- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. Gary Matthews Jr. isn't sitting around this season, and it has sure helped his batting average. Since being acquired from the New York Mets in April, Matthews has produced key hits for the Baltimore Orioles.

Matthews hit a two-run double and Travis Driskill allowed two runs in six-plus innings as the Orioles beat the Anaheim Angels 7-2 Thursday night.

Matthews has hit safely in eight of his last 12 games and is batting .279. He went 5-for-5 on June 29 against Philadelphia and had a game-winning, two-run single at San Francisco on June 23.

"It seems like this year the biggest difference is being able to make the adjustments from at-bat to at-bat during the game, rather than waiting a week or so to get another chance," he said.

Marty Cordova also excelled, going 3-for-3 as Baltimore won two of three in the series. The Orioles also took two of three from the New York Yankees just before this six-game road trip.

"To come in here and limit the Angels to three runs in three games, we pitched awfully well and played awfully good defense," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "The Angels hit balls right at people, so we were very appreciative of that."

Driskill (6-1) scattered eight hits, struck out three and walked none as Baltimore improved to 7-1 in his eight starts.

"We can pitch with anybody and pitch against the best teams in the league," he said. "We're a good team, and I think people are starting to take notice of it."

In the fifth inning, Hargrove and pitching coach Mark Wiley told Driskill to trust his fastball.

"He was throwing a lot of off-speed stuff and really getting himself into bad counts and bad situations," Hargrove said.

"He was right," Driskill said. "I was nibbling, trying to hit the corners and trying to make the perfect pitch, just because of the quality of their hitters."

Cordova drove in the first of two Orioles runs in the second inning. He also doubled in the fourth and sixth innings and walked in the eighth.

"When Marty keeps it simple, he can be a very, very good hitter," Hargrove said.

Anaheim fell five games behind American League West-leading Seattle, with three games against Tampa Bay remaining before the All-Star break. Oakland is in third place, another game back.

"We've got to win two of three at home when we have chances," Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy said. "These games are going to happen, but it can't happen at a time like this."

Kevin Appier (6-7) gave up five runs and eight hits in 6⅓ innings. The right-hander has won just once in his last eight decisions.

"Any time you're not scoring runs, things are magnified," Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. "As we're not scoring runs, there's more pressure on Ape."

Baltimore extended its lead to 7-2 with two unearned runs in the eighth. Chris Singleton scored from third when a throw by third baseman Scott Spiezio pulled first baseman Benji Gil off the bag. Mike Bordick, who walked and took second on the back end of a double steal with Singleton, scored on an infield hit by Brian Roberts.

Spiezio switched from first to third in the seventh after Troy Glaus left the game with a mildly sprained ankle. He was injured Wednesday night when he ran into an advertising board while chasing a foul ball.

"I didn't feel it was good to take a chance on him now," Scioscia said. "I anticipate he'll be OK to play Friday."

Anaheim scored both runs in the seventh.

Notes Baltimore rookies lead the majors with a combined 20 wins. Driskill has won all five of his road starts. Anaheim's offense produced nine hits after getting eight in the previous two games.

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