Bedard wins ninth straight decision, leading Orioles over Rangers 6-2
BALTIMORE (AP)—There was no fist-pump, no leap for joy. When Erik Bedard fired a third strike past Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the seventh inning and tie the Baltimore Orioles’ single-season record for strikeouts, the only emotion he felt was relief.
“Just to get the last out of that inning was the key, pretty much,” the left-hander said.
Bedard struck out 11 in seven innings to win his ninth straight decision, and the Baltimore Orioles got home runs from Miguel Tejada and Aubrey Huff in a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Bedard (13-4) increased his AL-leading strikeout total to 218, matching Mike Mussina’s club record in 1997. The only runs he allowed came in the seventh, immediately closing out his performance by striking out Saltalamacchia.
“It feels good, just to be in the same category as Mike Mussina,” the soft-spoken Bedard said.
Bedard didn’t know he was in such lofty company until catcher Ramon Hernandez handed him the ball.
“It looked like he was trying to hurry up and get it over with,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “Knowing him as I know him, it’s probably not a big deal to him. It should be, but it’s probably not.”
Bedard gave up five hits, walked none and struck out at least one batter every inning. He has 26 strikeouts in two games against Texas this season.
After striking out 19 times against Minnesota on Sunday, including 17 against Johan Santana, the Rangers followed Monday’s rainout in Baltimore by flailing at Bedard’s offerings throughout a soggy night.
“I’ve seen enough of Santana and Bedard. They’re two of the best in the game,” Texas’ Marlon Byrd said.
Playing at Camden Yards for the first time since his horrid 2005 season with the Orioles, Rangers DH Sammy Sosa went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Gerald Laird and Saltalamacchia each struck out twice.
“It’s the type of guys I’m sending up there right now,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “They’re big swingers and they swing and miss a lot. We’re going to have to deal with it.”
Bedard is 9-0 in 12 starts since June 15. His unbeaten run is the longest for an Oriole since Arthur Rhodes won nine in a row in 1996.
“It’s a combination of luck and throwing good here and there and getting through the game,” Bedard said.
The Orioles got all the runs they needed in a three-run first inning against Vicente Padilla (3-9). After Brian Roberts led off with a double and scored on an infield hit by Nick Markakis, Tejada started a three-hit night with his 12th home run.
Texas has been outscored 93-47 in the first inning this season. In the 77 games in which the opposition has scored first, the Rangers have won only 22.
In the sixth, Huff followed an RBI double by Kevin Millar with a two-run homer to make it 6-0. Millar has reached via a hit, walk or hit by pitch in 47 straight games, two shy of the club record set by Ken Singleton in 1977.
Padilla yielded six runs, seven hits and four walks in five innings. It was his second start after a 51-day stint on the disabled list.
Texas ended a 19-inning scoreless drought in the seventh when Byrd got an infield hit and came home on a double by Jason Botts. Nelson Cruz followed with an RBI double before Bedard struck out Saltalamacchia.
Bedard retired his first six batters before Cruz got an infield hit. Bedard then struck out Saltalamacchia and Adam Melhuse to pass Mussina’s 2000 total and move into second place on the Orioles’ single-season list.
“He’s a tough character,” Washington said. “The guy definitely knows how to pitch. There must be something special about him because he strikes out people.”
Tejada hit his 12th homer last year on May 15. … Rangers SS Michael Young left in the fifth inning with back stiffness. … Markakis made a sensational, diving catch near the right-field line to rob Ian Kinsler in the sixth. … Padilla has allowed 14 homers, tied with Kevin Millwood for most on the team.