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Maroth good enough to lose 20?

Updated: May 2, 2003, 11:26 AM ET
By By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Normally, when a pitcher allows just four hits, it's enough to bring home a victory. When you pitch for a team that scores a run about every fourth inning, however, you can never be too good. Mike Maroth found that out in the worst way in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Orioles. For the fourth time this year, Maroth pitched well enough to come away with a win. Instead, he finds himself at 0-7 with just one month of the season on the books.

At Comerica Park on Thursday, it appeared that his life was about to improve on a grand scale as he mowed the Orioles down without a hit or walk through seven innings. (He had hit Gary Mathews, Jr. to ruin a perfect game.) In the eighth, however, the wheels came off the trolley. "I felt so good the first seven innings," he told Tom Gage of the Detroit News. "You can't start thinking (about a no-hitter) until it happens. But for everything to be lost, and to take a loss, I don't know what to say. The way I was pitching, a no-hitter with two innings to go, you don't expect it to fall apart."

"Falling apart" is a relative term. He had a rough inning, yes, but had the bullpen done its job it would not have been so traumatic. After losing the no-hitter, Maroth did get two men out in the fateful eighth before being relieved by Matt Anderson with runners on first and second and a one-run lead. Since I am a big proponent of the fireman concept as opposed to the traditional closer role, I applaud the use of Anderson in this situation. Unfortunately, he did not get the job done, walking a man to load the bases and then surrendering an infield single to Mathews to cough up the lead. This being the Tigers, there would be more frustration to follow. They loaded the bases with nobody out in their half of the eighth but came away with just one run thanks to a double play. A twin-killing also ended their ninth inning.

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