- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2003

DETROIT (AP) Thanks to a blister, Baltimore Orioles starter Jason Johnson was limited to one pitch for most of last night.
Luckily for Johnson, a fastball was all he needed against baseball's worst offense.
Johnson pitched five scoreless innings and Jerry Hairston had three runs and two RBI to lead Baltimore to an 11-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
"It was really close to being healed before I started the game, but I think the skin was still a little thin on top and it broke open in the second inning," he said. "It didn't hurt my fastball, but it definitely affected my curveball. I kept hanging it, but luckily, I had a really good fastball."
Johnson (4-0) allowed four hits and a walk, striking out two. He didn't win his fourth game last year until Aug.15, but had little trouble with the Tigers, who are hitting .182 as a team.
"They are a really aggressive team, so I didn't have throw as many pitches as I normally need to," Johnson said. "I didn't have to go to curveball counts, because I got them to pop out early."
Detroit committed two errors and several mental mistakes while dropping to 3-21.
"This one bothered me," rookie manager Alan Trammell said. "Sloppy baseball is never going to be OK with me. Wins will be tough enough for this team, but they have to take pride in being prepared and playing smart baseball."
One Tiger hoped the poor performance might be a long-term plus.
"As professionals, you have to ask yourself every night what you could have done better," said Tigers first baseman Carlos Pena, who committed both errors. "A game like this is so bad that it is like taking a knockout punch. You can't pretend nothing bad happened."
Rookie Jeremy Bonderman (1-4) gave up five runs four earned nine hits and two walks in 5⅔ innings. Bonderman threw a career-high 118 pitches, 53 in the first two innings.
"I had a good start in my last outing, but I wasn't able to build on that," the 20-year-old said. "I just got off to a very slow start I threw the ball very well in the last four innings, but it was too late."
Baltimore took an early 4-0 lead by scoring twice in each of the first two innings. Hairston and Gary Matthews led off the game with back-to-back doubles to right. After B.J. Surhoff grounded out, Jeff Conine lined an RBI double down the left field line.
In the second, Larry Bigbie singled and took third on Melvin Mora's base hit. With one out, Hairston's RBI single made it 3-0. After Matthews struck out, Surhoff's single loaded the bases and Bonderman walked Conine on four pitches to force in another run.
"In those first two innings, we were very patient and made Bonderman bring the ball up," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. "He's got a nasty sinker, but when you make him bring the ball up, you can do some things against him."
The Orioles added a run in the sixth when Pena's throwing error allowed Hairston to score from second.
Baltimore put the game away with six runs in the seventh off rookies Matt Roney and Chris Spurling, with Surhoff's three-run double the biggest blow.
Detroit only got one runner into scoring position against Johnson, who did not allow an extra-base hit.
Dmitri Young made it 11-3 in the eighth, becoming the first Tiger to hit a homer over the new fence in left field without clearing the old one. Minnesota's Dustan Mohr has the only other such home run.
, coming in Detroit's home opener.

Notes Baltimore pitcher Sidney Ponson and Tigers outfielder Gene Kingsale both missed the game in order to be knighted in their home country of Aruba. The pair, along with Dodgers pitcher Calvin Maduro, were honored by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Aruba governor Olindo Koolman. … Detroit's 3-21 record leaves them on pace to go 5-35 in their first 40 games. The 1984 Tigers, including Trammell and coaches Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish, went 35-5 for the best start in major-league history. … The Orioles will be trying for their 400th victory against the Tigers on Wednesday. They are currently 399-358.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide