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Whole bullpen gets to shine on same night

THE BALTIMORE SUN

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kevin Brown said it was the night of the bullpen after the Orioles beat the Texas Rangers, 3-2, in 13 innings on Monday, and he wasn't exaggerating.

Brown, the starting pitcher, departed after 5 1/3 innings, and after that the Orioles' bullpen completely shut down the Rangers, holding them hitless for the last 7 2/3 innings. Texas, in this four-hour and 40-minute marathon, went without a hit for more than three hours.

"The relievers did a great job," said Orioles manager Phil Regan.

All six of them, every reliever in the Orioles' bullpen:

* Arthur Rhodes pitched 2 2/3 innings, striking out one and walking one. Rhodes' last two appearances have come as a reliever, and he's allowed just one run in 9 2/3 innings. "A pleasant surprise," said Regan, "is Arthur Rhodes. He really seems to be adapting to that role coming out of the bullpen."

* Terry Clark started the ninth inning, with the score tied at 2, and retired five straight hitters, striking out two and lowering his earned-run average to 0.57.

* Jesse Orosco took over for Clark with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, retiring Will Clark on a flyout, and then zipped through the 11th with two strikeouts. Orosco's ERA is down to 2.42.

* Mike Oquist started the 12th inning, pitching for the first time in 10 days. He walked Steve Buechele to open the inning, and after whiffing Jeff Frye, he hit Mickey Tettleton with a pitch.

* Left-hander Mark Lee relieved Oquist with runners on first and second, the game on the line. He made Otis Nixon look awful, striking him out on a fastball high and away, and got out of the inning when Texas second baseman Mark McLemore lined out to shortstop Cal Ripken.

Rafael Palmeiro homered for the Orioles with one out in the 13th inning, giving the Orioles a 3-2 lead, and although closer Doug Jones was ready to go, Regan allowed Lee to start the bottom of the 13th, to pitch to the left-handed-hitting Clark. The Rangers first baseman grounded out.

* Regan then walked to the mound and called for Jones, who ended the game by retiring slugger Juan Gonzalez on a sharp grounder to short and Rusty Greer on a low liner to right fielder Kevin Bass.

Things went almost as smoothly last night, with Orosco retiring the only batter he faced -- Clark again -- on a popup to finish the eighth inning and Jones surviving a hit and a walk to pick up his 17th save. He's converted 14 of his last 15 save opportunities.

"I'll tell you what," Regan said, "to me, our bullpen has just been outstanding since Lee and Clark came up [on June 8]."

WHAT A RELIEF

The Orioles bullpen pitched 7 2/3 hitless innings after starter Kevin Brown departed Monday's game:

Pitcher ... IP ... H ... BB ... SO

Rhodes .... 2 2/3 0 ... 1 .... 1

Clark ..... 1 2/3 0 ... 0 .... 2

Orosco .... 1 1/3 0 ... 0 .... 2

Oquist .... 1/3 . 0 ... 1 .... 1

Lee ....... 1 .... 0 ... 0 .... 1

Jones ..... 2/3 . 0 ... 0 .... 0

Total ..... 7 2/3 0 ... 2 .... 7

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