ANAHEIM, Calif. - From across the country, the Orioles had seen the headlines about the Anaheim Angels. They had heard about the remarkable turnaround that started in late April, and how it was a story of an offense that had finally hit its stride.
So the Orioles came west expecting a Disneyland thrill ride, and they wound up seeing something more like a rusty old swing set.
In the first 23 innings of the series, the Angels managed just one run. Orioles starter Travis Driskill kept them dormant last night until the seventh, and then the bullpen quieted the Angels for good.
Marty Cordova had three hits, and Driskill wound up with another road victory, as the Orioles defeated the Angels, 7-2, at Edison Field.
The Orioles took two of three games in the series, outscoring the Angels, 10-3.
"I think it's amazing," Driskill said. "It's a credit to our pitching staff and our defense, and it shows you that we can pitch with anybody. I think it shows you how competitive we really are."
Coming off his first loss of the season, Driskill (6-1) labored all night but wound up holding the Angels to two runs on eight hits over six-plus innings. All six of his victories have come on the road, and all of them have followed an Orioles loss.
In Driskill's eight starts, the Orioles are 7-1.
"Not to take anything away from Baltimore," said Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy, "but if we're going to contend with Seattle and Oakland, we have to win games like this and series like this."
The Angels' offensive woes actually began Sunday as they went scoreless in the final six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. A team that had started the season 6-14 before reeling off a string of 42 victories in 62 games had suddenly lost its spark.
A team that had clobbered Cleveland, 21-2, and the Chicago White Sox, 19-0, found itself getting shut out, 3-0, on Tuesday against Orioles starter Rodrigo Lopez before pulling out a 1-0 victory on Wednesday against Scott Erickson.
The Angels entered the game tied with the New York Yankees for the best batting average in the majors, at .279. Anaheim has scored 444 runs this season; the Orioles have scored 363.
Lopez and Driskill both posted wins in this series on nights when they looked much less sharper than usual.
"When that happens," said Orioles manager Mike Hargrove, "they have to hit a lot of balls at people, and the Angels did."
The Orioles seemed to find the holes against Angels starter Kevin Appier (6-7). They scored two runs in the second inning, on run-scoring singles by Cordova and Mike Bordick.
Cordova entered the game riding a 2-for-24 slump, but he had hits in his first three at-bats, including a leadoff double in the fourth. Geronimo Gil scored Cordova with a single up the middle, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
The Orioles expanded their lead in the seventh, when Gary Matthews hit a two-out, two-run double off Angels reliever Scott Schoeneweis. Both of those runs were charged to Appier, who has won just one of his past six decisions.
Appier (6-7) allowed five runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out six.
It was 5-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, when the Angels finally showed signs of life. Scott Spiezio and Jorge Fabregas led off the inning with back-to-back singles, prompting Hargrove to go to his bullpen. Yorkis Perez came in to face one batter, and Kennedy hit a run-scoring single to right field.
For the Angels, that was just the second hit in 22 at-bats during the series with runners in scoring position.
Hargrove summoned Willis Roberts, who recorded three ground-ball outs to get out of the inning with the Orioles still leading 5-2.
The Orioles added two insurance runs in the eighth. Buddy Groom retired the side in the eighth, and Jorge Julio retired the side in the ninth. So the final nine Angels batters made outs.
"Maybe we got them when they're going a little cold offensively," Bordick said. "But our pitching was great."
Past five games
Date Opponent Result WP/LP
6-29 Philadelphia W, 11-1 Johnson
6-30 Philadelphia L, 5-8 Bauer
7-2 at Anaheim W, 3-0 Lopez
7-3 at Anaheim L, 0-1 Erickson
7-4 at Anaheim W, 7-2 Driskill