Orioles blast past Red Sox for 2nd straight win

O's hit season-high five home runs against Red Sox

May 02, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

In a baseball season that has started out more dreadfully than any other in Baltimore in 21 years, there is a constant yearning to find the moment when things turn around and the Orioles transform from major league doormat to the regularly scheduled programming of muted expectations and improving mediocrity.

In that context, perhaps the silver lining of this deflating Orioles start emerged Saturday, when their beleaguered offense erupted, their previously deposed young starter recorded a win and their biggest bullies on the block, the Boston Red Sox, fell apart in a 12-9 Orioles win before an announced 35,164 at Camden Yards.

The win not only marked the club's first in May after a dismal 5-18 April, but it also clinched the Orioles' first series victory after losing the first seven in 2010.

"We got April behind us, which wasn't the most pleasant of circumstances, but you've got to put it behind you and you have to keep fighting," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "You have to keep fighting and play every game to the best of your ability and come out and do the very best you can. And you have to trust and have confidence in yourself and in your team. It's that simple."

Saturday's win was the Orioles' third against Boston (11-13) this season in five tries; the Orioles won just two times in 18 games against the Red Sox last year. With a victory Sunday, the Orioles (6-18) would sweep the Red Sox in a three-game series in Baltimore for the first time since September 1974. Their last overall sweep of the Red Sox was of the four-game variety at Camden Yards in 1998.

"It's big; you got to play the best," said Miguel Tejada, whose diving, spinning stop of a hard grounder in the fifth saved a run and was called the turning point in the game by Trembley. "When we play the best, our energy is getting up, and I think everybody has got in their mind that they got to do something. Right now, we are just trying to enjoy the game, and you can tell on everybody's faces, now everybody is just happy."

It's easy to be happy when you hit five homers and score in double digits for the first time this season.

After Tejada's defensive gem rescued right-hander Brad Bergesen, who was making his first big league start since being demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on April 20, the slumbering Orioles' bats exploded.

The six-run fifth, which was paced by Ty Wigginton's solo homer and Matt Wieters' three-run shot, not only gave the Orioles the lead, but also was a season high for runs scored in an inning. In fact, the Orioles scored more runs in the fifth inning Saturday than they have in 18 other games this year.

They followed with four more in the sixth on a three-run homer by Nick Markakis, part of his five-RBI night, and another home run by Wigginton. Wigginton has eight homers in 21 games this season compared with 11 all of last year.

"You ask Ty and he'll tell you if he gets his at-bats, he'll put his numbers up," Trembley said. "He's getting his at-bats."

Luke Scott had the other homer for the Orioles, who combined with the Red Sox for nine home runs, the most in an Orioles game since May 27, 2008, against the New York Yankees.

"It came on a good night because, obviously, they were swinging the bats, too," Wigginton said. "Fortunately, we scored more points than they did."

The Red Sox took a 4-1 lead into the fifth against Bergesen (1-2), who had allowed 14 earned runs in his first three starts, which resulted in the one-start demotion to the minors.

The club's most consistent starter in 2009, Bergesen wasn't at his best Saturday, allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings. But he still picked up his first win since July 30, 2009.

"It was by far the ugliest ‘W' I have ever had," Bergesen said. "But it is such a funny game, so I will take it any way I can."

After getting through five innings for the first time in 2010, he turned the game over to four relievers, including Alfredo Simon, who picked up his second career save with a scoreless ninth.

Bergesen wasn't the only one making a return to the big league mound. Matsuzaka (0-1) made his season debut after missing much of the spring with back and neck injuries.

The Japanese right-hander allowed Markakis' RBI single in the first and then didn't give up another hit until the fateful fifth. He was charged with seven runs (six earned) in 4 2/3 innings. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, whom Matsuzaka replaced in the rotation, was charged with five runs in 2 1/3 innings.

It all added up to the Orioles' best offensive output of the year and, perhaps, a slight change in their 2010 fortunes.

"We're just happy and enjoying the moment," Tejada said. "We've been facing really good pitchers, and everybody was tired of going to the plate and making an out."



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