- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 29, 2002

BALTIMORE Baseball's modern schedule dictates that teams play their "geographic rival" from the opposing league twice a season, and while the cities of Philadelphia and Baltimore don't share much history, they have embraced the annual I-95 matchup between the Orioles and Phillies.
Best associated with the 1983 World Series (Baltimore's last championship), the two clubs opened their second interleague series of the season last night at Camden Yards to a season-best crowd of 48,937 that included famed Orioles cheerleader Wild Bill Hagy and none other than the Phillie Phanatic.
The atmosphere might have brought back memories of the '83 Series, but the outcome was anything but memorable. Behind four home runs off previously unbeaten rookie right-hander Travis Driskill, the Phillies slugged their way to a 6-2 victory that bore little resemblance to a World Series of the past or the Orioles' recent string of impressive play.
Coming off series victories over the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants, Baltimore broke out to an early 2-0 lead that withered as the night went on, done in by a barrage of Phillies homers.
"Both teams hit the ball hard tonight," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "They just hit theirs harder and higher than we did."
Seeking to become the first Orioles pitcher to go 6-0 in his rookie season, Driskill was not nearly as sharp as he's been over the last month, including a 4-2 victory at Philadelphia 12 days ago.
The 30-year-old served up a three-run homer to Pat Burrell in the fourth, a solo shot to Jimmy Rollins in the fifth and back-to-back jacks to Jeremy Giambi and Scott Rolen in the sixth. The six earned runs were a season high as Driskill failed to earn his first win in three home starts.
Driskill was the fourth pitcher in franchise history to win the first five decisions of his rookie season, joining Ben McDonald, Rocky Coppinger and this year's other surprising success story, Rodrigo Lopez. None made it to 6-0, though few can be upset with a 5-1 start by a former veteran of 10 minor-league seasons.
"I can't say I didn't think about it," said Driskill of the rookie record. "It would have been nice to be 6-0, but 5-1 at this stage in the season, I think anyone's going to be happy with that."
The Orioles appeared to put their starter in solid shape early on, opening up a 2-0 lead on homers by Melvin Mora and Jose Leon. Mora led off the bottom of the first by taking Philadelphia left-hander Randy Wolf deep to left field for his 10th home run.
One inning later, rookie Leon (making his fifth start at first base while Jeff Conine remains on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring) clubbed Wolf's 1-0 pitch to right-center for his first career homer.
That was all the offense the Orioles produced against Wolf (4-6). The lefty cruised through the remainder of his 7⅔-inning outing, allowing only four more hits and never permitting more than one runner to reach base in an inning.
Driskill, meanwhile, fell apart after getting through the Phillies' lineup the first time. Rollins reached on an infield single and Bobby Abreu walked to lead off the fourth, bringing up cleanup hitter Burrell. The Philadelphia slugger, who homered off Driskill two weeks ago at Veterans Stadium, wasted little time going after him again. On the first pitch he saw, Burrell sent a towering shot to left that landed a couple of rows beyond the fence for his 19th homer.
Rollins took matters into his own hands in the fifth, tagging a 1-0 pitch to right field for his seventh homer. Giambi and Rolen then went back-to-back in the sixth, all but assuring the Phillies' victory and Driskill's first loss.
"I think every pitcher would like to go undefeated," he said. "You just have to realize that sometimes the ball's not going to bounce your way. We had a great run where the ball did bounce my way, even if I didn't pitch all that well. Hopefully, we can get on another good run."
Note
Donald Fehr, head of the players' union, was at the ballpark before last night's game for an official meeting with the Phillies and an unofficial stop in the Orioles' clubhouse. Fehr, who is attempting to speak to every major league club over the next month or so, did not confirm that the players will set a strike date at their scheduled meeting in Chicago July 8 (the day before the All-Star Game in Milwaukee), though he acknowledged it's a strong possibility.
"The answer is maybe," Fehr said. "But were not at that point yet."


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