TORONTO (AP) -- Mark Hendrickson would rather be known for his pitching than his basketball career.
The former NBA player didn't allow an earned run in seven innings and Vernon Wells homered to reach 100 RBI as the Toronto Blue Jays sent the Baltimore Orioles to their eighth loss in a row, 3-2 on Wednesday night."That's in the past. Look at me as a pitcher,'' Hendrickson said. "We'll see what my ceiling is.''Hendrickson (3-0) won his third straight start. The 6-foot-9 rookie, who played basketball for New Jersey, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Cleveland from 1996-2000, allowed just one run -- none earned -- on five hits in seven innings."That was my best outing,'' he said. "I've done pretty good and I'm going to get better.''
Hendrickson has given up only three earned runs in his four
major league starts, spanning 26 innings."There's no reason why he can't be a good major league
pitcher,'' Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. "He's impressive.''Kelvim Escobar pitched the ninth for his 36th save as Toronto won its third straight game. He gave up Marty Cordova's RBI single. Pinch-hitter Jay Gibbons then hit a low liner that first baseman Carlos Delgado made a diving stab on to save a run. Escobar then struck out Melvin Mora to end the game.Wells' 23rd homer made the 23-year-old outfielder the youngest Toronto player to drive in 100 runs."He's really matured this year and we're looking for great things in the future,'' Tosca said.Wells received a champagne bottle from Delgado after the game."It's an honor,'' Wells said. "Hopefully, I can continue to do this and get better.''Eric Hinske went 1-for-4 and scored a run. The Toronto third baseman leads all AL rookies in home runs (23) and RBI (82).Baltimore rookie Rodrigo Lopez (15-9) allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings. He is 1-4 in his last six starts."I did a pretty good job this season, but rookie of the year voting is not in my hands,'' Lopez said.The Orioles have lost 28 of 32. Baltimore has also endured losing streaks of 10 and eight games during its monthlong skid.Jerry Hairston led off the game with a single, stole second and later scored on Jeff Conine's sacrifice fly.Hinske and Wells hit consecutive singles in the bottom half and Carlos Delgado hit an RBI single. After Lopez walked Josh Phelps, Jose Cruz Jr. hit a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead.Wells homered in the fifth.
The Orioles fell a season-high 24 games under .500. They were 63-63 on Aug. 23. ... Lopez is 0-3 in three starts against Toronto. ... Hinske went 3-for-8 against Lopez this season. ...
Hendrickson is the tallest Blue Jays player ever. ... A former Washington State basketball standout, Hendrickson was drafted six times in baseball but didn't start his professional baseball career until 1998 with Toronto's Class A affiliate at Dunedin. He decided to play baseball full time after a mediocre NBA season with
Cleveland in 2000.