MINNEAPOLIS -- Timing is everything, and this is not a good time to be striking out four times in a game and going hitless. Everything early in the season is magnified.
Just ask Orioles left fielder Brady Anderson, who was 0-for-9 after two games, with five strikeouts.
"If this happened two games in the middle of the season, it would be different," said Anderson, who broke out of his slump last night with a single and a double in the Orioles' 12-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins. "It's just how it goes sometimes. You've got to realize that it's a long season. You just have to get through the tough times and grind it out."
Anderson went 0-for-4 on Opening Day, but at least two of the outs could be attributed to bad luck.
On his third at-bat, Anderson was asked to hit and run, with Damon Buford breaking from first. Anderson hit a liner -- but right at Royals shortstop Greg Gagne, who retired Buford to complete the double play. Later, first baseman Wally Joyner made a nice play to take a hit away from Anderson.
But Thursday night, he went 0-for-5, striking out four times and flying out to center.
"It's just a matter of chasing some pitches out of the strike zone," said Anderson, who had two three-hit games and a one-hit game in the last three exhibitions.
Hitting coach Lee May said, "I don't worry about Brady. He's going to hit. It's just a matter of being a little too anxious. Everybody wants to get out of the gate in a hurry, and he's no different. He'll be fine."
Anderson's slow start has contributed to a greater problem -- a lack of production at the top of the lineup. He and second baseman Bret Barberie were 1-for-16 in the first two games, and if two pinch-hit appearances by Kevin Bass and Matt Nokes were included, the Orioles had gotten one base runner in 18 at-bats from the first two spots in their order.
Manager Phil Regan said, "You want those top two guys to get on so they can run, get some movement [on the bases] and score some runs."