Lawrence, Padres stymie Orioles

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Rodrigo Lopez desperately wanted to show his
former team how good a pitcher he's become.

Lopez accomplished his objective, allowing only five hits in his
first complete game in the majors. Unfortunately for the Baltimore
Orioles' right-hander, he was shown up by Brian Lawrence.

Lawrence pitched eight innings of five-hit ball, and Ray Lankford drove in two runs as the San Diego Padres beat the Orioles 2-0 Wednesday to avert a three-game sweep.

Lawrence (7-3) became the fourth pitcher this season and 36th in
baseball history to strike out the side on nine pitches, retiring
Brook Fordyce, Jerry Hairston and Melvin Mora in the third inning.
Only one of the pitches was a called strike.

''I didn't even know I did it,'' Lawrence said. ''It's just one
of those things where you go after the hitters and don't even
realize how many pitches you've thrown.''

The right-hander finished with seven strikeouts and one walk. He
has gone at least six innings in each of his last six starts and
had won his last three decisions.

''He shut us down,'' Fordyce said. ''He kept the ball down, and
his slider was very sharp. Rodrigo pitched a heck of a game, too.
When you pitch a game like that, you hate to waste them.''

Lopez (6-2), who broke into the majors with the Padres in 2000,
struck out five and walked three in his 16th career start.

''I really wanted to beat them, and kind of show them what I've
been doing,'' said Lopez, who left the Padres in November to sign
as a minor league free agent with Baltimore. ''Too bad I didn't get
the win, but it feels good to pitch a good game.''

Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 16th save, finishing
the combined six-hitter. He has converted 23 straight save chances,
the longest current run in the majors.

With runners on first and second and two outs, Hoffman struck
out Marty Cordova on three pitches. Cordova went 0-for-4, striking
out three times and hitting into a double play.

The Orioles, who scored 14 runs in the first two games of the
series, failed to get a runner to third in the finale.

''Just to get out of here with a win is great,'' Padres manager
Bruce Bochy said. ''It wasn't easy; both pitchers pitched a great
game, both were outstanding. Our guy was on today. He didn't throw
many pitches over the middle of the plate. He's been our most
consistent guy.''

Bochy was also impressed by the performance of Lopez, who
lowered his ERA to 2.45.

''He didn't give us many pitches to hit and got some quick
outs,'' Bochy said. ''I can see why his record is what it is,
pitching like that. He's tough on everybody.''

The Padres scored all their runs in the third. Ramon Vazquez
strained his left hamstring running out an infield hit and was
replaced by Julius Matos, who took third on a one-out double by
Mark Kotsay. Lopez then struck out D'Angelo Jimenez and issued an
intentional walk to Ryan Klesko before Lankford lined a two-run
single to right-center.

That proved to be enough offense to give San Diego only its
third win in 13 games.

''It was a great pitcher's duel,'' Lankford said. ''Lawrence
went out and didn't make any mistakes, and they made one.''

That was enough to ruin an otherwise outstanding performance by

''I'm really happy about pitching my first complete game. Too
bad we got the loss,'' Lopez said. ''I made a mistake in one
inning, but they see how I'm doing now.''

Game notes
San Diego 1B Kevin Barker, making his major league debut,
went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. ... Baltimore went 3-3 on the
homestand that began with three games against Los Angeles. ... The
Padres haven't won consecutive games since May 26-27. ... NASCAR
driver Matt Kenseth threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Mora
was ejected after striking out in the sixth.