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Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Guthrie’s ‘tough day’ enough to beat K.C.

May 30, 2007

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— Jeremy Guthrie wasn't trying to insult the hapless Kansas City Royals. He was only being honest.

"I was missing up, I was throwing breaking balls down. I was up and down and all over the place except where I needed to be," the Baltimore starter said. "Today was a tough day."

But fortunately for him, anyone facing Kansas City these days hardly needs his best stuff. A scuffling Guthrie and two relievers combined on a three-hitter Tuesday night and led the Orioles to a 6-2 victory, handing the frustrated Royals their sixth straight loss.

Guthrie (3-1) went seven innings, then Chad Bradford and Chris Ray each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

The Royals held a hitters-only meeting before the game - only to have their bats collapse again. In this six-game slide, they're hitting only .193 and have been outscored 51-14, and manager Buddy Bell is sounding as if he's out of patience.

"It's time we quit giving the other guys a whole lot of credit," Bell said. "Guthrie had a good fastball. Our swings in this ballpark are a little longer than on the road, for whatever reason."

Ramon Hernandez drove in two runs for the Orioles, who won their fourth in a row after losing four of five.

"Tonight, I battled through almost every inning, except maybe the seventh and first," said Guthrie, who gave up three hits, with one walk and three strikeouts.

Jorge De La Rosa (4-5) gave up eight hits and five runs in five-plus innings. He was relieved after Kevin Millar and Melvin Mora reached beginning the sixth.

The Royals took their first lead in a game since Saturday when Mark Teahen homered with two outs in the first. But the lead lasted only until Baltimore scored two in the second on Millar's solo home run and Hernandez's RBI single.

Hernandez, who hit a grand slam Monday night, also singled home a run in the sixth as the Orioles notched their fourth four-game winning streak.

Manager Sam Perlozzo said Guthrie gave him no argument when he pulled him.

"He persevered," he said. "There were a couple of innings he just couldn't get any sink. But he went out and pitched. He was mentally exhausted trying to get back in gear and when he was done, he was done."

Shane Costa, placed in the leadoff spot for the first time this year, drove in the Royals' second run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

Back-to-back doubles by Miguel Tejada and Aubrey Huff put the Orioles on top 3-1 in the third.

With no outs in the sixth, Hernandez grounded a single off reliever Jimmy Gobble just past the outstretched glove of Angel Berroa, making his second start at shortstop. Millar easily scored from third, and Mora raced home from second when left fielder Costa short-hopped the throw into the infield, KC's first error in six games.

Hernandez went to third on Brian Roberts' single and scored when Nick Markakis grounded back to Gobble, who failed to field the ball cleanly and tried an underhanded scoop to the plate that was too late to get the runner. The play was ruled a fielder's choice.

"We caught a break on both those plays," Perlozzo said.

Notes: The losing pitcher in each of the Royals' six straight losses has been the starter, including De La Rosa twice. ... The start of the game was delayed 26 minutes by rain. ... Steve Trachsel's no-strikeout complete-game victory Monday night was the first in the majors since Joel Pineiro of Seattle did it against Minnesota on May 1, 2006. No Baltimore pitcher had done it in almost four seasons. ... The Orioles committed their league-leading fifth balk.

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