Diamondbacks 3, Orioles 0
BALTIMORE (AP)—Daniel Cabrera insisted a sudden shower didn’t bother him as he took his perfect game into the seventh inning.
The results suggest otherwise.
Cabrera, who never pitched above the Double-A level before this season, retired his first 18 batters. But rain began falling in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the shower intensified before the right-hander stepped to the mound to begin the seventh.
The 6-foot-7 rookie promptly went to 3-0 on leadoff hitter Scott Hairston, threw a strike, then walked him.
Many in the crowd of 25,106 jeered as Hairston headed to first.
Pitching with a runner on for the first time in the game, Cabrera suddenly became vulnerable.
“He seemed to have trouble when the rain started coming,” Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. “We finally got him in the stretch, and I think he lost a bit of his effectiveness.”
Finley tried to bunt Hairston to second, failed twice, then lined an 0-2 fastball over the right-field scoreboard and just inside the foul pole.
“If you mess up two bunts, I guess you better get a hit,” Finley said. “With two strikes, I’m just trying to make good contact.”
It was the only inning in which the Diamondbacks had a baserunner.
Cabrera (3-2) did not return for the eighth—and neither did the rain.
“I wasn’t even aware that it was raining,” said Cabrera, a native of the Dominican Republic, through a translator. “I just wanted to make good pitches, and I didn’t.”
Pitching in his sixth major league game, Cabrera was trying to become the first Oriole to throw a no-hitter since Jim Palmer in 1969, although four pitchers combined for one in 1991.
The walk to Hairston marked the beginning of the end.
“I went out there and told him to keep his focus, even after he walked that guy,” Baltimore catcher Robert Machado said. “It happens that he made a mistake to Finley. He was trying to go down and away.”
Instead, Cabrera said the pitch “stayed right in the middle.”
There were two close calls before it all unraveled in the seventh.
B.J. Surhoff made a sensational diving catch of Bautista’s sinking liner to right with two outs in the fourth, and in the sixth, Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada went deep in the hole to grab a grounder by Alex Cintron before throwing him out by a step.
But Cabrera’s fine effort went for naught, as the Orioles stranded 10 and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
“It’s just a tough game to swallow when you get a pitching performance like that,” manager Lee Mazzilli said. “We just couldn’t get a two-out hit.”
Fossum (1-4) allowed five hits and two walks in earning his first win in six starts. It was his first victory with the Diamondbacks since coming over from Boston in the November trade that sent Curt Schilling to the Red Sox.
“He was outstanding, changing speeds on all of his pitches,” Brenly said. “He looked like the guy we expected him to be.”
Fossum threw 103 pitches in his longest stint of the season.
“It’s a good outing to build on,” he said. “Overall, I thought I threw pretty well.”
The Diamondbacks took two of three from Baltimore, their first road series win in four tries since May 18-20.
Fossum needed 76 pitches to get through the first four innings, but he kept the Orioles in check despite giving up four hits and two walks.
Cabrera, in contrast, threw only 36 pitches over the first four innings.
Arizona placed INF Carlos Baerga on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf and purchased INF Andy Green’s contract from Triple-A Tucson. … Machado got his first hit of the season. … Zinter’s single washis first hit in the majors since Sept. 2, 2002, with Houston.