- The Washington Times - Monday, June 21, 2004

DENVER — With the losses piling and the injuries coming almost daily, the Baltimore Orioles seemed to be in a dire spot.

Then, Brian Roberts stepped in.

Roberts hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning, helping the Orioles end a seven-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies yesterday.

Colorado headed into the ninth ahead 2-0 behind seven strong innings from Joe Kennedy, but Shawn Chacon (0-5) walked two with one out and another with two outs before Roberts lifted his third career grand slam over the wall in right.

“We needed anything to boost our spirits at this point,” Roberts said. “We are struggling and needed something to lift us up. This was exciting for me. It felt good to contribute.”

Chacon seemed to have righted himself with three straight saves after blowing three in a row, but took a step back with his effort against the Orioles. He walked four in the ninth and was booed after Roberts’ homer before walking off to mock cheers after blowing his sixth save in 19 chances.

“I had no command. I felt fine, I just threw a lot of balls and got behind in the count,” Chacon said. “I didn’t get the job done. I’m frustrated, but all I can do is go out there and do what I do.”

Baltimore had six hits, but five Orioles pitchers held Colorado to six hits to keep the Orioles from being swept in their first trip to Coors Field. B.J. Ryan (2-2) struck out three in 12/3 innings to pick up the win.

It still wasn’t easy.

Colorado had runners on second and third with one out after Vinny Castilla walked and Matt Holliday doubled, but Jorge Julio struck out Charles Johnson and Preston Wilson to pick up his 10th save in 12 chances.

Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli didn’t even want to think about what would’ve happened if the Orioles had lost.

“Let me alone. Let me enjoy this game. It’s been a long week. It’s Fathers Day, don’t bring it up,” he said.

Todd Helton knocked in one run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and Holliday drove in another with a double in the seventh for Colorado. The Rockies haven’t hit a homer in five straight home games for the first time in team history, but two runs still should have been enough with the way Kennedy pitched.

He ended a four-game losing streak by allowing three runs in five innings Tuesday against Boston and was even better this time.

Kennedy didn’t allow a hit until Miguel Tejada’s one-out double off the wall in right in the fourth. He stranded Tejada there and didn’t allow a runner past second base, giving up four hits in seven innings.

“Kennedy pitched a fantastic game,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

Daniel Cabrera wasn’t bad, either. He allowed just three balls out of the infield in the first five innings, giving up a run in the fourth on Helton’s sacrifice after leadoff hitter Aaron Miles walked.

Cabrera allowed eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings after pitching five shutout innings his last two starts, but Mazzilli didn’t give him a chance to get in trouble this time.

Cabrera was replaced by John Parrish with runners on first and second and two outs in the sixth, leaving after allowing three hits and one run. Parrish got Helton to ground out to first to end the threat.

“I didn’t want him facing Helton,” Mazzilli said. “The guy can take you deep any time. I had to go with the matchups you think will get you out of an inning.”

Baltimore ended its losing streak, but not its injury problems.

Left-hander Eric DuBose was put on the 15-day DL with a sore elbow after right-hander Rick Bauer (elbow) and left fielder B.J. Surhoff (calf) went on the DL the previous two days.

The Orioles also played without third baseman Melvin Mora for the third straight game with a sore foot, and outfielder Jay Gibbons was limited to pinch-hitting duties because of a sore hip flexor.

“It’s a lift,” Mazzilli said of ending the seven-game road trip with a victory. “We still have had a tough trip. We need the off day.”

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