O's take first game of twinbill with Phils behind Bedard

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Erik Bedard has already surpassed his career high for wins. If the Baltimore Orioles' left-hander keeps pitching this way, all his numbers will be outstanding by the end of the

Bedard allowed five hits over seven shutout innings, leading the Orioles past the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 on Wednesday in the opener of a split doubleheader.

Over his past three starts, Bedard is 3-0 with 25 strikeouts and a 1.29 ERA. He has thrown 16 straight scoreless innings, a run that has lowered his ERA to 4.72 -- the lowest it's been since May 17.

"It's only three games, but I'll try to do that the rest of the year," Bedard said.

Bedard (8-6) never won more than six games in his first two full seasons. But he never pitched this well, either, in part because he's added a changeup to his repertoire.

"He's been getting them over for strikes, and that makes his fastball that much better," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "It keeps them off his fastball."

Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez, who hit a two-run homer, said of his batterymate: "He's pitching pretty tough. Right now he's on top of his game. If he continues pitching like that, there are going to be a lot of good starts for him."

Brian Roberts also homered for the Orioles, who have won three of four. It was Roberts' first homer since Aug. 30; he had a career-high 18 last season, 15 by the All-Star break.

Pat Burrell and Shane Victorino each hit a two-run homer for the fading Phillies, who have lost six straight and 14 of 17. Burrell's homer snapped an 0-for-18 skid that included 11 strikeouts.

"Right now, it just seems like everyone's pressing a little bit," Phillies reliever Rick White said. "It seems like everyone's trying too hard to get out of this funk."

Philadelphia played without manager Charlie Manuel, who was serving a one-game suspension for aggressively arguing with an umpire during a June 17 loss to Tampa Bay. He was replaced by bench coach Gary Varsho, who was forced to watch his team flail away
against Bedard.

"He's really good. Obviously, his command is excellent," Varsho said. "His breaking ball is good to get out left-handers. He can be a really tough pitcher for anybody."

Bedard struck out seven -- one each inning -- walked two and hit a batter with a pitch.

"He's two wins over his highest total now. I just hope he keeps going," Perlozzo said.

Chris Ray, the third Baltimore reliever, struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances.

Phillies rookie Cole Hamels (1-4) gave up seven runs and nine hits in five innings, losing his fourth straight start.

"Seriously, I [stink]. That's all I can say," Hamels said. "I'm not getting ahead of hitters the way I should and I'm definitely not finishing, especially when you go out there and you
have two outs and you give up a couple home runs. That's definitely not me."

The Orioles got a run in the second when Jeff Conine tripled and scored on a groundout by Corey Patterson.

Baltimore made it 4-0 in the third. Roberts hit a leadoff single and took off for second base when Hamels threw to first. Roberts beat Ryan Howard's throw to second for a stolen base and then scored on a single by Miguel Tejada before Hernandez hit his 14th homer on Hamels' next pitch.

Roberts homered in the fourth after Nick Markakis singled with two outs. Batting right-handed, the switch-hitting Roberts drove an 0-2 pitch into the left-field seats.

Hamels walked Kevin Millar with the bases loaded to make it 7-0 in the fifth.

Philadelphia scored four in the eighth off rookie Kurt Birkins, who entered with a 1.23 ERA. Burrell hit his 19th homer after Chase Utley hit a leadoff single, and Victorino connected after a two-out single by Aaron Rowand.

Game notes
The game was a makeup of Tuesday night's rainout. ... Orioles DH Javy Lopez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. ... Utley and David Bell had two hits apiece for the Phillies. ... The homers were the first two allowed by Birkins in 23 innings.