- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 14, 2001


ATLANTA The Baltimore Orioles can brag all they want about the young talent on their roster, but it's still no match for one of the game's top veteran pitchers.
Tom Glavine, the majors' winningest left-hander over the last dozen years, held Baltimore to two hits in seven innings while Baltimore's Josh Towers suffered his least effective start of the season in the Atlanta Braves' 7-1 victory last night at Turner Field.
The Orioles' seventh loss in eight games dropped them to a season-low nine games under .500 and continued their yearlong pattern of losing to good teams. Baltimore is 13-32 against teams with winning records and 27-17 against losers.
Just about the only bit of excitement the Orioles, who finished with three hits and three errors, could muster involved a rare pinch-hitting appearance by Cal Ripken and the return of reliever Alan Mills.
Ripken batted for Mills in the top of the eighth, after two innings of "we want Cal" chants from the crowd of 44,461. In the sixth pinch-hitting appearance of his 20-year career and the first since June 8, 1999, Ripken led off the inning by smoking a 3-1 pitch from Mike Remlinger just inside third base for a double, extending his hitting streak to 14 games amid a sea of popping flashbulbs.
"He's not your typical leadoff hitter, but he did a good job," manager Mike Hargrove said. "I don't see how he hits with all those flashes going off."
Mills made his first game appearance since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in September. Entering for Towers with one out in the bottom of the seventh, the 34-year-old right-hander wound up facing four batters, giving up a run-scoring hit and an intentional walk with one strikeout in two-thirds of an inning.
"I wasn't too happy about giving up Josh's run," Mills said, "but overall it was good to get out there and get my feet wet. I'm not disappointed with it."
Otherwise, the game featured another dominating performance by Glavine and some sloppy defensive play by Baltimore. In seven innings, Glavine (8-5) allowed only an RBI double by Brook Fordyce in the third and a one-out double by Tony Batista in the seventh before giving way to Remlinger and Jose Cabrera.
"I saw the same things that impressed me for eight years watching him on TV," said Orioles rookie shortstop Brian Roberts, who went 0-for-4 to end his hitting streak at 15 games. "He knows how to pitch. He uses the outside corner all night long until you prove you can do something with it."
The night served as a harsh wakeup call for right-hander Towers, who cruised through his first eight starts and earned American League Rookie of the Month honors for June.
The Braves jumped on Towers (6-4) for three first-inning runs, with the first four hitters reaching base on three singles and one botched defensive play.
After Quilvio Veras and B.J. Surhoff singled to left field, Andruw Jones hit a bouncer up the middle that Roberts fielded behind the bag. Second baseman Jerry Hairston thought Roberts was going to step on the base himself; Roberts thought Hairston was going to catch his backhand toss. The result was an ugly error charged to the shortstop, whose throw bounced off Hairston's back and allowed Veras to score.
Chipper Jones drove in Surhoff with a base hit to right, putting runners on the corners. Towers got Brian Jordan to strike out swinging as Jones broke for second. Catcher Fordyce threw to second, getting Jones out in a rundown but not before Andruw Jones sprinted home with Atlanta's third run.
"It happens," Towers said of the defensive shortcomings behind him. "Pretty much every time I've thrown, they've all played well behind me. There was bound to be a game where the defense wasn't great."
Towers, who was struck on the left foot by a batted ball and was walking with a slight limp afterward, left with one out in the seventh after giving up a career-high six earned runs on six hits and two walks. The Orioles' defensive problems continued after his departure.
Roberts misplayed a sixth-inning grounder for his second error of the night and his third two-error performance in his last eight games.
"With young players, you've got to take the good with the bad," Hargrove said. "You recognize that Brian Roberts has a lot of talent, but you have to temper that with the realization that he's a young player and is still continuing to develop."
Baltimore's third error came when center fielder Melvin Mora bobbled a grounder up the middle in the seventh that allowed the Braves' final run to score.
And Roberts survived a scary moment in the eighth when he took a bad hop off his forehead, a shot that momentarily stunned the rookie, whose hitting streak ended at 15 games. After a brief consultation with trainer Richie Bancells, Roberts remained in the game.

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