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Raffy hears the noise as Orioles lose

TORONTO (AP) -- Earplugs didn't help Rafael Palmeiro stop his
slump.

Palmeiro inserted earplugs after he was loudly booed during his
first at-bat in the Baltimore Orioles' 7-2 loss to the Toronto Blue
Jays on Tuesday night.

He went 0-for-4, leaving him with two hits in 26 at-bats, an
.077 average, since a 10-day suspension for testing positive for
steroids.

Palmeiro expressed disbelief when Orioles spokesman Kevin Behan
told him the first few questions to interim manager Sam Perlozzo
were about his earplugs. Palmeiro declined to talk to reporters,
saying through Behan that he'll speak Wednesday.

"You want to be accepted by people," teammate Brian Roberts
said. "For 99 percent of his career he has been and for that to
completely change now, I think is something I don't know if any of
us can comprehend what he's going through. By his expressions you
can tell that it is definitely beating him up."

Palmeiro struck out swinging in the first inning, popped out
weakly to the pitcher in the fourth, lined out to first base in the
sixth and took a called third strike in the eighth. His batting
average has dropped from .280 at the time of his suspension to
.266.

He added what appeared to be tape to one earplug, apparently to
further drown out the boos.

Fans have jeered him and made disparaging remarks since his
return. He is the most prominent major league player punished for
taking banned drugs, and said when the suspension was announced
that he never intentionally took steroids.

"It's a situation that you wouldn't put your worst enemy in,"
Roberts said. "Obviously, none of us will ever know what the truth
is, but I believe him. And for him to have to go through this, it's
something that we can't really comprehend."

Palmeiro was Baltimore's designated hitter, a day after Perlozzo
suggested he has lost his job as the regular first baseman.

Perlozzo didn't notice the earplugs until his last at-bat.

"You'll have to ask Raffy if it bothers him, but we're out
there rooting for him," Perlozzo said.

Baltimore lost its fifth straight game and for the 10th time in
11 games. Rodrigo Lopez (13-8) gave up seven runs and 11 hits in 4
2-3 innings.

Shea Hillenbrand tripled during a four-run second inning, and
hit an RBI double in a three-run fifth.

David Bush (4-7) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven
innings, struck out seven and walked none for the Blue Jays, who
lost eight of their previous 10 games. Every Toronto started had at
least one hit.

Toronto manager John Gibbons said he never wore earplugs.

"I wasn't good enough to need them," Gibbons said.

Roberts led off the first with a homer, the fourth time he's
done it this season and the second time against Bush. He also
homered off Bush on April 23.

Toronto took a 4-1 lead in the second after Hillenbrand led off
with a triple past the glove of diving right fielder David Newhan.
Gregg Zaun hit an RBI single, Orlando Hudson had a two-run double
and Frank Catalanotto added an RBI double.

Melvin Mora cut it to 4-2 with an RBI single in the fifth, but
the Blue Jays scored three runs in the bottom half on Hillenbrand's
RBI double, Eric Hinske's run-scoring single and Reed Johnson's RBI
grounder.

Game notes
Roberts has led off the first with a homer five times in
his career ... Toronto SS Russ Adams turned 25.