Hendrickson extends hitting streak to eight games

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Steve Kline isn't second-guessing
his decision to sign with the Baltimore Orioles anymore.

The reliever apologized to teammates for comments he made
suggesting he may have made a poor choice to leave St. Louis after
last season, then went out and struck out the only batter he faced
to get his first win for his new team in Wednesday night's 5-1
victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

"I want the people back home to know I'm sorry for what I
said," Kline said. "Stupidity. I'm ready to get out and win for
this team."

Brian Roberts kept up his torrid start with a tiebreaking RBI
single, and Miguel Tejada and Sammy Sosa also had clutch hits in a
four-run seventh inning that enabled the Orioles to pull away.

Roberts went 1-for-4, and his run-scoring single off Mark
Hendrickson (0-1) snapped a 1-1 tie. The Orioles' leadoff man is
batting .394 with four homers and 10 RBI during an eight-game
hitting streak.

Tejada followed with a two-run double off reliever Travis
Harper. Sosa, who went 2-for-4 after hitting his first homer as an
Oriole during a 7-6 victory Tuesday night, finished the seventh
with an RBI single that made it 5-1.

Kline (1-1) struck out Aubrey Huff with runners at second and
third to end a Tampa Bay threat in the sixth. The left-hander
entered the game with a 23.14 ERA after allowing seven runs in 2
1/3 innings over four appearances.

"That's what he's paid to do, go out there and do the job. And
he did in a tough situation," Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said.

Kline addressed his teammates about his comments during a
meeting before the game.

"I feel guilty for two of the three losses we have," Kline
said. "We had a good talk here today. They told me don't worry
about it, concentrate on the game and bring home some victories."

Javy Lopez hit a solo homer for Baltimore, which has won four of
five games on a six-game road trip that ends here Thursday. Orioles
starter Erik Bedard allowed one run and eight hits in five innings.

The Devil Rays began the night with the highest team batting
average in the American League, but they have struggled at the
plate with runners in scoring position.

After failing to score on three occasions when they got a runner
to third with less than two outs during Tuesday night's one-run
loss, Tampa Bay couldn't get a runner home against Bedard despite
loading the bases with no outs in the second inning and getting six
of its first eight batters on base overall.

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella was at a loss to explain his
team's lack of production in crucial situations.

"I don't know what happens," Piniella said. "But I know when
you get people on base, it's the opposing pitcher who's in trouble
-- not the hitter. We're going up there like we're the ones in

The Orioles helped Bedard out of a potential jam in the first
with a double play, and the Orioles starter escaped in the second
by getting Carl Crawford to fly to left and Joey Gathright and
Julio Lugo to hit into force outs.

The Devil Rays, 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position,
finally broke through in the fifth -- barely.

Lugo and Huff singled to open the inning. Lugo took third on
Josh Phelps' long fly ball and scored on Jorge Cantu's high infield
chopper, sliding in just ahead of third baseman Melvin Mora's throw
to the plate.

The run ended a string of 10 consecutive scoreless innings for
Bedard, a stretch that began in the second inning of last
Thursday's start at home against Oakland. In that outing, the
left-hander allowed one run and three hits in seven innings but
also was not involved in the decision.

Hendrickson kept pace with Bedard by limiting the Orioles to
five singles and only allowing two runners past second until Lopez
homered on 3-1 pitch with two outs in the sixth. The left-hander
allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Game notes
Devil Rays OF Alex Sanchez, suspended 10 days for violating
major league baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs,
is eligible to return on Thursday. He missed eight games during the
ban. ... 1B Rafael Palmeiro, who's 2-for-13 (.154) lifetime against
Hendrickson, was not in Baltimore's starting lineup. He entered in
the seventh as a defensive replacement for Chris Gomez. ... Cantu
has hit safely in all eight of Tampa Bay's games, matching the
third-longest season-opening streak in club history.