BALTIMORE (AP) -- The battery of Lopez & Lopez provided just the
spark the Baltimore Orioles needed to end a five-game losing
Rodrigo Lopez scattered seven hits over seven innings, catcher
Javy Lopez hit a two-run homer, and the Orioles defeated the Los
Angeles Angels 2-0 on Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.Rodrigo Lopez (13-7) struck out five, walked one and worked out
of several jams before leaving after 112 pitches. The right-hander
is 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA in seven career games against the Angels."I'm very happy and very proud about tonight's game," he said.
"Javy and I talked a little bit before the game, and we made our
plan work."Javy Lopez provided all the offense his batterymate needed,
hitting a two-run homer in the fourth as part of a 3-for-3
performance. He also did a fine job behind the plate."Javy caught a great game, blocked some balls at some key
times," Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He's playing
like the player we always knew he was."Rodrigo Lopez outpitched Los Angeles starter John Lackey, who
gave up nine hits in his first complete game of the season. Lackey
(10-5) was 4-0 in seven starts since July 9.Lackey extended his run of innings without yielding a home run
to 62, the third-longest streak in the majors this season, before
Javy Lopez connected."Really, the one pitch he tried to force was the ball to Lopez,
and he hit it out of the park," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
"But outside of that, you couldn't ask for much more than what
John did."After Rodrigo Lopez left, Tim Byrdak gave up two singles in the
eighth before Todd Williams got Bengie Molina to hit into an
inning-ending double play.B.J. Ryan worked the ninth for his 28th save.After the game, Perlozzo held a closed-door meeting in which he
told the players to stop pressing and start winning."I told them to relax because they were making me nervous,"
Perlozzo said. "We can relax. We're good. We'll be OK."Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero each had two hits for the
Angels, whose lead in the AL West shrunk to 2½ games over Oakland,
which beat Detroit 11-1 on Thursday. The defeat also ended Los
Angeles' five-game road winning streak.The Angels stranded 10 and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring
position."We certainly set the table, but we couldn't get that hit with
guys in scoring position," Scioscia said. "(Rodrigo Lopez) made
some pitches to put some guys away that were on the money, and we
just couldn't put pressure on him. We just couldn't get that one
hit to kind of get things going."After Baltimore ended the first two innings by hitting into
double plays, the Angels put runners on second and third with two
outs in the third before Rodrigo Lopez struck out Orlando Cabrera.Darin Erstad hit a leadoff single in the Los Angeles fourth and
reached third with two outs, but Rodrigo Lopez quelled the threat
by retiring Casey Kotchman on a grounder.In the bottom half, Miguel Tejada doubled with one out and Javy
Lopez sent a 1-2 pitch into the left-field seats, his 12th home run
of the season and second in three games.Los Angeles again threatened in the fifth, loading the bases
with one out before Rodrigo Lopez struck out Erstad and Guerrero."That's another stamp that says how much he competes,"
Perlozzo said. "I really feel good when Rodrigo is out there in
situations like that. He doesn't give in."
Erstad, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games, has
reached base by hit or walk in 25 straight games, the longest
current streak in the AL ... The Angels won the season series 4-2.
... Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro went 0-for-4 and is 2-for-15 since
returning from a 10-day suspension for using steroids. ... It was
only the third time in 12 games that Baltimore hit a home run. ...
Sammy Sosa went 0-for-3 for Baltimore and drew boos from the crowd
of 26,832. He has gone 13 straight games without an RBI, his
longest drought since a 23-game run in 1992.