BALTIMORE (AP) -- Omar Daal stopped his losing streak and gave
the Baltimore Orioles their first victory by a left-handed starter in almost two years.
Daal allowed five hits over seven innings and Melvin Mora
homered Sunday to lead the Orioles over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
4-1. Hit hard in his first three starts after signing as a free agent
in the offseason, Daal (1-2) had been winless in eight starts since
defeating Houston on Aug. 31, 2002. "I was hitting my spots and keeping the ball low,'' Daal said.
"I was making my pitches. ... I was feeling good.'' He allowed one run and retired 16 of his final 17 hitters. It
was the first victory for a Baltimore left-handed starter since
Chuck McElroy defeated Minnesota on April 28, 2001. "When he needed to make pitches, he made some pitches,'' said
bench coach Sam Perlozzo, who led the Orioles. "That's what he
wasn't doing before. That's a big step for us. We need him to take
us to the sixth, seventh inning.'' Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove left the team Sunday morning to
be with his ailing mother in Perryton, Texas. Daal threw 61 of 83 pitches for strikes in a game that lasted
only 2 hours, 5, minutes, the fastest for the Orioles this season. Jorge Julio pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save in seven
chances. Baltimore has won four of five. With a victory in Monday night's
series finale, the Orioles would reach .500 for the first time
since last Aug. 23. Nick Bierbrodt (0-2) allowed four runs and five hits in 1 1-3
innings for Tampa Bay, which has lost five of six. "I was behind with everybody,'' Bierbrodt said. "I threw
pretty well in the bullpen. I just didn't bring it from the 'pen
into the game.'' Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella has grown impatient with poor
starting pitching. Tampa Bay starters have won only once in 18
games this year. "Nick's going into the bullpen to see if we can get him
straightened out,'' Piniella said. "We're going to try different
things in the rotation and go from there. We need a little help
from our starting pitching.'' Mora's second homer of the season gave Baltimore a 2-0 lead in
the first. Tampa Bay loaded the bases off in the second before Rey Ordonez
hit a sacrifice fly for his team-high 15th RBI. Tony Batista reached on an infield hit in the second and scored
when right fielder Damian Rolls misplayed Marty Cordova's double
off the right-field scoreboard. Cordova scored on Deivi Cruz's
groundout for a 4-1 lead.
Bierbrodt's outing was his shortest of the season, and his
ERA rose from 11.77 to 13.19. ... Jorge Sosa, who beat Baltimore on
Saturday, has the only win by a Tampa Bay starter. ... Rolls' error
broke a streak of six error-free games. The team record is seven.
... Julio has retired 11 consecutive hitters and 13 of the last 14
he's faced. ... Baltimore's Jerry Hairston was 6-for-6 in
stolen-base attempts before he was thrown out in the eighth inning.