Millar reaches on walk in 9th to extend streak

The Baltimore Sun

Toronto -- Kevin Millar extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base in the Orioles' 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday at Rogers Centre, but he needed his last plate appearance to do it.

Millar was retired in his first three at-bats by Toronto starter Roy Halladay, but he drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the ninth inning. That extended his major league-best streak to 46 straight games, the longest by an Oriole since Cal Ripken reached base 46 consecutive games during the 1998 season.

Millar, whose streak began June 20, is just three games shy of the longest streak in Orioles history, set in 1977 by Ken Singleton.

Millar joked a day earlier that his run at the club record should be getting more fanfare, though he took little solace in extending the streak yesterday in an Orioles loss.

Millar described facing Halladay as "a complete dogfight up there at the plate."

"My first at-bat, I swung at ball four on a nasty cutter. It was a battle with him all day. It was just unfortunate that we came up on the short end of the stick because it was two great pitchers going out there in [Jeremy] Guthrie and Halladay. It was a great baseball game."

O's wait on F. Cabrera

The Orioles are awaiting word from Fernando Cabrera's agent on whether the right-handed reliever will accept a contract offer the club made recently.

Cabrera, 25, was designated for assignment Aug. 1 after going 1-2 with a 5.61 ERA in 24 games for the Cleveland Indians. He eventually was given his outright release Aug. 9. He was claimed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but he declined the waiver assignment.

That's when the Orioles made a contract offer for the rest of the season. Several other teams are interested in Cabrera, who hasn't pitched since July 26.

Olson, Trembley meet

Orioles manager Dave Trembley called rookie pitcher Garrett Olson into his office yesterday to discuss Olosn's recent struggles. Olson, who will start Wednesday against the Texas Rangers, allowed 11 base runners and five earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings in his start Friday against the Blue Jays. Olson had approached Trembley and asked for a meeting, and the manager got back to his player yesterday.

"I think it comes down to one thing: not throwing enough strikes," Trembley said. "He's walking too many people. He's pitching behind. It looks like he's trying to force the ball into a keyhole. You can't do that. You have to throw strike one. You have to show a little better command. If he does that, he'll get back to having some success."

Baez won't campaign

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said the club will look internally and externally to find a replacement for closer Chris Ray, who had elbow reconstruction surgery Thursday and likely will be out through the 2008 season.

While Jim Hoey has been discussed as the most likely internal candidate to fill the role, Danys Baez (113 career saves) has barely been mentioned. That's just fine to Baez, who said he won't campaign for next year's spot.

"I think we lost a great teammate and a good pitcher. It was a big loss in the bullpen," Baez said of Ray. "But we've got to take the job now and we've got to see what we can do to correct that spot. I don't know what's going to happen next year. The management is going to say what they're going to do. I don't want to be thinking those kinds of things right now. I'm going to do whatever they want me to do."

Around the horn

Trembley said the club has not made a decision as to who will be sent down when Freddie Bynum is activated, which is expected to happen before tonight's game. Brandon Fahey and J.R. House are the top candidates. ... Trembley kept Corey Patterson out of the starting lineup yesterday and started Tike Redman in center field. Patterson entered the game in the 10th inning. Trembley likely will give right fielder Nick Markakis a day off on the 10-game homestand.

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