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Loaiza tosses five-hitter to beat Hentgen

9/27/2002

TORONTO (AP) -- Pat Hentgen is determined to see if his arm will
get stronger next year.

Esteban Loaiza pitched a five-hitter for his third complete game
of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays beat Hentgen and the
Baltimore Orioles 5-1 Thursday night.

Hentgen (0-4) lost his fourth consecutive start since coming off
the 60-day disabled list.

''As far as my career goes, I feel that I owe it to myself to
come to spring training and see if I can build up arm strength in
the offseason,'' said Hentgen, who underwent ''Tommy John''
ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow in August of last
season.

''All the people that have had Tommy John have told me you can
pitch in 12 months, but most of the guys take 16 to 18 months.''

The Orioles have dropped nine in a row and 29 of 33.

Hentgen, facing his former team for the first time, allowed five
runs on eight hits in six innings. The 33-year-old right-hander has
allowed 19 runs in four starts since coming off the disabled list
Sept. 8.

''I owe it to myself to play,'' said Hentgen, who can become a
free agent this offseason. ''If I feel like I can keep competing I
want to play. If it gets grim I'm not afraid of shutting it down
either. It will come down to my results and how I perform.''

Hentgen, who won a Cy Young Award and two World Series titles
with the Blue Jays, said it was strange to pitch for a different
team in Toronto.

''I was a little nervous in the first inning, but then it was a
normal game,'' he said. ''This was a great place to play. Everyone
knows I love pitching here. I was lucky to be a part of two World
Series teams.''

Loaiza (9-10) struck out three and walked one in the ninth
complete game of his career. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed
nine runs in his previous start.

Eligible for free agency after the season, Loaiza isn't expected
back next year. He made just more than $6 million this season.

''In the category that he is in financially, the numbers are not
up to a guy making that type of money,'' Toronto manager Carlos
Tosca said.

Carlos Delgado homered and hit a run-scoring double for the rebuilding
Blue Jays, who have won four in a row to improve to 41-32 since the
All-Star break.

Baltimore has fallen apart down the stretch after being 63-63 on
Aug. 23. They also have an eight-game losing streak and a 10-game
skid since that date.

''We've scored two or fewer runs in 24 of the last 32 games,''
manager Mike Hargrove said. ''It's frustrating.''

Delgado was hit on the helmet by a pitch from Eric Dubose in the
eighth inning, but he was OK. The game took just 1 hour, 59 minutes -- the fastest of the season for Toronto.

Hentgen walked Delgado in the second inning and allowed
consecutive singles to Jose Cruz Jr. and Chris Woodward before
Dewayne Wise hit a run-scoring grounder.

Dave Berg followed with a run-scoring single, giving Toronto a 2-0
lead.

Delgado hit his RBI double in the third, and his 32nd homer in
the sixth.

After Cruz followed Delgado's homer with a double off the top of
the right-field wall, Woodward hit a sacrifice fly for a 5-1 lead.

Larry Bigbie hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth for Baltimore.

Game notes
Hentgen made just nine starts for Baltimore last year. ...
Attendance was 13,127. ... Toronto designated hitter Josh Phelps missed the game
with a sore knee. ... Baltimore is 2-14 on the road since Aug. 23.