Busy day ends with big win
Lopez, Sosa deliver as Perlozzo debuts, slide ends
ANAHEIM -- Sam Perlozzo won his first game as the Orioles' manager Thursday, but most of the credit was due to a couple of veterans hoping to rebound from disappointing performances.Rodrigo Lopez was rocked for eight runs in his last start, but he came back on three days' rest to allow only two hits in five innings, picking up his 10th win. And Sammy Sosa broke out of a 4-for-20 stretch by clubbing a two-run homer. Their clutch contributions helped the Orioles snap their eight-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Angels. "A big home run," said Perlozzo, who took over in the morning after Lee Mazzilli was let go. "I guess I should go thank him, shouldn't I?"
The interim skipper, did his part, too. The former bench coach under Mazzilli shuffled through four pitchers, none of whom allowed a run in four innings of relief.Everything started, though, with Lopez (10-6). The right-hander didn't allow a hit in four of his five innings of work, putting the clamps on an Angels offense that had scored 32 runs in its last four games. Even before that, Perlozzo helped a Baltimore clubhouse still shocked by the dismissal of Mazzilli to get focused on its impending matinee with the Halos. "Rodrigo came in and jazzed up everybody, [saying] 'Let's go, let's go win this game,' " third baseman Melvin Mora said. "He gave the team a lot of energy." And it was the ultimate energy player, left fielder Eric Byrnes, who gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the third. B.J. Surhoff singled and Jay Gibbons reached on a two-base fielding error by Gold Glove first baseman Darin Erstad, but by the time Byrnes got to the plate, there were two outs and yet another Orioles rally seemed ready to wither on the vine. Byrnes lifted a high pop to left field, where Garret Anderson couldn't pick up the ball on a bright Southern California afternoon. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera wasn't able to make an over-the-shoulder grab, and before Anderson could throw the ball in, Byrnes -- running all the way -- slid into third base with a two-run triple. "In that situation, you just have to scrap and make something happen," he said. "I knew, because I was playing left field, how bad the sun was." An inning later, after Javy Lopez was hit by a pitch, Sosa drove a 2-0 pitch from Angels rookie Ervin Santana (6-5) into the left-field bullpen for a two-run homer and a 4-0 lead. It was Sosa's 588th career home run, his 14th of the season. The Angels would score in their half of the fourth when Erstad tripled off the wall in right-center and scored on Vladimir Guerrero's single, but the Halos wouldn't push another man across home plate, stranding 11. "To be honest, I didn't feel like I had my best stuff today, but I battled," Lopez said. "I'll take this any time." After Lopez departed, having thrown 94 pitches on an 81-degree day, Todd Williams and Tim Byrdak combined to hold the Angels hitless in the sixth and seventh. Byrdak and Jorge Julio ran into a little trouble in the eighth as the Angels loaded the bases with two outs, but Perlozzo brought in closer B.J. Ryan, who struck out pinch-hitter Jose Molina to end the eighth and closed out the ninth to earn his first save since July 26. "When we got to those certain spots in the lineup, I pretty much knew what I wanted to do," Perlozzo said. "I was comfortable with all the moves that we made and it was basically up to them, and they did a good job." Perlozzo said his first win was an especially meaningful one, given how long it had been since the Orioles' last victory. "I'm tickled, I really am, but the team needed a win more than I needed a win," he said. "I'm happy for them, and hopefully this will get us to relax a little bit and play some better baseball."
Mark Thoma is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.