is huge."

"They did a fantastic job tonight," Tillman added. "It was extremely fun to watch from the dugout."


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