- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 14, 2007

BALTIMORE — Erik Bedard wasn’t particularly sharp, and for a change it didn’t matter. Baltimore’s struggling offense provided the left-hander with an early lead, and Bedard managed to make the rare scoring outburst stand up.

Bedard allowed one run in six trying innings, and the Orioles used a 12-hit attack to beat the Kansas City Royals 8-1 last night at Camden Yards.

Baltimore led 4-0 after three innings, and Nick Markakis sealed the win with his first career grand slam in the eighth against Todd Wellemeyer.

“We had several chances throughout the ball game to blow it open and we couldn’t seem to come up with it, but we persevered and Nick came through with a big hit for us,” manager Sam Perlozzo said.

The game was decided far earlier, when the Orioles took control against Brandon Duckworth by scoring twice in the first inning before adding runs in the second and third.

“It always helps to have a little cushion,” said Bedard, whose only 1-2-3 inning was the sixth. “I just couldn’t get the leadoff hitter out. I had a couple walks at bad times and the bases loaded here and there; it just seemed like I was always in trouble.”

Bedard (2-1) allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked four. Most of his 102 pitches were curveballs.

“My fastball was a little off, but they were swinging at curveballs so I just kept throwing them,” he said. “It was a hard six innings.”

Aubrey Huff had two hits, two RBI and scored a run for the Orioles, whose eight runs were a season high. They scored a total of four runs in their previous three games and came in with a team batting average of .226.

After Bedard left, Perlozzo turned the game over to a bullpen that received a $42 million makeover during the offseason. Chad Bradford retired Mark Grudzielanek on a grounder with two on and two out in the seventh, Danys Baez worked the eighth and Brian Burres finished.

Reggie Sanders went 3-for-4 for the Royals, who have lost three straight and six of seven. Kansas City stranded 10 runners and scored only one run in a second consecutive game.

“We have only played 11 games. We keep telling ourselves don’t panic, there are 151 games left,” designated hitter Mike Sweeney said. “As a team, we aren’t getting hits. We have to keep grinding. It’s not lack of effort or desire; we’re just not getting it done.”

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