Friday, April 21, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Big rallies and series wins are commonplace these days for the Baltimore Orioles.

Erik Bedard remained unbeaten, Miguel Tejada homered and drove in three runs and the Orioles rallied for a 9-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians yesterday at Camden Yards.

Javy Lopez, Jeff Conine and Tejada each had two RBI during a six-run sixth that erased a 4-3 deficit and gave Baltimore its sixth win in eight games.

“It was a big inning for the team, it was a big relief for me that I was able to contribute to the team,” Lopez said.

Minor injuries and inconsistency at the plate have hampered Lopez’s transition from catcher to designated hitter. But a 5-for-13 series against the Indians may represent a turning point.

“It seems like everything’s starting to come into place right now — my thumb, my elbow, getting used to being DH,” Lopez said.

Eduardo Perez and Victor Martinez homered for Cleveland. Martinez was 2-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest in the major leagues this season.

“We’ve been doing the little things well. We always make sure we play the game hard,” Martinez said. “Unfortunately, these last two games, some of those things didn’t go real good for us.”

Bedard (4-0) pitched six innings and joined Boston’s Curt Schilling and Atlanta’s Oscar Villareal as the majors’ only four-game winners. Bedard allowed four runs — three earned — six hits and two walks, striking out seven.

“I didn’t have my command I had the first couple of games,” Bedard said. “I had to battle.”

Bedard bailed out a taxed bullpen, and the resurgent Orioles offense claimed a third consecutive series win. After losing 15-1 in the opener against Cleveland, the Orioles scored 27 runs over the next two games.

“What I sense is that the guys continue to play,” Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. “They’re not down; they feel they can come back. And it’s not like they feel it’s got to be one guy.”

Martinez’s solo homer put Cleveland up 4-3 in the sixth, but rookie Fausto Carmona (1-1) couldn’t hold the lead. The Orioles sent 10 men to the plate, the third time in two games they’ve batted around against the Indians.

“We didn’t do a particularly good job of executing from a pitching standpoint, and that obviously played into it,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

Jay Gibbons led off with a double and scored on Lopez’s one-out homer, his first of the year, for a 5-4 lead. Kevin Millar’s walk, Corey Patterson’s single and Brian Roberts’ intentional walk loaded the bases.

Jason Davis relieved and gave up Jeff Conine’s two-run, bloop single down the right-field line. Melvin Mora flied out and, after a double steal, Tejada lined a two-run single that made it 9-4.

Carmona allowed eight runs, eight hits and three walks in 51/3 innings.

Cleveland went ahead in the first when Patterson bobbled Travis Hafner’s single to center, allowing Jason Michaels to score. Patterson had an RBI single in the second and Tejada homered in the third for a 2-1 lead, but Perez hit a two-run homer in the fourth. Mora tied it 3-3 with a two-out RBI double in the fifth after Roberts tripled.

Notes — Cleveland placed right-hander Matt Miller on the 15-day DL with a strained right elbow and recalled lefty Rafael Perez from Class AA Akron. Perez made his major league debut, pitching a perfect eighth. … After failing to steal a base in the Orioles’ first 14 games, Roberts had five in the three-game series. … Bedard is the first Orioles starter to win his first four starts since Rodrigo Lopez in 2002.

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