Orioles recover from blowing three-run lead

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Here's how the Baltimore Orioles' season is
going: Even when they do something terribly wrong, they're able to
turn it into the right play at the right time.

Rafael Palmeiro's tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth helped
the Orioles come back after they wasted a three-run lead, and
Miguel Tejada and B.J. Surhoff homered in a 4-3 victory over the
Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

After the Pirates tied it at 3 on Matt Lawton's homer in the
seventh, Melvin Mora doubled to start the eighth against Salomon
Torres (2-2) for his third hit of the game and Tejada was
intentionally walked.

Mike Gonzalez replaced Torres, but the left-hander's pitch in
the dirt to Palmeiro deflected to the left of catcher Humberto
Cota. Tejada, who was halfway to second, appeared to be picked off
when Mora didn't move off second, but Cota threw wildly for an
error and Mora then moved to third. He scored on Palmeiro's
sacrifice fly.

"They put us in position to get out of the inning," Pirates
manager Lloyd McClendon said. "They were giving us an out, but we
just didn't execute. It was the right play [to throw to first] -- he
just didn't make the throw."

To Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli, Tejada gambled by coming off
the bag as far as he did.

"It's a tough read right there [where the ball is going] so
you're better off staying where you're at," Mazzilli said. "When
you get that break, you also need to capitalize on it and Raffy
[Palmeiro] did that."

Because of the mistake, Mazzilli felt fortunate to win in an
unfamiliar ballpark and against a previously unseen opponent. It
was the Orioles' first game in PNC Park and first in Pittsburgh
since the 1979 World Series.

"It's very important to get the first one in any series,
espcially in a National League park because we're losing our DH,
we're losing another hitter," Mazzilli said.

Tejada hit a two-run shot in the first off Josh Fogg as the
Orioles got off to a fast start -- something they only wish they
could have done in Game 5 of the 1979 World Series.

After scoring 17 runs in consecutive victories in Pittsburgh to
take a 3-1 series lead, the Orioles scored only two more runs in
losing the final three games and the World Series. The Pirates' 7-1
win in Game 5 remains the last World Series game they won in

These Orioles don't have much trouble scoring runs -- they are
second in the AL with 80 homers -- and they took leads of 2-0 and
3-0 in a familiar way, with what '79 Orioles manager Earl Weaver
called "Dr. Longball."

Tejada hit his 16th in the first inning and Surhoff added his
fourth in the fourth, the 11th homer allowed by Fogg in 11 starts.
Fogg left after allowing eight hits and three runs, all on homers,
in 5 1/3 innings.

In a matchup of one of baseball's best road teams and worst home
teams -- the Orioles are 18-8 on the road, the Pirates are 12-16 at
home -- Pittsburgh came back to tie it. The Pirates were coming off
five victories in seven games against the Marlins and Braves.

Rob Mackowiak singled and Cota doubled to start the fifth
against Sidney Ponson before Jack Wilson hit a sacrifice fly and
Tike Redman added a two-out, opposite-field single to left field.

After that, Jorge Julio (2-1) retired all four batters he faced
for the victory before B.J. Ryan struck out the side in the ninth
for his 15th save in 17 opportunities.

"Right now, we're in a position to win every game," said the
Pirates' Jason Bay, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. "What's
good is we're right there. What's bad is we're not always getting
the hits to put us over the top."

Lawton was 2-for-2 with two walks and has reached base 12 times
in three games, going 8-for-9 with four walks and two homers.
Lawton was the second left-handed hitter this season to homer off
Kline, who didn't allow a homer to a left-handed batter last

"At that point, I really wanted to go nuts," Kline said.
"I've just been inconsistent all year. The only thing he's trying
to do is hit a home run, just throw the ball down and away. I leave
it up and, bang."

Game notes
Ponson gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings. He
didn't allow a homer for his second consecutive start after giving
up four homers in his previous two starts.... Baltimore has not
lost in its last eight road series. ... The Pirates are 10-27 in
interleague play since 2002 and 2-11 the last two seasons. ... The
Orioles were 2-4 in World Series games in Pittsburgh in 1971 (0-3)
and 1979 (2-1). ... Orioles 2B Brian Roberts (strained right
rotator cuff) likely will return Tuesday or Wednesday after being
out since May 31. ... The Pirates had won five of seven. Baltimore
won its third in a row.