O's continue winning ways without Tejada

The Baltimore Sun

PHOENIX -- For the first time in more than three years, the Orioles learned what it was like to play an entire game without shortstop Miguel Tejada. A full nine innings. The first pitch to the last, as it's supposed to be when there's an injury.

They know it won't always be this easy, but for one night, at least, they didn't care. Better to enjoy it than over-analyze it.

With Tejada watching from the dugout because of a fractured wrist, the Orioles took advantage of the Arizona Diamondbacks' generosity in the field and Daniel Cabrera's dominance on the mound and extended their modest winning streak with a 7-1 victory at Chase Field on Friday night.

Brian Roberts tripled, homered and drove in three runs, as the Orioles (32-41) won their third straight under interim manager Dave Trembley. They also made sure the Diamondbacks wouldn't repeat last weekend's sweep at Camden Yards.

"I think the guys rallied a little bit for Tejada," Trembley said. "This was a game they wanted to come out and play really well in and win and have a lot of fun, because that's what Tejada is all about. When he plays, he plays with enthusiasm."

Said Tejada: "I was really happy to see that. Those guys are professionals, and to see those guys play like that, they are being good teammates to me.

"It's pretty tough to be sitting out, but I enjoyed seeing that game."

He must have been enthralled with Cabrera (6-8), who avenged a loss to the Diamondbacks in his previous start by holding them to one run over six innings. Cabrera didn't allow a hit until former Oriole Eric Byrnes led off the sixth with a double and scored on Chad Tracy's two-out double.

Cabrera threw 109 pitches before Paul Shuey replaced him and tossed two scoreless innings.

"I've told Daniel since I had him in the minors, 'Pitch like you're 6-9,' " Trembley said. "When he pitches downhill, he's intimidating."

The only area where Cabrera came up short was his hitting. He struck out three times, the bat never leaving his shoulder.

He was backed by some outstanding plays in the field, including three by third baseman Melvin Mora. Chris Gomez, the replacement shortstop, made a backhanded stop of Orlando Hudson's sharp bouncer, spun and threw to Roberts, who caught the ball bare-handed and fired to first to complete a double play in the eighth. And Corey Patterson crashed into the fence while making an acrobatic grab in center to end the game.

"They put on a clinic," Trembley said. "I don't think I've ever seen a collection of plays like that in one game."

The Orioles scored four runs of Brandon Webb, the reigning Cy Young winner, in the second. None of them were earned. Just about all of them were comical.

Aubrey Huff doubled with one out and scored when Tracy, Arizona's third baseman, air-mailed his throw to first after fielding Jay Payton's grounder. Payton got caught in a rundown with Jay Gibbons at the plate, but he dived safely into third when Webb dropped the ball while trying to apply the tag.

Gibbons walked, and the Orioles executed a safety squeeze, with Gomez laying down a bunt and Payton scoring the second run after breaking late for home. Tracy charged the ball and flipped it past catcher Chris Snyder for the third error of the inning, tying a franchise record.

Roberts lined a two-out, two-run triple to right field, and Webb fought to maintain his composure. It was better than taking on the entire team.

Gibbons entered the game batting .203, but his two-run double in the third increased the Orioles' lead to 6-0, and Roberts homered in the fourth.

"We don't put everything together," Cabrera said. "Sometimes, we don't pitch good, sometimes we don't hit, sometimes we pitch bad but we hit. But I think this is the time we put everything together."

With Tejada's streak ending at 1,152 games, Gomez started in his place Friday night and batted eighth.

Nobody can fill Tejada's shoes, but the Orioles rallied around their fallen star and turned in one of their finest games of the season.

"We're fine," Mora said. "We miss him a lot because it's another bat in the lineup. But we can't think about that now. We just need to think about taking care of business and the guys we have right now."


Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad