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Rookie scatters four hits

BALTIMORE (AP) -- As he came out to pitch the ninth inning,
Baltimore Orioles rookie Daniel Cabrera made sure to adhere to his
superstitious practice of carefully stepping over the first-base
line.

Three outs later, the right-hander celebrated his first major
league shutout by dropping his 6-foot-7 frame into a crouch. He
then pointed toward the heavens and smiled broadly as left fielder
Larry Bigbie flipped him the game ball.

"I felt happy, out of control," Cabrera said Friday night,
moments after throwing a four-hitter in Baltimore's 5-0 victory
over the Atlanta Braves.

Melvin Mora homered in his abbreviated return to the Baltimore
lineup, and Bigbie hit three doubles and scored twice, helping the
Orioles to only their third win in 12 games.

J.D. Drew and Julio Franco had two hits apiece for the Braves,
who have lost seven of nine. Their latest loss came on the heels of
a 9-4 victory over the defending World Series champion Florida
Marlins.

"One day we can beat anybody offensively. The next day we
embarrass ourselves," said Chipper Jones, who went 0-for-3.

Cabrera (4-3) struck out six and walked two, throwing 102
pitches for his first complete game in his ninth big league start.
He allowed more than one baserunner in only one inning, permitted
only one runner to second base and was aided by two sparkling
double plays.

The first came in the fourth, when second baseman Brian Roberts
made a diving stab of a grounder by Andruw Jones before getting the
ball to shortstop Miguel Tejada.

Tejada started the second one, going quickly to his left on a
grounder by Andruw Jones before flipping the ball to Roberts, who
made a barehanded catch and whipped the relay to first baseman
Rafael Palmeiro.

"I say thank you to the manager for giving me the chance to
throw a whole game, and I say thank you to the players for making a
lot of good plays," Cabrera said.

The rookie outdueled Atlanta's Paul Byrd (1-1), who gave up
three runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. Byrd also made a fine
fielding play in the sixth inning, throwing his glove -- and ball --
to first baseman Mike Hessman after a sharp grounder by Javy Lopez
got stuck in the webbing.

The play was reminiscent to one made by Minnesota reliever Terry
Mulholland, when he was a rookie with the San Francisco Giants at
Shea Stadium in 1986. Mulholland fielded a grounder by Keith
Hernandez and ran toward first before tossing his glove to first
baseman Bob Brenly, now the Arizona Diamondbacks manager.

"I studied the highlights. I knew what to do when the ball got
stuck in your glove," Byrd said with a grin. "The scary thing is
when you go to throw your glove to first, you're like, 'If this
ball falls out of here when I throw it I'm going to look like an
idiot."

Returning after a six-game absence with a sprained ligament in
his left foot, Mora gave the Orioles the only run they needed with
his 12th homer in the first inning.

He circled the bases gingerly, then left in the fifth inning
after experiencing pain in the foot.

"He'll probably be out a couple of days," manager Lee Mazzilli
said.

Tejada hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth after Bigbie doubled,
and the Orioles added two runs in the seventh on a two-out RBI bunt
single by David Newhan -- who replaced Mora -- and a run-scoring
double by Tejada.

Lopez, who played for 10 years in Atlanta before coming to
Baltimore last winter, tripled in the eighth and scored on a single
by Jay Gibbons. He went 2-for-4.

"It was fun. I'm glad I got my couple of base hits and we win
the game," Lopez said.

His former teammates are struggling without his bat in the
lineup. The Braves are 3-for-40 with runners in scoring position
over their last seven defeats.

"There is not a middle of the lineup in baseball that is as bad
as we are right now," Chipper Jones said.

Game notes
It was the fourth shutout of the season for the Orioles.
... Braves RHP Sam McConnell, called up from Triple-A Richmond
earlier in the day, allowed two hits and a run in two-thirds of an
inning in his major league debut. ... Six of Baltimore's 10 hits
were for extra bases.