Orioles rally to snap Angels' win streak at four

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Chris Ray was happy to go an extra inning
to help out a teammate.

Melvin Mora and Javy Lopez each had three hits and Ray worked
two innings for the first time this season to get his 13th save,
leading the Baltimore Orioles over the Los Angeles Angels 7-6

Miguel Tejada had a two-run single and Mora and Lopez both had
RBI doubles as Baltimore salvaged the finale of the three-game

Orioles reliever LaTroy Hawkins came on in the eighth and gave
up first-pitch singles to Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson,
then fell behind 2-0 to Kendry Morales before the rookie singled in
a run to cut the lead to 7-5. But Ray relieved Hawkins and got six
outs to preserve the win.

"It's just another pressure situation that I have to get out
of," Ray said. "Every save is an important one, but you actually
try to work harder when you come in to get one of your teammates
out of a jam. My arm felt fine, but I was getting a little tired
out there because it was the first time I've gone two innings since
last year."

Ray gave up an RBI groundout in the ninth to Adam Kennedy after
Erick Aybar tripled. The Angels loaded the bases, sandwiching two
walks around a bloop single by Orlando Cabrera, but Ray got
Anderson to ground into a game-ending double play with his 30th
pitch after pitching around Guerrero.

"We keep pushing more duties on Chris, but he's responded,"
said manager Sam Perlozzo, who was ejected in the fifth inning.
"Under the circumstances, with Hawk getting hit, a day off coming
up tomorrow and the way the club's been playing, we were into
drastic measures. We needed the win, and it worked out."

Rookie Kurt Birkins (1-0) got his first major league victory,
retiring all four batters he faced in relief of Kris Benson to help
end the Angels' four-game winning streak.

"I can't believe I did it with all my family in the stands,
being only an hour from home," Birkins said. "It'll probably sink
in later on tonight."

Birkins struck out Dallas McPherson and Jose Molina to end the
sixth and got the first two outs in the seventh. The former UCLA
left-hander, who started during most of his minor league career,
has allowed one run in 14 innings over his first eight relief
appearances and has held opposing batters to just three hits in 42

"He's somebody we didn't expect a whole lot out of, but we've
gotten a lot more than we bargained for," Perlozzo said. "He's
certainly a guy who can give you more than one inning when he goes
out there, and that helps our bullpen."

Benson allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings while
working on three days' rest for the first time in 176 career
starts. The right-hander left trailing 4-2, but his teammates got
him off the hook by scoring four runs in the seventh to grab a 6-4

"I wasn't as sharp as I normally am. But endurance-wise and
stamina-wise, I was fine," Benson said.

Kelvim Escobar (5-5) was charged with five runs and eight hits
in 6 1-3 innings, after going 11-2 with a 3.14 ERA in his 16
previous career starts against the Orioles.

Brian Roberts chased Escobar with an RBI single that narrowed
the gap to 4-3. Scot Shields gave up hits to his first three
batters, including an RBI double by Mora and Tejada's two-run
single. Nick Markakis drove in the Orioles' final run with a
groundout in the eighth.

Los Angeles snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth with the help of a
disputed bunt single by Chone Figgins that led to two runs and
Perlozzo's ejection.

The Angels had runners at first and second with none out when
Figgins bunted up the third-base line. Benson and catcher Ramon
Hernandez went after the ball simultaneously, and it was still
touching the foul line when Hernandez tried to swat it away with
his glove. Timmons emphatically pointed to the line, signaling it
was fair, and eliciting a brief but heated argument from Perlozzo.

"The umpires are out there trying to do the best they can, but
in the heat of the game you do what you have to do," Perlozzo
said. "I wasn't sure if I fired the club up or if they were just
glad to get me out of the dugout. I wasn't very far away, though."

The play was critical at the time, because Molina scored on
Orlando Cabrera's fielder's choice grounder and Guerrero followed
with a sacrifice fly.

The Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the third with a couple of bloop
hits. Mora's one-out popup to short center field fell between
Figgins and second baseman Kennedy for a single. Mora advanced on a
groundout and scored when Lopez's short flyball deflected off the
glove of a diving Figgins for an RBI double.

"It was a tough loss," Escobar said. "I thought I threw the
ball pretty well. But when you give up hits like that, I don't
think there is anything you can do. I have up eight hits, and I
don't think they hit the ball hard once."
^Notes:@ Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke had a tough decision to
make regarding who would get the lineup card posted on the dugout
wall Saturday night. Anderson broke the Angels' franchise record
for games played on the same night RHP Jered Weaver pitched seven
scoreless innings in his major league debut. Anderson got the card,
and Roenicke made out an exact duplicate for Weaver.