BALTIMORE (AP) -- Fastball, changeup, curveball. It didn't matter
which pitch Erik Bedard threw, because they all seemed to hit the
corners with uncanny accuracy.
Erik Bedard picked up his sixth win in his last six starts Saturday, and in the last five of those starts, he has gone at least six innings while allowing either no runs or one.
Bedard is the first pitcher this season to win five straight starts, going six innings and allowing no more than one run in each of them. But even though the Orioles have had some great pitchers during their years in Baltimore, you have to go back nearly 90 years -- to the early years of the St. Louis Browns -- to find the last pitcher from this franchise to have a streak of five starts like Bedard has had. The last pitcher to achieve that was a fellow named Dave Davenport, who did it in August 1917.
The result was another impressive performance by the young
left-hander, who has put up some amazing numbers since perfecting
his changeup and mastering the fine art of throwing strikes.Bedard allowed one unearned run in seven innings to win his
sixth straight start, and the Baltimore Orioles ended their scoring
slump at the expense of rookie John Rheinecker in an 8-1 victory
over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.Bedard (11-6) gave up six hits, walked one and struck out six.
He has a 1.07 ERA during his six-game run, and has allowed only two
earned runs in 36 innings over his last five starts."He's been absolutely phenomenal. It's fun to watch," Orioles
manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He's gradually growing into becoming a
great pitcher."Working with pitching coach Leo Mazzone, Bedard recently added a
changeup to his list of pitches. That made his fastball more
effective, but that's only one reason why Bedard has been so
efficient lately."The changeup is a big factor," he said. "Throwing strikes
with that helps me a lot with the rest of my pitches."Said Perlozzo: "I'm sure it's a combination of things, but I
think the changeup got him on the right track. He's been locating
his fastball on the outer part of the plate and working ahead in
the count. His curveball's been great, too. He makes it tough for
the opposition to hit."The Rangers will vouch for that."He kept us off balance all day. He throws strikes
consistently," said Mark Teixeira, who went 0-for-3 and got Texas'
lone walk. "He's definitely improved as a pitcher; we have a
good-hitting lineup and he held us down all day."Jeff Conine had three hits and two RBI, and Melvin Mora drove
in two runs and scored twice for the Orioles, who had totaled two
runs and 10 hits in their two previous games. Every starter had a
hit by the fifth inning as Baltimore built an 8-0 lead.The Rangers' lone run came on a sixth-inning RBI single by Ian Kinsler following a throwing error by Mora from third base.Before that, Texas didn't get a runner past first base."(Bedard) was tough. He was very impressive," Rangers manager
Buck Showalter said. "He's been throwing well against a lot of
people. We knew his velocity and arm strength were up, and he
presents a lot of challenges to hitters."Texas was 4-0 against the Orioles this season, outscoring them
27-5.Making his 10th start, Rheinecker (4-4) yielded a career-high
seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, his shortest stint of the season. His
ERA rose from 3.96 to 4.82."He didn't particularly give up a lot of hard hit balls, but
the way Bedard was pitching you've got to have a real good
outing," Showalter said.The Rangers had not allowed more than four runs in eight
straight games, going 6-2 in that span. The streak crumbled under
the weight of a five-run fourth inning that provided the Orioles
with a 7-0 lead.All the runs came with two outs. Mora hit a two-run double and
Miguel Tejada drove in a run with an infield single to chase
Rheinecker. Conine then singled in a run off Scott Feldman and
Ramon Hernandez followed with an RBI single.In the fifth, Luis Terrero followed singles by Javy Lopez and
Kevin Millar with his first hit of the season, an RBI single to
center. He was 0-for-19 prior to that hit.The Orioles got a run in the first when Mora was hit by a pitch
and scored when Texas right fielder Mark DeRosa let a single by
Tejada skip past him.Doubles by Brian Roberts and Conine made it 2-0 in the third.
Former Oriole Jerry Hairston went 0-for-3, but made an
outstanding leaping catch in the sixth to rob Conine of a homer.
... Baltimore's Nick Markakis went 2-for-4 and is batting .383 over
his last 23 games with an at-bat. ... Before he received a warm
ovation from the crowd of 35,804 for his first hit, Terrero was
cheered after making a fine running catch in center and doubling up
Kinsler at first base in the fourth.