BALTIMORE (AP) -- A costly walk, a stunning lapse in judgment and
a foul bunt provided Eric Byrnes with the opportunity to break up a
Byrnes delivered, in a big way. His three-run homer snapped an
eighth-inning tie, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Baltimore
Orioles 5-1 Thursday night.
Mark Kotsay had two hits and scored a run for the A's, who
rebounded from an opening-day loss to take two of three from
A steady rain drenched the field from the outset and limited
attendance to 16,395 -- the smallest crowd in the 14-year history of
With the score 1-all, Marco Scutaro led off the Oakland eighth
by drawing a walk from Steve Kline (0-1). Kotsay then bunted, and
Kline's throw to first was intercepted by first baseman Jay Gibbons
before it could reach second baseman Brian Roberts, who was
covering the bag.
"It was my fault," Gibbons said. "I just assumed he was
throwing it to me. Simple as that."
Despite Gibbons' mental error, the play was ruled a hit. Byrnes
followed by fouling off a bunt attempt. That led Kline to believe
Byrnes would try to bunt again, so he served up a fastball.
"If I throw a sinker down and away, he grounds out," Kline
said. "He jumped me."
Byrnes hit the pitch over the center-field wall, and thrust his
fist in the air to celebrate his first homer of the season.
"I was hoping he was going to throw another fastball and make
me get the bunt down," Byrnes said. "Luckily, he did and I was
able to hit it."
Byrnes came in with exactly one successful sacrifice bunt in 384
big league games, and Kline had gone 34 straight games without
allowing a homer.
Kline lamented throwing the fastball, but was almost as
disappointed with the walk to Scutaro.
"You can't walk the leadoff hitter," the left-hander said.
"That's where it started right there."
It continued with Gibbons' miscue.
"Never seen that play before," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli
Roberts led off the Orioles' first inning with a home run, but
Baltimore managed only four hits. After scoring four runs on
opening day, the Orioles got one run on seven hits in the final two
games of the series.
"This club is going to hit. We just didn't do it the last
couple of days," Mazzilli said.
The poor weather didn't cause a stoppage of play, and it
certainly had no effect on the starting pitchers, both of whom were
exceptional after yielding first-inning runs.
Danny Haren, who came to the A's in the trade that sent Mark
Mulder to St. Louis, allowed one run and three hits in six innings
in his Oakland debut. He struck out six, walked three and hit a
"He gave us a chance to win," A's manager Ken Macha said,
"but we didn't score until later."
Baltimore's Erik Bedard gave up one run and three hits in seven
innings. The left-hander struck out five, walked one and hit a
Oakland went up 1-0 in the first when Byrnes singled, moved up
on a balk and scored on a single by Jason Kendall. Roberts tied it
in the Orioles' half with his second career leadoff homer.
In the third, Haren plunked Sammy Sosa on the arm with a pitch
that appeared headed toward his head. Sosa took a step toward the
mound and yelled at Haren before being restrained by plate umpire
Bedard then hit Chavez with a pitch leading off the fourth,
prompting Diaz to issue a warning to both benches.
It was 1-1 in the sixth when Sosa hit a one-out drive to deep
left-center. He took a hop out of the batter's box in anticipation
of seeing his 575th career homer, but the ball hit the warning
track before bouncing into the stands for a ground-rule double.
Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro singled in the ninth, his first
hit in 10 at-bats. Teammate Melvin Mora, who hit .340 last year, is
at .083 after going 0-for-4. ... Scutaro has three walks this
season compared to 16 all last year.