- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 8, 2002

BALTIMORE The Baltimore Orioles are in such a losing rut that they can't even win a game when the other team hands it to them.
The Orioles rallied from a two-run deficit last night by scoring two runs in the eighth, the result of two straight errors by Anaheim Angels infielders. However, they blew the gift in the 10th when one of their most reliable pitchers closer Jorge Julio, who had allowed two earned runs in his last 35 games surrendered a run-scoring single to right fielder Tim Salmon and an RBI double by second baseman Adam Kennedy to give the Angels a 4-2 victory before an announced crowd of 30,714 at Camden Yards.
Manager Mike Hargrove did his best to focus on the comeback, but that may have made the loss all the more difficult to swallow.
"Anytime you lose a game like that, it's frustrating," he said. "But I'm proud of the way the ballclub came back and battled. The Angels are a good ballclub. It's no accident they are contending."
It was the Orioles' 13th loss in their last 14 games, and today Baltimore will look to veteran hurler Pat Hentgen to stop the free fall. Hentgen, a former Cy Young Award winner, will make his first start for the Orioles since May 2001. He had Tommy John surgery to replace ligaments in his right elbow last August and recently has made several successful rehabilitation starts.
He will be activated today to face the Angels young phenom Jarrod Washburn in the series finale against an Anaheim team that has won 12 of its last 14 games.
"It will be exciting to see Pat out there again," Hargrove said. "Hopefully, he'll do a good job."
Those hopes that the manager is holding out is not just for Hentgen, but for his entire team, as the Orioles' hopes of finishing with a respectable record for the 2002 season are fading fast. They are 64-76.
Julio made things difficult for himself when he walked third baseman Troy Glaus with one out in the 10th. Chone Figgins ran for Glaus and stole second. Salmon drove a 2-0 Julio pitch into left center, scoring Figgins to put the Angels ahead 3-2. Former Orioles prospect Alex Ochoa came in to run for Salmon, and he scored when Adam Kennedy shot a double down the right field line, giving Anaheim a 4-2 lead.
Julio's meltdown blew what had been a gift comeback offered to the Orioles.
The Angels took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after Baltimore starter Rodrigo Lopez gave up home runs to shortstop David Eckstein in the first and designated hitter Brad Fullmer in the second.
However, in the eighth, Luis Lopez, pinch-hitting for shortstop Mike Bordick, led off with a line drive that Angels first baseman Scott Spiezio snared for what appeared to be an easy out. But the ball popped out of his glove to Kennedy, who threw to Angels starting pitcher Mickey Callaway covering first base. But Lopez beat the throw and became the first Oriole leadoff hitter to get on base since second baseman Jerry Hairston in the first.
It appeared as if the Angels would erase the error when Hairston hit a groundball to Glaus for what should have started a simple double play. But Glaus bobbled the ball as he tried to get it out of his glove. The throw pulled Kennedy off the bag. He tried to tag the sliding Lopez, but the ball was jarred from his glove. Both runners were safe.
Center fielder Chris Singleton tried to move the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, but catcher Jose Molina pounced on the ball and went to third to get Lopez. That left Singleton at first and Hairston at second.
The Angels continued to self destruct. Manager Mike Scioscia removed Callaway in favor of reliever Brendan Donnelly. Jeff Conine hit a ground ball to third that Glaus got his glove on, but failed to handle. Eckstein picked up the ball and tried to get Conine at first, but he beat the throw and the Orioles had the bases loaded.
The Orioles didn't wait for any more gifts. Tony Batista drove the first pitch from Donnelly into left center field, scoring Hairston and Singleton and tying the game 2-2. Left-hander Scott Schoeneweis came in to pitch for Anaheim, and Hargrove called on Marty Cordova to pinch hit for the left-handed-hitting Jay Gibbons.
But Cordova hit a fly ball to left for the second out. The Angels, with their fourth pitcher of the inning, reliever Ben Weber, managed to close the inning on a good defensive play when Eckstein dove for Melvin Mora's line drive for the third out.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide