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Orioles salve wounds with 2nd win in row

The Baltimore Sun

SAN DIEGO -- A series win shouldn't be this complicated, especially when it comes on the road against the team with the best record in the National League.

But when does anything go according to plan for the Orioles?

They lost a managerial candidate yesterday when Joe Girardi turned down their offer. They lost their starting shortstop after one at-bat. They lost their starting pitcher after six innings and perhaps for much longer.

A 6-3 victory over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park might have seemed misplaced on such a day, but the Orioles needed to know that the world wasn't ganging up on them, that at least one aspect of their baseball lives could go right for a change.

So they dismissed Girardi as easily as he dismissed them, with one prominent veteran saying, "I like the guy we've got. I want him to stay all year," a reference to interim manager Dave Trembley. They excused shortstop Miguel Tejada's cameo appearance as long as it doesn't become routine, which became unlikely when it was revealed last night that he'd suffered a wrist fracture. And they downplayed Erik Bedard's hamstring injury, treating it like a case of the sniffles.

"It's all part of the game," Trembley said. "It's a sidebar. There's the story of the game and then there's the other story within the game.

"Those are two pretty big names for the Baltimore Orioles and two pretty big parts of this baseball team, but I don't think this detracts at all from what happened in the nine innings and the club winning two of three."

Tejada was playing with a bad left wrist that only allowed him to bunt in the first inning, as the No. 2 hitter, before leaving for a pinch runner, and Bedard strained his left hamstring while throwing a pitch in the sixth, also ending his day prematurely. But there's no denying that the Orioles got healthy in San Diego.

Not only did their nine-game losing streak end here, they also won two straight before making the short flight to Phoenix. They're now 10 games below .500 and inching closer to fourth place.

"These last couple games are a long time coming for us," said outfielder Jay Payton, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored. "We weren't going to keep playing the way we were playing. We knew we were a better team than that."

Backup catcher Alberto Castillo had a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning that tied the game at 1 and a home run in the sixth off left-hander David Wells that gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead.

Castillo hadn't homered since April 19, 2005. He slammed a ball off the Western Metal Supply Co. warehouse in left field, where a yellow stripe runs down a corner of the building to simulate the foul pole.

"I used to catch Boomer with the [Toronto] Blue Jays, and when I came up that last at-bat, I said, 'You keep throwing me those breaking balls, I'm hitting one out of here.' And look what happened," Castillo said, smiling. "He's probably [ticked] off. But he's a great guy."

Bedard (5-4), who won for the second time since April 18, allowed a run in the bottom of the sixth and left after 79 pitches. He struck out nine and didn't issue a walk.

"I did not take Bedard out of the game because of any significant strategy," Trembley said. "Bedard's hamstring got tight. It didn't feel comfortable and we went with the side of caution and took him out."

Asked if Bedard could go on the disabled list, Trembley said, "I don't believe so at this time, but my background is baseball skills, it's not medical. I'd think in about 24 hours we'll have more information."

Chris Gomez, who replaced Tejada at shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, had a two-run double in the eighth. Gomez was supposed to start at second base, with Brian Roberts having the day off, before Tejada's swollen wrist altered the lineup. Roberts started at second and reached base four times. Tejada bunted in the first inning and left the game.

"It's hard to see the big man on the team go down," Castillo said. "You don't want to see that happen, but it's part of the game."

The Orioles will continue to play through every distraction and every disappointment. It's the only way they know. And sometimes, as they found out the past two games, they get rewarded.

"It's a great 'W' for everybody, even you guys [reporters]," Castillo said. "It's a good day for me, for the team, for the organization and even for the manager. We all did a good job today."

NOTES -- Assistant trainer Brian Ebel was named to the training staff for the All-Star Game in San Francisco. ... Former pitching coach and current scout Bruce Kison has taken over Trembley's role as bullpen coach.roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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