- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles had no chance. They came in with a nine-game losing streak facing a pitcher they had never beaten. Meanwhile, the Oakland Athletics steamrolled into Camden Yards with a 10-game winning streak and a perfect record against Baltimore this season.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the inevitable.

The Orioles batted around and took advantage of three Oakland errors in the first inning while cruising to a 9-0 victory before an intimate gathering announced as 18,752 on a rainy night. Baltimore finally solved A’s ace Tim Hudson to snap the two streaks.

Rodrigo Lopez (7-9) pitched the Orioles’ first complete game shutout since Scott Erickson on April 28,2002. Baltimore notched its first win over Oakland in eight attempts this season as Lopez scattered seven hits in his second complete game in his last three starts.

“I was just trying to throw strikes and not be perfect,” said Lopez, who had command of his fastball on both sides of the plate. “Everything worked out, except the weather.”

Hudson, who came in with a career record of 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA against Baltimore, was chased after four innings — the first time he has gone less than six innings in 18 starts. Hudson (14-5) saw a personal seven-game winning streak end by allowing five earned runs. However, the A’s maintained their two-game lead atop the American League West when second-place Seattle lost to Tampa Bay.

“You don’t see Tim Hudson on the mound without his good stuff very often,” said Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove, whose team pounded 13 hits. “That was the case tonight. When he did make a good pitch, we hit it.”

The Orioles won for just the fifth time in 22 games, interrupting what was looking like another disastrous finish like last season’s 4-32. Baltimore had 12 runs over its nine-game losing streak.

“We know what happened last year,” said outfielder Larry Bigbie, who started the first-inning spree with aggressive baserunning and later added a three-run homer. “We don’t want that to happen again.”

Immediately after the national anthem, the blackened skies opened to start a 27-minute rain delay. But when the game started, the Orioles wasted no time.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Luis Matos and Larry Bigbie singled, Bigbie taking second when Jose Guillen bobbled the ball in right. Guillen’s throw to second bounced off Bigbie’s leg and into left field, allowing Matos to score and Bigbie to advance to third. The two errors by the recently acquired Guillen ended Baltimore’s 29-inning scoring drought, dating back to the second inning Saturday.

Jay Gibbons drove in Bigbie with an opposite-field double to left. Gibbons then tagged up and reached third on Juan Batista’s flyout and scored on B.J. Surhoff’s single to make it 3-0.

Baltimore added two more in the third. Batista and Surhoff singled and moved up on a wild pitch. With one out, Cruz’s groundout scored one run, and another came in on the play when first baseman Scott Hatteberg’s throw to third bounced off Surhoff’s shoulder and allowed him to score.

Bigbie added his three-run homer off Steve Sparks in the sixth. The outfielder’s seventh home run was a towering shot to center that traveled 392 feet and gave the Orioles an 8-0 lead. Surhoff scored the final run when Fordyce grounded into a double play.

Notes — Damian Moss will be the Orioles’ starting pitcher today because of stiffness in Eric DuBose’s back. Jason Johnson will pitch tomorrow’s series opener against Seattle and DuBose will go on Saturday. …

Billy Bob Thornton threw out the first pitch. He was wearing a black cut-off T-shirt that displayed his tattoos, jeans and an Orioles cap. The film star and former husband of Angelina Jolie threw a strike to first base coach Rick Dempsey.

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