April 07 , 2007


Plan finally works for O’s


Associated Press/Julie Jacobson
New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez flips his bat after striking out with two on during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles in Major League Baseball action Friday at Yankee Stadium.

NEW YORK (AP) — This was exactly how the Baltimore Orioles planned it: build a lead, then hand it to the big-money bullpen.
Four games into the season, they finally got a chance to do that.
The Orioles roughed up Mike Mussina in his 2007 debut and their new relievers protected a late lead, helping Baltimore beat the New York Yankees 6-4 Friday night for its first victory of the year.
“If the guys that we added come in and do the job like that all season, we’re going to win some games,” manager Sam Perlozzo said. “We used everything we had to win the game tonight.”
Adam Loewen again held New York’s powerful lineup in check, Melvin Mora played an outstanding all-around game and Baltimore avoided opening 0-4 for the first time since the 1988 team lost its first 21 games — a major league record to start a season.
“It was really no time to panic. But I just felt like we needed to win a ballgame,” Perlozzo said.
Robinson Cano drove in two runs for New York, but Alex Rodriguez failed to come through in another big situation and the Yankees dropped their second straight since an opening-day victory over Tampa Bay. They went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight at second or third.
“They pitched well when we had guys on base,” Derek Jeter said.
Jeter fouled a ball off his right foot in the first inning and came out in the ninth with a bruised toe. X-rays were negative and he said he would play today.
“It’s no big deal. It’s sore, but I’ve got nine other ones,” Jeter said.
Mora got three hits and scored twice. He also had a delayed steal and made a diving catch at third base. Nick Markakis doubled twice and drove in two runs, and Jay Gibbons added a two-run single for Baltimore.
Trailing 6-3, the Yankees put their first two batters on against Chad Bradford in the seventh, but Rodriguez waved at strike three and was booed loudly. The night before, he popped out with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning of a 7-6 loss to the Devil Rays.
Jamie Walker came on and fanned Jason Giambi before walking Hideki Matsui and giving up an RBI single to Jorge Posada. But Walker retired Cano to end the inning, and Danys Baez pitched a perfect eighth to set up Chris Ray for his first save.
“That’s what we paid for,” Gibbons said.
Looking to provide support for their young starting pitchers, the Orioles spent $41.5 million in the offseason on three relievers: Baez, Walker and Bradford.
Rangers 2, Red Sox 0: Sammy Sosa has won plenty of games during his career with his powerful bat. The Texas Rangers slugger helped win this one with barely a swing.
“Sometimes you don’t have to swing hard to get a hit,” Sosa said.
Sosa blooped an RBI single in the first inning when he was trying to check his swing, pulling his bat back when he made contact, and the Rangers won their home opener 2-0 over the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
“It was perfect,” Sosa said smiling, admitting he initially didn’t realize he had even hit the ball.
Royals 3, Tigers 1: Tony Pena Jr.’s third triple in four games keyed a two-run seventh for the Royals.
Justin Verlander, who came in with a 3-0 career record and a 0.86 ERA against Kansas City, went six innings and gave up only two hits and one unearned run. He was replaced starting the seventh by Jose Mesa (0-1), and the 17-year veteran gave up a leadoff double to Jason LaRue, Pena’s RBI triple and an RBI single to David DeJesus.
Devil Rays 6, Blue Jays 5: Akinori Iwamura hit his first major league homer and sprinted home from third base on B.J. Upton’s infield single with two outs in the ninth to help Tampa Bay win its home opener.
Delmon Young erased a 5-3 deficit with a two-run homer off B.J. Ryan (0-1) in the ninth, then Iwamura laid down a bunt single to finish 4-for-4 and set the stage for an exciting finish.
Jae Kuk Ryu (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the victory before a crowd of 38,437, the fifth home sellout in Tampa Bay’s 10-season history.
Minnesota’s game at Chicago was postponed because of cold weather, and Seattle’s game at Cleveland was postponed because of snow with the Indians leading 4-0 with two outs in the top of the fifth inning — one strike from being an official game.