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Johnson pitches six innings of one-hit ball

4/24/2003

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Jason Johnson essentially had one effective
pitch, still was good enough to beat Bartolo Colon and the Chicago
White Sox.

Johnson pitched six innings of one-hit ball and Jeff Conine hit
a three-run homer as the Orioles cruised to a 7-1 victory Wednesday
night.

Johnson, who came in with a career 8.10 ERA against the White
Sox, gave up one run, walked four and struck out two in winning his
third straight start. The lone hit against the right-hander was a
leadoff single by Paul Konerko in the fifth.

"That was probably the worst I felt all year. To come out with
a 7-1 win was great," Johnson said. "My sinker is what bailed me
out. When I got a guy on first base, I'd throw the sinker and get
them to ground out. That helped me out a lot, because the curveball
wasn't there, either."

Johnson (3-0) was lifted in the seventh after walking leadoff
hitter Magglio Ordonez and going to a 2-0 on Konerko. Kerry
Ligtenberg then gave up two hits over two innings and Willis
Roberts worked the ninth to finish the three-hitter.

Johnson, who threw 103 pitches, had never allowed fewer than two
hits in any of his 104 previous career starts.

"He did a great job. He didn't have his good stuff and figured
out a way to get them out anyway," said Sam Perlozzo, who improved
to 3-1 as the Orioles' interim manager while Mike Hargrove tends to
his ailing mother in Texas.

Jay Gibbons hit his second homer in two nights, B.J. Surhoff had
three hits and two RBIs and Melvin Mora had a double and a
career-high three walks for the Orioles, who have won six of eight.

Ordonez went 0-for-2 with two walks to end his career-high
18-game hitting streak.

Colon (2-1) allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings. It
was his first loss with Chicago, which obtained the right-hander in
a January trade with the Montreal Expos. It also was his first loss
in six starts against the Orioles since September 1999.

"I can say he wasn't as sharp," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel
said. "I didn't think three runs would be insurmountable, but with
the way it turned out tonight, that's the first inning."

Conine staked the Orioles to a 3-0 lead in the first, driving a
3-2 pitch into the left-field seats after Mora drew a leadoff walk
and Surhoff hit a one-out single.

That was enough offense for Johnson, who felt uncomfortable
before he even walked to the mound.

"I felt like I no control, I felt like I had nothing,'' he
said. "I knew it was going to be one of those days as soon as I
started warming up."

The White Sox got a run in the second when Ordonez walked, stole
second, took third on a grounder and scored on a groundout by
Carlos Lee.

After Konerko singled in the fifth, Joe Crede hit a drive into
the left-field seats that third base umpire Eric Cooper ruled foul
-- a call that drew an argument from Manuel.

Although the ball seemed to soar inside the foul pole, the
umpires let the decision stand after holding a conference near the
mound.

"It was the turning point of the ball game," said Manuel, who
viewed several replays of the drive afterward.

Baltimore made it 4-1 in the bottom half. Mora hit a leadoff
double, took third on a grounder and scored after tagging up on
Surhoff's check-swing foul pop to third that Crede caught on the
run with his back to the plate.

Gibbons opened the sixth with his fourth home run. Gary Matthews
Jr. doubled in a run and Surhoff hit an RBI single off Tom Gordon
in the seventh for a 7-1 lead.

Game notes
The Orioles put OF Marty Cordova on the 15-day DL and
recalled Jose Leon, who started at 3b. Cordova will undergo surgery
to have bone chips removed from his right elbow and is expected to
miss 6-8 weeks. ... The White Sox sent C Josh Paul outright to
Triple-A Charlotte and called up LHP David Sanders, who made his
major league debut by pitching a scoreless eighth. ... Mora started
at 2b in place of Jerry Hairston, who is expected to miss at least
two more games with a sprained left ankle.

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