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Orioles' Guthrie continues seemless transition to rotation

May 30, 2007 - 5:19 AM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The Baltimore Orioles have taken some tough blows to their starting rotation, but has given Jeremy Guthrie a chance to shine.

Guthrie pitched seven strong innings to lead the Orioles to a 6-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.

Ramon Hernandez had a second straight big day at the plate and Kevin Millar homered for Baltimore, which has won four straight games.

"I think everybody is a little more confident now," Hernandez said. "We're trying to do the little things, move the runners, and then take advantage and get a hit when we need to."

"It's one of those things for the whole team when you have enough guys hitting like that," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "Nobody wants to be the odd man out and they keep feeding off each other. Hopefully that continues."

Guthrie, who was moved into the rotation when lefthander Adam Loewen went down with an injury, surrendered two runs and three hits, walking one and striking out three in his fifth start.

"He (Guthrie) keeps us pretty much in every ball game," Perlozzo said. "He, obviously, didn't have command of all of his pitches. They hit a few balls hard and we caught a few balls. He persevered. There were a couple of innings he came in and couldn't get in synch it seemed like. But he went out and pitched and scuffled through it. He was mentally exhausted. It was tough mentally for him to hang in there when you don't have your best stuff."

"He struggled with his slider," Hernandez said. "He couldn't get it down in the strike zone, but he was able to locate his fastball when he needed to. Then, later, he got his slider working. He was definitely getting stronger as he went along."

The 28-year-old righthander has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his starts and has now gone at least seven innings in four straight outings. The only blemishes Tuesday were a solo homer by Mark Teahan in the first and Shane Costa's sacrifice fly in the third.

"Tonight I battled through almost every inning except the seventh and the first," Guthrie said. "I felt strong in the middle part of the game, but had some struggles. I was able to get it back and get through those innings. It was a matter of finding a focus in the zone. I was up and down, all over the place, except where I needed to be. I got my mechanics and focus back where it needed to be."

"Guthrie threw the ball well and had a good fastball," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "But I think it's time we quit giving the other guys credit. Our swings are getting a little long, it seems, in this ballpark. I don't understand that."

After averaging three runs of support in Guthrie's last three outings, Baltimore's hitters pounded starter Jorge De La Rosa. Millar got the Orioles on the board with a solo blast in the second.

"Down 1-0, I got a first pitch fastball and put a good swing on it," Millar said. "We knew he had a great changeup and when you hit against a pitcher with a good out pitch you want to jump on the heater early in the count."

Melvin Mora added a double and Hernandez followed with an RBI single to center to put Baltimore on top 2-1. Aubrey Huff doubled home a run in the following frame to give Guthrie a two-run cushion.

"We've given up how many runs with two outs?" Bell asked. "We're having trouble shutting the other club down with two outs, even when we're ahead 0-1 or 0-2 on the batter. We had some defensive let downs, and that's probably been the best part of our game lately."

Costa's sacrifice fly cut the lead to 3-2, but the Orioles used a big sixth inning to put Kansas City away.

De La Rosa walked Millar leading off the frame and then surrendered another double to Mora before being replaced by lefthander Jimmy Gobble. Hernandez greeted Gobble by plating Millar with a single to left, and Mora followed him home on Costa's throwing error.

"The two-out hitting has gotten much better," Millar said. "Two-out RBI are big. They keep the pressure on the defense and have a snowball effect."

"Little by little, we continue to hit the ball," Mora said. "Everybody cooperates a little by little."

Hernandez, who hit a grand slam in Monday's win, had his second straight multi-RBI game after going 11 games without plating a run.

"Ramon is a really, really good hitter," Perlozzo said. "He's getting there but he's not quite there."

"I'm just trying to get my pitch," Hernandez said. "I'm hitting early in the count and when I get ahead, I can get my pitch. I was fouling my pitch off, but now I'm putting good wood on it."

That closed the book on De La Rosa, who allowed five runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. This is the second straight rough start for the 26-year-old righthander, who yielded nine runs in 4 1/3 innings last Thursday in a loss against Cleveland.

"His command wasn't very good," Bell said of De La Rosa. "His stuff was OK, compared to the previous start, but he didn't have good command."

Baltimore added an unearned run off Gobble later in the sixth when Nick Markakis' fielder's choice scored Hernandez.

Kansas City, which has now lost six straight games, has been outscored 52-13 during their most recent slide.

"We should have better at-bats," Bell said. "We have to hit our way out of it. We're trying to do that. It's at an unfortunate time to do it, when we're not pitching well. Everything seems to fail all at once when you're going though a stretch like this."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BALTIMORE 0 2 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 6 11 0
    KANSAS CITY 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BAL - JEREMY GUTHRIE, CHAD BRADFORD (8TH), CHRIS RAY (9TH) AND RAMON
    HERNANDEZ
    KAN - JORGE DE LA ROSA, JIMMY GOBBLE (6TH), DAVID RISKE
    (7TH), ZACK GREINKE (8TH), O

    May 29 11:12 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY NICK MARKAKIS SCORED RAMON HERNANDEZ.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, N MARKAKIS ON FIRST, B ROBERTS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 6
    KANSAS CITY 2 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: M TEJADA (.322, 1-FOR-3)

    Orioles vs. RoyalsMay 29 10:21 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RAMON HERNANDEZ SCORED KEVIN MILLAR. ERROR BY
    SHANE COSTA ALLOWED MELVIN MORA TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R HERNANDEZ ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 5
    KANSAS CITY 2 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: C PATTERSON (.230, 1-FOR-2)

    Orioles vs. RoyalsMay 29 10:15 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY SHANE COSTA SCORED RYAN SHEALY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 3
    KANSAS CITY 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: M GRUDZIELANEK (.276, 0-FOR-1)

    Orioles vs. RoyalsMay 29 9:22 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY AUBREY HUFF SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A HUFF ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 3
    KANSAS CITY 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: J PAYTON (.304, 0-FOR-1)

    Orioles vs. RoyalsMay 29 9:11 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RAMON HERNANDEZ SCORED MELVIN MORA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R HERNANDEZ ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2
    KANSAS CITY 1 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: C PATTERSON (.226, 1 HR, 16 RBI)

    Orioles vs. RoyalsMay 29 8:53 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY KEVIN MILLAR (6) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF JORGE DE LA ROSA.
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 1, KANSAS CITY 1
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: M MORA (.237, 6 HR, 25 RBI)

    Orioles vs. RoyalsMay 29 8:51 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MARK TEAHEN (5) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    1ST OFF JEREMY GUTHRIE.
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 0, KANSAS CITY 1
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: M SWEENEY (.247, 6 HR, 23 RBI)

    Orioles vs. RoyalsMay 29 8:46 PM