ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Rick Bauer came out of the bullpen
and threw strikes. The Baltimore offense did the rest.
Bauer allowed one hit over five scoreless innings, and Melvin
Mora and Larry Bigbie each homered and drove in three runs, leading
the Orioles over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 11-3 Saturday night."It was tremendous," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said of
Bauer's performance. "To come in the middle of the game like that
down a run, he keeps us in the game all the way. It's a tough spot
to be in that role. He showed me something tonight."Bauer (1-0) entered in the fourth with the Orioles trailing 3-2.
The only hit he allowed was a broken-bat single by Toby Hall in the
sixth."I had everything down and I was able to throw a lot of
strikes," said Bauer, who had four strikeouts. "Although we
scored a lot of runs, it didn't seem like I was sitting except for
one inning. It seemed like I was out there all the time and I just
caught a good groove."Javy Lopez, who is hitting .609, and Mora had four hits apiece.
Mora hit a two-run homer in the fifth and an RBI single during a
four-run sixth. Bigbie had a two-run single in the sixth and an
eighth-inning solo homer.Rafael Palmeiro and Lopez each had two RBI for the Orioles."Tonight we proved that we've got a tremendous offense," Lopez
said.Tampa Bay's Eduardo Perez hit a two-run homer.Orioles starter Erik Bedard allowed three runs, six hits, four
walks and struck out three in three-plus innings. He threw 91
pitches, including 54 strikes, in his first major league appearance
in two years.Bedard spent the entire 2003 season on the disabled list after
undergoing elbow surgery. He entered with just two-thirds of an
inning of major league experience, making two relief appearances
for the Orioles in April 2002."It didn't seem like he had any tempo in the beginning,"
Mazzilli said.Bedard was recalled from Triple-A Ottawa on Friday night. Bauer
was aware of the possibility that he could have been sent to the
minors as the corresponding move.Instead, the Orioles designated outfielder Jack Cust for
assignment."I wasn't sweating it, but it was in the back of my head,"
Bauer said.Jeremi Gonzalez (0-2) gave up six runs and nine hits in
five-plus innings.Gonzalez made his first start since allowing five runs and four
hits over 4 2-3 innings in the Devil Rays' 12-1 loss to the New
York Yankees on March 31 in Tokyo. He pitched in a minor league
spring training game April 4 and has been working in the bullpen on
mechanics with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez."I've got confidence in him," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella
said. "We're going to let him keep working. He'll come out of
it."Palmeiro put the Orioles ahead 1-0 with a run-scoring double in
the first. He tied it at 2 with a third-inning RBI grounder.Tampa Bay went up 2-1 in the bottom of the first on Perez's
two-run homer.Jason Romano gave the Devil Rays a 3-2 lead on an RBI single in
the third. The left fielder threw out Miguel Tejada, who tried to
score from second, at the plate on Lopez's single in the top of the
inning.Mora hit a two-run homer in the fifth to put the Orioles ahead
4-3.Bigbie drove in two with a bases-loaded single off reliever John
Halama during the fourth-run sixth that made it 8-3. Mora had a
run-scoring single.Bigbie hit a solo homer and Lopez had a two-run double in the
eighth."It wasn't a good night," Piniella said.
Orioles CF Luis Matos was hit in the helmet by Gonzalez's
pitch in the second. He stayed in the game. ... Tejada played in
his 600th consecutive game. ... Palmeiro moved past Tony Gwynn into
17th place on the career list with 544 doubles. ... Bedard made six
minor league rehabilitation starts last season, totaling 19 1-3
innings. He pitched 17 2-3 innings in spring training, going 2-0 in
five starts. ... Devil Rays CF Rocco Baldelli went 0-for-4. He has
three hits in 25 at-bats overall.