Orioles 2, Angels 1
BALTIMORE (AP)—Rodrigo Lopez returned from the All-Star break by reverting to the form he displayed during his sensational rookie year.
Lopez (3-5) gave up one run, struck out five and walked three. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in July after closing June with a 7.63 ERA.
“I was trying to turn everything around,” said Lopez, who finished second to Eric Hinske in the AL rookie of the year balloting last year. “I think I’m on my way.”
Lopez was 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA when he went on the disabled list May 3 with a strained muscle near his rib cage. He returned from the six-week stint with more velocity on his pitches and a far better mental outlook.
“The biggest difference,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said, “is the fact that he was able to regroup.”
Lopez outpitched Ramon Ortiz (11-7), who allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.
“You don’t win every day. I just keep the team in the game,” Ortiz said. “Sometimes you pitch good and you don’t win. That’s baseball.”
Jorge Julio, the fourth Baltimore pitcher, worked the ninth for his 19th save in 24 tries.
Luis Matos had two hits and an RBI for the Orioles, who improved to 5-1 against the defending world champions. Anaheim was 7-2 against Baltimore last year.
“It’s nice to win, period, but it’s really nice to win one coming off the All-Star break,” Orioles catcher Brook Fordyce said.
The Orioles went up 1-0 in the third when Deivi Cruz doubled and scored on a two-out single by Matos.
Conine made it 2-1 in the bottom half, hitting his 13th home run on a 3-1 pitch. The drive snapped an 0-for-12 slump.
“I had the fastball down and away, but it went in and high,” Ortiz said.
The Angels threatened against Lopez in the seventh but failed to score. Anderson hit a leadoff double and reached third with one out, but Lopez retired Bengie Molina on a short fly ball and ended his stint by getting David Eckstein to hit a routine grounder to short.
Anderson might have been able to score on Molina’s fly to center, but thought the ball would drop and left the base early.
“Garret thought he left a little early from third,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He thought he’d get caught in no-man’s land.”
It was one of precious few opportunities Anaheim had against Lopez.
“Lopez pitched a terrific game,” Scioscia said. “He changed speeds well.We had chances. We just didn’t swing the bats well tonight.”
The Orioles went the entire game without a strikeout for the first time this season. … Eckstein returned after missing the previous six games with injuries. He went 0-for-3. … Baltimore 3B Tony Batista went hitless in a fourth straight game for the first time this year. … Spiezio has a season-high eight-game hitting streak. Twenty-seven of his last 52 hits havebeen for extra bases. … Baltimore is 12-7 against the AL West.