Orioles bullpen a rare bright spot

Simon, Viola combine to pitch 5 2/3 scoreless innings to keep game in reach

May 30, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

SEATTLE — The Orioles' much-maligned bullpen has rarely been singled out for praise this season, but that was the case Monday after the team's 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

That the Orioles even had a chance to win the game was because the bullpen came in after Jake Arrieta lasted just 21/3 innings and pitched 52/3 scoreless frames.

Making his third appearance since being activated from major league baseball's restricted list, right-hander Alfredo Simon inherited Arrieta's bases-loaded-and-one-out jam in the third and struck out Carlos Peguero and Chone Figgins.

Simon allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out four over 32/3 innings. Left-hander Pedro Viola, recalled from Double-A Bowie on Sunday to take Brad Bergesen's spot on the roster, retired all five batters he faced, striking out two. Jim Johnson got the final out of the eighth with a strikeout of Miguel Olivo.

"What a great job that Simon and Viola did today," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That was impressive. That's why we had a chance to win, because of what Simon and Viola did. I was proud of them. [For] Viola's debut this year, that was pretty impressive."

Viola, a 27-year-old who was 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 17 relief appearances for Bowie when he was promoted, made two appearances for the Orioles last season, allowing two runs over 11/3 innings.

Simon was coming off a rough outing in Friday's 6-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics. He allowed three runs on four hits and two walks over two-plus innings and was credited with the loss.

"I feel more comfortable with my pitches, with my splitter, just trying to get it down," Simon said after Monday's game. "My two-seamer, it's much better right now. I just feel real comfortable right now."

Jones sits against old team

Center fielder Adam Jones worked out before Monday's game and tested his sore right shoulder, but the Orioles opted to keep him out of the starting lineup. Jones did pinch run for Vladimir Guerrero in the Orioles' two-run eighth inning. However, Showalter didn't feel comfortable giving him an at-bat.

Jones, who was removed from Sunday's game before the bottom of the fourth inning, said he's feeling much better and is hopeful he'll play Tuesday night.

"I'm not going to get into trainer's words or doctor's words, but we think it's a day-to-day thing, and we feel good about the future of it," Showalter said. "He has good strength there. There are no signs that it's anything else, but you're always cautious."

Jakubauskas happy to be back

Chris Jakubauskas made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2009, and he wondered earlier this year whether he would have the opportunity to return to Seattle this season.

He found himself at Safeco Field on Monday, talking to his former roommate in the Mariners organization, Shawn Kelley, about four hours before the game's first pitch. Jakubauskas was officially recalled by the Orioles for the third time this season, taking the roster spot of starter Chris Tillman, who was demoted Sunday.

"It's a little bit different. I would have liked it to gone a little different way and just be here the whole time, but that's not how it is," said Jakubauskas, who was 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Norfolk. "You are up and down. That's what you get when you have options. But I'm glad they have faith in me that I can come up and get the job done, because I know I can. But you take it with a grain of salt. You go up and do your job. You get sent back down, you take your medicine. It's one of those things where you try to pitch well and stay up."

Jakubauskas, 32, has pitched in four games for the Orioles this year, allowing nine earned runs in 102/3 innings. He is expected to be used as a long man as the Orioles go with a four-man rotation when Brian Matusz returns Wednesday.

Around the horn

Guerrero went 0-for-4, ending his hitting streak at 14 games. … Catcher Matt Wieters was charged with his first error of the season on an errant throw to second base to try and catch Ichiro Suzuki stealing. … Right fielder Nick Markakis went 1-for-4 with an RBI single, but he remains without an extra-base hit in his past 56 at-bats. … Third baseman Mark Reynolds' third-inning homer was his team-high seventh of the season and the Orioles' first home run in 382/3 innings. Reynolds has reached safely in 16 of his past 17 games. … First baseman Derrek Lee (strained left oblique) hit off the tee and did some short toss at the team's minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla. … Second baseman Brian Roberts (concussion symptoms) is also in Sarasota. … The Orioles have lost four straight games at Safeco Field and seven of their past nine.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun

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