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Two-run single ends 0-for-15 streak

4/28/2004

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Jay Gibbons didn't have to do much more than
put the ball in play when he stepped to the plate in the eighth
inning with the bases loaded, no outs and the score tied.

In that situation, the batter is at a distinct advantage.

"Usually, except when you haven't had a hit in a week,"
Gibbons joked afterward.

Gibbons delivered, hitting a two-run single to snap an 0-for-15
skid and lift the Baltimore Orioles past the Seattle Mariners 3-1
on Wednesday night.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Orioles,
who were limited to one hit after the first inning until taking the
lead in the eighth against Shigetoshi Hasegawa (1-3), who entered
in relief of starter Jamie Moyer.

Miguel Tejada led off with a double to left. Hasegawa then
issued an intentional walk to Rafael Palmeiro and loaded the bases
by walking Javy Lopez on a full count.

That brought up Gibbons, who was batting .206 after going
hitless since Friday.

"I was just trying to hit something hard, because it's been a
while since I did that," he said.

After swinging at a pitch in the dirt, Gibbons lined a single up
the middle, scoring Tejada and Palmeiro. Lopez was thrown out at
third, but the damage was done.

"It's been a struggle. Luckily, he just left one out over the
plate," Gibbons said. "I was just trying to put it in play, and
fortunately it found a hole."

Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli never lost faith in Gibbons, who
hit .277 with 100 RBI last year.

"I definitely felt confident when he was up there," Mazzilli
said. "This kid didn't knock in 100 runs by mistake."

The Orioles were stymied by Moyer but feasted on Hasegawa, whose
ERA climbed to 7.20.

"I thought I made a good pitch on all the pitches. They hit,
they hit," Hasegawa said. "Sometimes it happens like this."

Seattle manager Bob Melvin considered using a left-hander
against the left-handed hitting Gibbons, but opted to stay with
Hasegawa.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, the strategy backfired.

"We only had really one right-hander available out of the
bullpen today and he just didn't have it," Melvin said. "If we
had another right-hander, we probably would have gone to a lefty
with Gibbons. But Shiggy has been known to get guys from both sides
out."

It was the sixth loss in seven games for the Mariners, who
managed only four hits -- none after the fourth inning.

"We had nine left on base, seven or eight in the first five
innings," Melvin said. "We had our chances, but we didn't come up
with the big hit."

John Parrish (2-1) pitched three innings of hitless relief for
the Orioles, and Jorge Julio worked a perfect ninth for his third
save.

Moyer, who came in 14-2 lifetime against Baltimore, allowed one
run on four hits over seven innings. He walked four, struck out
three, and lowered his ERA from 6.26 to 5.10.

"He threw some cutters on both sides of the plate, some
fastballs early on," Melvin said. "He gets a pretty good read on
batters and what they're trying to do."

The Orioles got a run in the first when Brian Roberts hit a
leadoff double, stole third and scored when Tejada hit into a
double play.

Seattle tied it against Kurt Ainsworth in the fourth. After two
walks and an infield hit loaded the bases with two outs, Randy Winn
hit a bouncer up the middle that a diving Tejada speared at
shortstop. But he was unable to make a throw, allowing Raul Ibanez
to score his team-high 14th run.

Ainsworth was pulled after throwing 91 pitches -- only 50 in the
strike zone -- over five innings. He allowed one run on four hits
and issued four walks.

"He could have went out for another inning, but his shoulder
was sore after his last start and I didn't want to push it,"
Mazzilli said.

Parrish walked the first batter he faced before getting nine
straight outs.

Game notes
Gibbons was hit by a pitch in the first inning, the fourth
time in two games that Seattle pitchers hit an Orioles batter.
Ainsworth subsequently hit John Olerud with a pitch in the second
inning. ... Seattle 3B Scott Spiezio has reached base in all 11
games since being activated from the disabled list April 17. ...
Baltimore's 11-8 start is its best since 2000.