Cabrera shows effective self in blowout
Righty tosses six shutout frames as offense batters Texas
BALTIMORE -- For Daniel Cabrera, 2008 has been a season plagued by Jekyl-and-Hyde syndrome. At times, the 6-foot-9 hurler has shown extreme effectiveness, a scary thought for opposing hitters. And on other nights, Cabrera simply self-destructs on the mound.
Which pitcher would appear on Saturday night wasn't immediately clear -- the right-hander loaded the bases with one out in the first, but he escaped unscathed. From then on, though, it was obvious: This was the shutdown Cabrera, who tossed six scoreless innings in the Orioles' 9-0 victory over the Rangers.
"The difference in the game tonight, the way I saw it, was Cabrera got out of the first inning," manager Dave Trembley said.
Cabrera added: "Every time I get in the game, I try to get out with no runs. Sometimes, you get lucky, and sometimes not."
Cabrera's wild side -- the one that is fourth in the Major Leagues in walks -- reared its ugly head in the sixth inning. With two outs, the right-hander went through a sequence in which he allowed a single to Josh Hamilton, walked Marlon Byrd, threw a wild pitch and walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia. But Cabrera was able to compose himself, coax Chris Davis into a groundout, and get out of the inning with the shutout intact. Between the two jams, Cabrera allowed just one hit, setting down 15 of 16 batters.
"I think I left the game the same way I [came] in," Cabrera said. "I had the bases loaded in the first inning and I had the bases loaded in the sixth inning. It was good to get out of that game with no runs."
Melvin Mora said: "We were telling Daniel, 'You need to trust your infield. You need to trust your outfield. You make your pitches so we can make some plays. And then you're out of the inning.'
"That's what he did. He went after everybody, used the infield and the outfield, and we were able to help him."
With the good Cabrera patrolling the mound, the Orioles' offense continued to batter Rangers pitching, knocking starter Vicente Padilla out of the game after just four innings and matching Friday's nine-run performance. First baseman Kevin Millar drove in Brian Roberts in the first, and that proved to be all the offense they would need to hold off the Rangers' ice-cold bats.
It wasn't, however, all the offense Baltimore would get, as Nick Markakis hit a towering three-run homer to center in the second. Mora then brought Roberts and Juan Castro home in the fourth with a single and Roberts added an RBI to his night in the sixth. Mora provided the Orioles' final runs of the night in the seventh when he took Joaquin Benoit's 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run shot, his 16th home run of the season.
"The kind of offensive production we got from the top of the lineup is going to go a long way for you," Trembley said of his Nos. 1-3 hitters -- Roberts, Markakis and Mora -- who combined for six hits, six runs and eight RBIs.
Mora collected four RBIs and now has four consecutive multi-hit games, part of a seven-game hitting streak. Since the All-Star break, Mora is batting .386 with five homers and 26 RBIs.
The Orioles also got a three-hit night from Castro, but the shortstop left the game after the sixth inning, suffering from a mild groin strain. He was replaced by Alex Cintron.
"This game is a crazy game," Mora said. "They can come in tomorrow and score 10 off the bat; they can have a great game. Our pitchers have been outstanding -- Jeremy Guthrie, and Cabrera today. So far, so good."
Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.