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05/31/07 2:14 AM ET
O's score late to beat Royals
Bedard masterful as O's win finishes sweep of Royals
By Alan Eskew / Special to MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Erik Bedard said he could not remember the last time he won a game. "I know it was a long time ago," Bedard said. He was reminded that it was April 18 at Tampa Bay. "That's a long time," Bedard said. It's not because he had been pitching poorly, but quite the contrary. In his first five May starts, he was 0-1 with a 2.12 earned run average, allowing just eight runs and 21 hits in 34 innings. The Orioles, however, scored but 12 runs in those five starts. Bedard is back in the 'W' column after throwing eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory over the Royals on Wednesday night. The Orioles have won five straight in a season for the first time since an eight-game winning streak in April, 2005. "I'm sure the lack of wins has been on his mind a little bit," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "I thought it was a great effort tonight from him. We hung in there and persevered." Bedard said "it's part of the game," to go through a stretch of winless starts. "It happened last year," he said. "It happens every year; you go through a span where you won't win five or six games in a row and then you'll win four or five in a row." The Orioles managed just one hit off Royals starter Gil Meche in the first six innings and neither team scored in the first seven innings. "It's always tough when it zero-zero late in the game," Bedard said. Ramon Hernandez led off the eighth with a walk and Freddie Bynum ran for him. Manager Sam Perlozzo ordered Corey Patterson to put down a sacrifice bunt and the speedy Patterson beat it out. "I had to sacrifice and everybody in the whole park knew I was doing it," Patterson said. "I got the sign. I just really concentrated on getting it down. I had a pretty good touch on it and since I run pretty good, [I] was able to beat it out. We have a lot better chance there with runners on first and second with no outs than a runner at second with one out, so I was glad to contribute to that." Brian Roberts' sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third. With the infield in Jay Payton wormed a single to left to score Bynum to break the scoreless deadlock. "I think he [Payton] likes the stage a little bit," Perlozzo said. "He likes being the guy. That's good. I hope that rubs off on everyone." Said Payton, "I was fortunate to get the ball through the infield and help us win a ball game. I think it was a slider and down. It probably wasn't even a strike. I was looking to stay back and hit the ball up the middle and got in front of it a little bit and found a hole." Bedard held the Royals to four singles, walked two and struck out five, throwing 112 pitches before departing after eight innings, which matches his career high. "Bedard has been phenomenal," Payton said. "It's nice to get him a win. He's been pitching great for us and we haven't been able to push a lot of runs across for him. When you're the ace of the staff, a lot of times you run against the other's team ace and run into some hard luck." In sweeping the three games at Kauffman Stadium, the Orioles' trio of Steve Trachsel, Jeremy Guthrie and Bedard limited the Royals to 12 hits and three runs in 24 innings. Nick Markakis, who was inserted as a defensive replacement in the eighth, hit a two-run homer in the ninth off reliever Zack Greinke for the final runs. Bedard pitched out of a jam in the third when John Buck and Tony Pena Jr. singled, putting runners on the corners with one out. Bedard struck out Esteban German and retired David DeJesus on a soft liner to Roberts to strand the runners. "To get out of trouble early is really the key in pitching," Bedard said. "I made some good pitches at the right time and I got them out." Chris Ray worked a flawless ninth, striking out one, to log his 12th save in 14 opportunities. Rain delayed the start of the game for 96 minutes, but not the inevitable: the Orioles improving to 6-0 against the Royals this season.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.