Orioles 5, Devil Rays 1
The reliever apologized to teammates for comments he made suggesting he may have made a poor choice to leave St. Louis after last season, then went out and struck out the only batter he faced to get his first win for his new team in Wednesday night’s 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
“I want the people back home to know I’m sorry for what I said,” Kline said. “Stupidity. I’m ready to get out and win for this team.”
Roberts went 1-for-4, and his run-scoring single off Mark Hendrickson (0-1) snapped a 1-1 tie. The Orioles’ leadoff man is batting .394 with four homers and 10 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.
Tejada followed with a two-run double off reliever Travis Harper. Sosa, who went 2-for-4 after hitting his first homer as an Oriole during a 7-6 victory Tuesday night, finished the seventh with an RBI single that made it 5-1.
Kline (1-1) struck out Aubrey Huff with runners at second and third to end a Tampa Bay threat in the sixth. The left-hander entered the game with a 23.14 ERA after allowing seven runs in 2 1-3 innings over four appearances.
“That’s what he’s paid to do, go out there and do the job. And he did in a tough situation,” Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said.
Kline addressed his teammates about his comments during a meeting before the game.
“I feel guilty for two of the three losses we have,” Kline said. “We had a good talk here today. They told me don’t worry about it, concentrate on the game and bring home some victories.”
Javy Lopez hit a solo homer for Baltimore, which has won four of five games on a six-game road trip that ends here Thursday. Orioles starter Erik Bedard allowed one run and eight hits in five innings.
The Devil Rays began the night with the highest team batting average in the American League, but they have struggled at the plate with runners in scoring position.
After failing to score on three occasions when they got a runner to third with less than two outs during Tuesday night’s one-run loss, Tampa Bay couldn’t get a runner home against Bedard despite loading the bases with no outs in the second inning and getting six of its first eight batters on base overall.
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella was at a loss to explain his team’s lack of production in crucial situations.
“I don’t know what happens,” Piniella said. “But I know when you get people on base, it’s the opposing pitcher who’s in trouble—not the hitter. We’re going up there like we’re the ones in trouble.”
The Orioles helped Bedard out of a potential jam in the first with a double play, and the Orioles starter escaped in the second by getting Carl Crawford to fly to left and Joey Gathright and Julio Lugo to hit into force outs.
The Devil Rays, 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, finally broke through in the fifth—barely.
Lugo and Huff singled to open the inning. Lugo took third on Josh Phelps’ long fly ball and scored on Jorge Cantu’s high infield chopper, sliding in just ahead of third baseman Melvin Mora’s throw to the plate.
The run ended a string of 10 consecutive scoreless innings for Bedard, a stretch that began in the second inning of last Thursday’s start at home against Oakland. In that outing, the left-hander allowed one run and three hits in seven innings but also was not involved in the decision.
Hendrickson kept pace with Bedard by limiting the Orioles to five singles and only allowing two runners past second until Lopez homered on 3-1 pitch with two outs in the sixth. The left-hander allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Devil Rays OF Alex Sanchez, suspended 10 days for violating major league baseball’s new policy on performance-enhancing drugs, is eligible to return on Thursday. He missed eight games during the ban. … 1B Rafael Palmeiro, who’s 2-for-13 (.154) lifetime against Hendrickson, was not in Baltimore’s starting lineup. He entered in the seventh as a defensive replacement for Chris Gomez. … Cantu has hit safely in all eight of Tampa Bay’s games, matching the third-longest season-opening streak in club history.