Orioles win Buck Showalter's debut as manager

BALTIMORE -- As Orioles players and coaches streamed from the home dugout onto the field to celebrate an all-too-rare victory in this difficult season, new manager Buck Showalter stayed on the top step, jotting on the scorecard that will forever commemorate Win No. 1 for him with Baltimore.

Showalter then formed a one-man receiving line, greeting guys with firm handshakes while they headed to the clubhouse. Fans still were standing, clapping, yelling and twirling giveaway orange T-shirts overhead.

"Everybody, including me, is thirsting for good things to happen," Showalter said a few minutes later. "It's one day, one game -- but it was fun."

Luke Scott hit a two-run homer, Josh Bell added a two-run double for his first major league RBIs in a big sixth inning and the Orioles came back to beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-3 on Tuesday night to make Showalter 1-0 as Baltimore's manager.

"It's kind of been a hyped event. Everyone's been talking about it, and it's finally here," Scott said. "Everyone, including us, the players, want to see a change as far as results. You look at it as a fresh start."

After a procession of four consecutive first-time managers, Baltimore is turning to a veteran in Showalter. In previous stints in the majors, Showalter went 882-833 with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers, getting credit for overseeing quick improvements at each stop and twice winning manager of the year awards.

But Tuesday's game was Showalter's first as a skipper since 2006. He's the third manager of 2010 for Baltimore, which is a major league-worst 33-73, and he drew a roar from the Camden Yards crowd of 16,723 simply by jogging out to home plate to clarify a call with the home umpire.

Before the game, the video board that looms above center field showed clips from Showalter's introductory news conference Monday, eliciting cheers and a partial standing ovation. There was another round of applause when he presented the lineup card to the umpires.

"Every time he came out of the dugout," center fielder Adam Jones said, "you heard the crowd going crazy."

Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie (5-11), who gave up three runs in seven innings, compared the atmosphere to Opening Day.

The Orioles had lost three consecutive games and eight of their past nine. But they got two RBIs from Matt Wieters and a solid performance from Guthrie, who has won two of his past three starts after going 0-6 in his previous nine.

"Guthrie has as good an arm as there is in our league for a right-hander," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has good stuff, really good stuff. I know he's not having statistically a good year, but he pitched well tonight."

With Los Angeles leading 2-1 in the sixth, Francisco Rodriguez (0-2) replaced Angels starter Trevor Bell after a leadoff walk. Rodriguez was called for a balk but later dismissed the notion that he was flustered by that when he gave up Scott's shot to right, his 19th homer.

One out later, Felix Pie singled and stole second, and Rodriguez intentionally walked Wieters. That brought up No. 8 hitter Bell, a rookie third baseman who had been 0-for-9 since being recalled Saturday from Triple-A Norfolk but drove the ball to the left-field corner for a 5-2 lead.

Baltimore made it 6-3 in the eighth on Wieters' run-scoring single. That inning ended when Torii Hunter -- an All-Star center fielder playing in right for the first time since 1999 -- threw out Wieters at the plate.

"I was like, 'Don't hit me the ball. Don't hit me the ball.' And in the bottom of the eighth, I was able to throw a guy out. That was my first play right there," Hunter said.

Reliever Mike Gonzalez got five outs, and Alfredo Simon came on to strike out Howie Kendrick for the final out. In the fifth, Kendrick had turned on a 95 mph fastball from Guthrie and drove it over the left-field wall for a two-run homer.

Showalter was asked about the way he handled the late-inning relief duties. Had Gonzalez gotten one more out, he would have earned a save -- and had Simon entered to start the ninth, he would have had a chance to earn a save. Instead, neither got that sort of box score credit.

"Believe me, I know the save rule and, quite frankly, it doesn't carry much weight with me," Showalter said. "I like the win rule a little bit better."

Game notes
Assuming Showalter finishes out 2010, the Orioles will be the first team in major league history to have three men manage at least 50 games in a season. Dave Trembley went 15-39 before being fired June 4, and his replacement, interim manager Juan Samuel, went 17-34. ... Guthrie hit Maicer Izturis in the first inning, the pitcher's 10th hit batter this season, second-most in the AL. ... The 35-year-old Hunter, a nine-time Gold Glove winner, was replaced in center by Peter Bourjos, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to make his major league debut.