- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 6, 2003

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles gave the smallest crowd in the 12-year history of Camden Yards a game worthy of such a dubious achievement.On a cool, damp evening, the Orioles provided a night full of fielding errors, costly walks and inept offense. The result was a 6-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers — who own the worst record in the majors — before a generously listed crowd of 17,267. The previous low of 18,017 came April 21.While Baltimore was making errors, the terrible Tigers earned their first consecutive wins this season after losing 25 of their first 28 games. Detroit (5-25) did it with strong pitching by Nate Cornejo, timely hitting and a few gifts from the Orioles.”You can control the mental side of this game, and we just didn’t come out ready to play,” said Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove, who held a closed-door meeting after the game. “We didn’t show up ready to play tonight, and you can’t do that against a big league team.”Jason Johnson (4-1) took his first loss as his good fortune this season for the Orioles (16-15) ran out in the third inning. Detroit gained control by scoring four runs — two unearned — taking the lead for good on a two-run double by Dmitri Young as the Tigers batted around. Andres Torres started the spree with a one-out walk. Omar Infante then singled when left fielder Larry Bigbie never saw the ball off the bat and dived past it toward center field.”If that doesn’t happen, we could still be up 1-0 coming out of the inning,” Johnson said. “It’s easy to lose your concentration when one thing goes wrong. It was my fault. I could’ve made some better pitches.” After Infante reached, Bobby Higginson hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners, setting up the left-handed Young’s opposite-field double. Young scored when second baseman Jerry Hairston struggled getting the ball out of his glove, and Carlos Pena got to first safely on Hairston’s overthrow. Since there were two outs, Young never broke stride and easily crossed the plate. Pena advanced to second on the error and made it 4-1 on Eric Munson’s single.”We started off smoothly, and then we had that bad third inning,” Baltimore right fielder Jay Gibbons said. “That set the tone. We never woke up. … There was no life in the clubhouse before or during the game.”Cornego (2-2) rarely got in trouble and allowed only one runner past second base in 7⅓ innings.Johnson, whose start was delayed one day because of a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand, had a solid outing. The right-hander, who won his last four starts, allowed two earned runs in six innings.The Tigers added a third unearned run in the seventh after an error by Bigbie. Infante started off with a walk, and Higginson singled to left. Bigbie had trouble picking up the ball, allowing Infante to advance to third. Infante then scored on a double play.Baltimore’s lone run came in the second, but even that inning was somewhat of a disappointment. Jeff Conine and Gibbons walked with no outs, but Tony Batista hit into a double play. Bigbie followed with an RBI single, but Cornejo avoided a possible big inning by striking out Brook Fordyce.Notes — The Orioles called up right-handed reliever Travis Driskill from Class AAA Ottawa and sent pitcher Eric DuBose back to the affiliate. Driskill had a 2-0 record with a 2.32 ERA in the minors. The 31-year-old pitched most of last season in Baltimore, where he started 19 games and had an 8-8 record with a 4.95 ERA. … Baltimore has scored only one run in its last 18 innings. … The last time Detroit won two in a row was during a three-game winning streak, with one win over the Orioles and two over Seattle from Aug. 18 to 20, 2002.


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