Lopez wins for first time in eight starts

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Playing without two injured starters, the
Baltimore Orioles were eager to prove they still had enough punch
to tighten their hold on first place in the AL East.

Rafael Palmeiro provided the necessary offense, and right-hander
Rodrigo Lopez made sure it was enough to beat the Seattle Mariners.

Lopez pitched eight innings of five-hit ball to end a run of
seven starts without a win, and Palmeiro homered off Orioles
nemesis Jamie Moyer in a 3-1 victory Wednesday night.

Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts, who started the day as
the AL's batting leader, missed his first game of the year with a
bruised knee. The Orioles were also without catcher Javy Lopez, who
was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone in his
right hand.

"These guys know what's going on. They know what's happened,
and what has to be done," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said.
"There's nothing more to be said."

Palmeiro's two-run homer capped a three-run first inning that
carried the Orioles to their seventh straight home victory over the
Mariners. The win, accomplished in a mere 1 hour, 55 minutes,
enabled Baltimore to open a four-game lead over second-place
Boston, which lost 6-1 in Toronto on Wednesday.

"Everybody had to step up," Palmeiro said. "Rodrigo pitched a
great game. That's why we won."

Lopez (3-2) allowed one run, struck out two and walked none. He
was 0-2 since winning his first two starts of the season and was
coming off three appearances in which he surrendered a total of 17

"This time I felt more relaxed, more calm on the mound," Lopez
said. "Sometimes I just get too emotional. That was the

B.J. Ryan worked a perfect the ninth for his 14th save and
second in two nights.

Lopez outpitched Moyer (4-2), who struggled in the first inning
before blanking the Orioles the rest of the way. The left-hander
yielded only five hits in eight innings but fell to 15-3 against
his former team.

"Once out of the first inning, he threw the ball extremely
well," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "The hits he gave up
in the first were a broken bat and a jam shot down the line for a
double, then Raffy hit the ball."

With one out in the first, Melvin Mora singled, took third on a
double by Miguel Tejada and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sammy Sosa
before Palmeiro hit a 3-2 pitch off the foul pole in right, his
556th career homer.

"It was down and it had too much of the plate," Moyer said.
"I haven't seen the replay, but it probably was a pitch he had no
business swinging at."

After Jay Gibbons drew a one-out walk in the second inning,
Moyer retired 17 straight batters before Gibbons singled with one
out in the eighth.

"I felt like I did everything I set out to do," said Moyer,
who was vying to pass Randy Johnson on the Mariners' career win
list. Both have 130 with Seattle.

Moyer did his part, but Lopez was too tough. The Mariners
managed only one runner until the fifth, when Raul Ibanez hit a
leadoff double and scored on a single by rookie Jeremy Reed.

"I think Rodrigo got one pitch up all night, that one to
Reed," Mazzilli said.

Randy Winn and Adrian Beltre hit two-out singles in the sixth
for Seattle before Lopez retired Richie Sexson on a grounder.

"You're going along thinking you're going to get to Rodrigo,
and you look up and it's the eighth inning," Hargrove said. "Both
pitchers threw the ball well, they threw strikes and plays were
made, so it was a quick game."

Game notes
Palmeiro's homer was his 210th with Baltimore, moving him
past Brady Anderson into sole possession of fifth place on the
team's career list. ... Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-4, only
the ninth time in 45 games he was held hitless. ... The Orioles
signed C Sal Fasano to replace Lopez on the roster. Fasano
re-signed with Baltimore after being designated for assignment just
24 hours earlier.