- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 10, 2007

BALTIMORE — In an emotional return to Baltimore, Rodrigo Lopez didn’t get the pleasure of recording a victory against his former team.

He did, however, derive a measure of satisfaction from helping the Colorado Rockies beat the Orioles.

Kazuo Matsui doubled in the tiebreaking run with two outs in the 10th inning, and the Rockies received a strong pitching performance from Lopez in a 3-2 win last night.

Facing the team he played for over the previous five seasons, Lopez allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out two in his sixth start of the season, the third since a six-week stint on the disabled list with an inflamed elbow.

Lopez was 60-58 during his time in Baltimore, but after he went 9-18 last season the Orioles dealt him to Colorado for two prospects. The right-hander won 32 games at Camden Yards while with Baltimore, and he made himself right at home after a rocky start.

The Orioles bestowed a rude greeting upon their one-time teammate in the first inning, taking a 2-0 lead after three of the first four batters hit singles. Brian Roberts singled and Nick Markakis got an infield hit before advancing on a double steal. Miguel Tejada then hit a run-scoring grounder and Aubrey Huff followed with an RBI single.

“I was pretty pumped up in the first inning, but I was trying to concentrate on the game instead of letting my emotions take over,” Lopez said. “Pretty much I was battling.”

Once he settled down, Lopez permitted only one runner past first base.

“It was a good challenge, but it was pretty fun,” he said, flashing a broad grin. “After coming off the DL, I feel I’m back the way I was at the beginning of the year, and I’m getting where I want to be.”

Long after Lopez left, Colorado won it in the 10th. Chris Iannetta singled with one out off Todd Williams (0-1) and advanced on a bunt by Willy Taveras before Matsui lined an opposite-field liner to left.

Jeremy Affeldt (4-1) worked the ninth and Brian Fuentes got three outs for this 18th save.

Jeremy Guthrie gave the Orioles with another solid start, but his teammates again failed to provide him with enough offense to claim a victory. The right-hander allowed two runs and six hits over eight innings, striking out six and walking one.

Guthrie hasn’t permitted more than three runs and has a 1.76 ERA in his eight starts this season. But he’s 2-1 with five no-decisions in those eight games.

“He was outstanding again tonight,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “He keeps pitching great. You have to take the positive out of that. If he keeps pitching like that, we’ll win some games.”

Not if the Orioles continue to struggle at the plate. Although Roberts got three hits, his teammates had more strikeouts (four) than hits (three).

“Our offense hasn’t been what it should be,” Perlozzo said. “We need to score some runs.”

After the Orioles jumped on Lopez in the first inning, Colorado tied it in the second. Garrett Atkins walked and Brad Hawpe doubled before Troy Tulowitzki drove in a run with a grounder and Ryan Spilborghs hit an RBI single.

In the fifth, Spilborghs singled and reached second with two outs before Taveras hit a liner that left fielder Jay Payton caught on the warning track.



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