- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2001


ARLINGTON, Texas Unlike the previous night, the Baltimore Orioles didn't wait until the lateRinnings to flub the game away yesterday in Texas. They took care of that in the first inning.
Shortstop Brian Roberts' two errors on one play helped keep a five-run opening inning alive for the Rangers, and despite a trio of home runs from their slumping offense, the Orioles couldn't quite catch up in a 6-5 loss to Texas in the first game of a twi-night doubleheader at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Once again plagued by a porous defense that committed three errors giving the team 30 in its last 20 games Baltimore fell to 4-16 in July heading into the late second game against the Rangers.
"It's not a matter of concentration, it's not a matter of desire, it's not a matter of effort," said manager Mike Hargrove of the errors that have seemingly cost his team every night for the last three weeks. "It's just a matter of wanting it too bad as much as anything. And thinking too much instead of just reacting. But players go through that, veteran players, too."
In the midst of a 26-game, 24-day stretch caused by last week's train derailment near Camden Yards, the Orioles were forced to call upon a pair of emergency starting pitchers for the doubleheader: left-hander John Parrish and right-hander Calvin Maduro. Both made a handful of starts for the Orioles last season, but neither had filled that role this year.
The shaky defense did nothing to make Parrish's job easier in the opener. He hit leadoff batter Randy Velarde in the bottom of the first, then served up a two-run homer to Michael Young, a walk to Alex Rodriguez and a single to Rafael Palmeiro.
But the 23-year-old from Lancaster, Pa., appeared to be on his way to getting out of the inning when Ivan Rodriguez hit a routine double-play grounder to shortstop. Roberts, however, fumbled the ball and made things worse by firing his throw past second baseman Jerry Hairston and into right field. Alex Rodriguez came around to score, while Roberts was charged with two errors on one play, giving the rookie 11 in his last 18 games.
Following the errors, Ruben Sierra popped out for what should have been the third out. Instead Gabe Kapler made the Orioles pay by belting a ground-rule double to left-center to bring two more runs home and give Texas a five-run inning.
"You've got to take them as you get them," Parrish said. "Errors are going to come. I had to back that up and make sure I got six strong innings. I knew I had to eat up innings and at least get us to the seventh."
Needing to keep his bullpen as fresh as possible, given the brutal stretch of games the Orioles find themselves in, Hargrove wasn't going to pull his starter from the game so early. Fortunately, Parrish rebounded from the shaky first to toss an effective game.
He departed after the sixth, having given up one more unearned run first baseman Jeff Conine dropped Tony Batista's throw from third on a routine grounder in the sixth but having kept his team in the game.
"I thought John, after giving up the home run to Young and the errors that cost him three runs, I thought he settled down and threw outstanding," Hargrove said.
That still wasn't enough to keep the left-hander in an Orioles uniform. Needing another arm in its bullpen, the team optioned Parrish to Class AAA Rochester between games and called up reliever Ryan Kohlmeier.
Baltimore's hitters had mild success against the Rangers' first-time starter 23-year-old right-hander Justin Duchscherer, who made the jump from Class AA for his major league debut.
Duchscherer (pronounced "DUKE-sure") scattered six hits over 6? innings, surrendering a pair of two-run homers. Chris Richard sent an 0-2 pitch in the top of the first 410 feet to center field for his 11th homer. Catcher Brook Fordyce snapped an 0-for-15 streak with a two-run shot to center in the seventh.
Roberts atoned for his earlier fielding miscues by tagging the first home run of his career off reliever Juan Moreno in the eighth to cut the Rangers' lead to one run, but closer Jeff Zimmerman got out of the ninth despite giving up a pinch-hit single to Cal Ripken.

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