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Orioles almost waste Garcia's effort

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Freddy Garcia had everything going his way.

Making his first major league start of the season, the Baltimore Orioles pitcher had thrown six shutout innings, hadn't allowed a hit and was on the right end of a 4-0 score.

But it took an RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning by Steve Pearce to carry the Orioles to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday afternoon at Angel Stadium.

"That was a good debut for us," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm real proud of Freddy. He was a difference-maker today. But that's Freddy.

"That's what he's been doing for a long long time. He just kept getting us off the field. I mean, day game after a night game and the number of games we're played on the road, there's less than crisp legs."

The victory came as a sigh of relief for the Orioles, who nearly wasted Garcia's effort.

The Orioles took a four-run lead on the strength of home runs by Manny Machado, J.J. Hardy and Nolan Reimold, only to lose it when the Angels scored two runs in both the seventh and eighth.

"He was able to locate and change speeds," Angels designated hitter Hank Conger said of Garcia. "I know we were getting no hit through the sixth inning, but there was no sense of defeat. We knew that we were putting together some good at-bats and it was just a matter of time."

Erick Aybar broke up the no-hitter with a soft leadoff single to center in the seventh. Mark Trumbo ended the shutout with a two-out, two-run homer later in the inning.

"I've been waiting for this start and this opportunity and I had to make it happen," Garcia said. "I had to throw strikes against this team because they're pretty good.

"I was throwing my sinker early and working fast. That was the key. Then I was throwing my other stuff and changing speeds like I always do. I tried to make a good pitch (on Aybar) and he hit a good pitch."

Orioles reliever Darren O'Day ended the seventh without further damage but got into trouble an inning later. Conger led off the eighth with a bunt single -- that included his taking a header between home and first -- and pinch-hitter Scott Cousins walked. The runners advanced on a sacrifice by J.B. Shuck, and Conger scored on a groundout by Aybar.

Cousins tied the score at 4 on Mike Trout's two-out hit that landed in shallow right field, just out of the reach of Pearce, the first baseman.

"The first part of the game, our pitching side, Tommy struggled a lot," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He didn't have his best stuff or command, but he got through five innings.

"On the offensive side, we couldn't get much going. But we hung around and got close. I thought our guys executed some things well later in the innings to tie it. We just couldn't get that one run to put us ahead."

The Orioles did.

Reimold was at first base with one out and moved into scoring position when Hardy grounded out to shortstop. Pearce delivered with his third hit of the game.

Jim Johnson retired the Angels in order in the bottom of the 10th to secure his 11th save of the season.

NOTES: The Orioles designated right-handed pitcher Zach Clark for assignment, making room on the 25-man roster for Garcia. ... Pearce began Saturday's game at first base in place of Chris Davis, who hurt his knee in Friday night's loss to the Angels. He had an MRI on the knee Saturday morning, but the results weren't immediately available. ... Josh Hamilton, the Angels' $125 million outfielder, was not in the starting lineup because of what Scioscia described as a "mental day." Hamilton was hitless in four at-bats on Friday and took some swings in the batting cage before Saturday's game. Hamilton's batting average is .208. "There is no doubt that Josh is trying to find a rhythm in the batter's box," Scioscia said. "I think he had a good session and hopefully the day off will clear some cobwebs out." ... Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, who has a broken left (non-throwing) elbow, began a throwing program this week, but he's still weeks away from coming off the disabled list, Scioscia said. Weaver will have to undergo another version of spring training in order to rebuild his endurance.
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