O's come home with smile


TORONTO // The Orioles started their first multi-city road trip with a victory in New York and ended it with another one here. As they packed their bags and headed back home last night, everything that happened in between hardly mattered.

Behind a strong outing from Kris Benson and steady contributions from an offense energized by Corey Patterson, the Orioles downed the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-5, before 18,756 at the Rogers Centre last night, salvaging one victory in the three-game series, and breaking a four-game losing streak.

The Blue Jays scored three runs in the ninth off Orioles closer Chris Ray and brought the winning run to the plate in the form of slugger Troy Glaus. But Ray got Glaus on a fielder's choice, giving the Orioles their first victory since last Friday.

The Orioles (12-11) were outscored 28-7 in the four straight losses entering last night, but jumped on Casey Janssen, who was making his major league debut, early, and then put the game away late with a four-run seventh.

Meanwhile, Benson gave the Orioles exactly what they needed.

He went seven strong innings, recovering from a shaky second, and getting stronger as the game wore on. Benson got out of a bases-loaded and one-out jam in the fourth inning, with his team leading only by a run, and retired the last 11 batters he faced. In improving to 3-2, the right-hander allowed only three hits and two second-inning runs.

The Orioles broke open a tenuous 3-2 lead with four runs in the seventh inning, some welcome breathing room for both Benson and the club'smuch-maligned bullpen.

Shortstop Miguel Tejada's groundout drove in Brian Roberts, who led off the inning with a double. Then after a Jay Gibbons single, catcher Ramon Hernandez hit a double in the rightcenter-field gap, scoring Mora.

Then, Patterson, who had three hits, reached base four times and had two steals, came through with a bloop double that got past Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells, scoring two runs and giving the Orioles a 7-2 lead.

The Orioles knocked Janssen out of the game early, but it was more because of a rising pitch count rather than a run total.

Janssen made it through four innings, needing 95 pitches to do it. He did allow three runs (two earned), but the Orioles missed out on a chance to break open their 3-0 lead in the second inning as Mora and Tejada couldn't drive in a run from third with one out.

Janssen, a 24-year-old righthander who was summoned to make the start from Triple-A Syracuse with A.J. Burnett going on the disabled list, was originally drafted by the Orioles in the 49th round of the 2003 amateur draft.

But instead of signing with the club, he opted to return to UCLA for his senior season. He was then drafted by Toronto in the fourth round of the 2004 firstyear player draft. He made four starts this year for Syracuse, going 1-2with a 4.05 ERA.

Before the game, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said that the club had a solid scouting report and knew that Janssen threw a lot of strikes. Perhaps it was the nerves in making his big league debut, but Janssen struggled to find the strike zone last night.

He loaded the bases with one out in the first, walking Mora, giving up a single to Tejada to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, and hitting Gibbons in his left knee with an errant fastball.

Hernandez then hit a slow chopper to first baseman Shea Hillenbrand, who fired an errant throw home that catcher Gregg Zaun couldn't handle, allowing both Mora and Tejada to score.

The Orioles tacked on another run in the second with Roberts singling home Patterson. The Orioles center fielder had led off the inning with his first walk of the season, and then stole second, extending the Orioles' streak of successful steal attempts to 17 to start the season.It would grow to 18 with Patterson's second steal, and sixth of the season, in the fourth inning. The Orioles are the only team in the majors to not have been caught stealing this season.

Janssen needed 59 pitches to get out of two innings, but he did limit the Orioles to just theone second-inning run, retiring Mora on an infield pop-up and Tejada on a comebacker with Nick Markakis getting stranded at third and Roberts at first.

Benson cruised through the first, but got into trouble in the second, thanks to a leadoff walk to Glaus. Hillenbrand and Zaun hit singles, the second one driving in Glaus. Russ Adams then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, cutting the Orioles' lead to 3-2.

Benson loaded the bases in the fourth, on two walks and a Hillenbrand single. However, he got out of it with no damage, striking out Adams on a changeup and getting John McDonald on a ground ball.

In the ninth, Hillenbrand's leadoff double put Ray in immediate trouble. Three walks, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single would follow, but Ray escaped blowing his first lead of the season by getting Glaus to ground out to Mora.


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