Archive for Sunday, May 14, 2006

Birds win back-to-back

Two in a row first for Baltimore in May

May 14, 2006

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— Now that they've got a winning streak to talk about, the Baltimore Orioles hope to parlay a lopsided victory over the Kansas City Royals into something far more significant.

Kris Benson allowed one run in seven innings, Ramon Hernandez and Javy Lopez both homered and drove in three runs, and the Orioles enjoyed an 11-1 rout Saturday.

Miguel Tejada and Melvin Mora also homered for the Orioles, who hadn't won two in a row since April 28-29. The victory, combined with Friday night's win, assured Baltimore its first series win in eight tries.

"This is the type of game that the team needs to get us going," Lopez said. "This is a time we need to get back on track and closer to the (first-place New York) Yankees."

Baltimore, which stayed 51â2 games behind the Yankees, simply overwhelmed the woeful Royals.

"Today, everything came together," Hernandez said. "We hit when we had to, pitched well and played good defense. Everything went right."

Tejada hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to put the Orioles up, 5-1. Hernandez, Lopez and Mora connected in a six-run eighth against Chris Booker.

Hernandez started the eighth with a solo shot. Lopez, activated off the 15-day disabled list before the game, added a three-run drive and Mora homered with a man on. The last time the Orioles hit three home runs in an inning was exactly two years earlier, on May 13, 2004, at Chicago.

Lopez was delighted to be so productive on his first day back.

"That was a big relief for me. I'm glad it happened for me on the first day. That way I can get my confidence back," he said. "As you know, being back from the disabled list, the toughest day is the first day."

Benson (5-3) gave up four hits, struck out five and walked one. The right-hander was coming off a miserable performance in Boston, where he allowed nine runs in 41â3 innings.

"Kris had command of all his pitches. Fastball, slider, changeup, curve. He used all of them," said Hernandez, the starting catcher. "He was ahead in the count early, then made them chase his pitches."

Benson permitted only one runner past first base before Matt Stairs homered in the seventh.

"The tempo of the game was set by Kris. He pitched extremely well and allowed the offense to go to work," said Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo, who arrived at the ballpark about 20 minutes before the first pitch after attending the college graduation of his son.

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