- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 7, 2004

BALTIMORE — A change in the calendar brought about a decided difference in Erik Bedard’s effectiveness on the mound.

Bedard took a three-hitter into the seventh inning, and the Baltimore Orioles hit three home runs last night in their fourth straight victory, a 9-1 rout of the Texas Rangers.

Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez and Larry Bigbie connected for the Orioles, who scored in each of the first five innings to build a 9-0 lead. Tejada drove in two runs to increase his league-leading RBI total to 99.

Bedard (5-6) went 1-4 with a 6.43 ERA in six starts last month, but his first stint in August was a gem. The rookie left-hander allowed one run on five hits in 61/3 innings, striking out seven and walking five.

“That’s as good as I’ve seen him,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “Every start that he gets, he’s learning something from his last outing. When you shut a team down with that offense, you’re doing a pretty good job.”

The difference, according to Bedard, was his control.

“I was just locating the ball, down and away, throwing more strikes,” he said. “You hit your spots, you’re probably going to do well.”

The big lead didn’t hurt, either.

“I was just comfortable, not worrying about the score because we scored a lot of runs,” Bedard said.

The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Rangers, who fell a half-game behind first-place Oakland in the AL West. Texas stranded 10 runners and tied a season high with three errors.

Rangers pitchers walked nine batters, including five by rookie starter Nick Regilio (0-3).

“You just can’t walk that many people and hit a guy. It’s like having 18 hits,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “You’re not going to win those kinds of games. Plus, we kicked the ball around a little bit. Hopefully it all fell in one night.”

Bedard was replaced with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Todd Williams gave up an RBI single to Michael Young before getting Alfonso Soriano to hit into a double play.

Mazzilli suspected Bedard began to overthrow in the seventh as he began to draw closer to his first complete game in the majors. But Bedard said, “I wasn’t thinking about a complete game. I was just trying to throw strikes and get people out.”

Regilio, making his third major league start, got only four outs — tying the shortest stint by a Rangers starter this season. He gave up four runs, two earned, and just two hits. But in addition to his five walks, he hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.

“It’s very disappointing. I was garbage out there tonight,” the right-hander said. “I can understand if I’m out there throwing strikes and I get knocked around the yard. But walking guys and giving free passes is frustrating and not acceptable.”

The Orioles batted around in the first inning and scored three runs on just one hit, a two-run single by B.J. Surhoff. Regilio walked three and hit a batter, and Young made an error on an RBI grounder to short by Tejada that helped extend the inning.

Regilio couldn’t find his control in the second inning, either. Brian Roberts drew a leadoff walk and scored on a double by David Newhan before Melvin Mora drew a walk. After Tejada struck out on a wild pitch, Regilio was lifted.

Ryan Snare, making his major league debut, walked Rafael Palmeiro before Lopez hit into a double play. But Bigbie’s 11th homer, with a man on in the third, put Baltimore up 6-0.

Tejada hit No. 22 and Lopez added his 17th in the fourth for an 8-0 lead. It was Lopez’s fifth homer in his last 11 games.

Mora doubled in a run to chase Snare in the fifth.

Notes — Baltimore has won six straight against Texas, dating back to last season. … Regilio threw 55 pitches, only 28 for strikes. … The victory moved the Orioles to within seven games of .500 (50-57) for only the second time since June16. … Texas third baseman Hank Blalock went 0-for-3 with a walk and is 1-for-13 over his last four games.

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