Bedard K's career-high 12 in victory

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles were on the verge of
being swept by the Toronto Blue Jays when Sammy Sosa stepped to the
plate with two runners on base in the eighth inning.

The slugger has won many a game with a home run, and the mighty
swing he took early in the count indicated he was looking to do it

After working the count full against Toronto ace Roy Halladay,
Sosa hit a sharp grounder inside the third-base line. The two-run
double ended Baltimore's drought of 22 scoreless innings and
carried the Orioles to a 5-1 victory Wednesday.

It was Sosa's biggest hit since joining the club in a trade with
the Chicago Cubs in February, and he savored it every bit as much
as a home run.

"All my life, I've been in a good position to hit a lot of home
runs. And every time I go to the plate everybody expects one from
me," Sosa said. "Sometimes it's going to happen, but other times
you don't win some games only hitting home runs. Sometimes you go
up there and get a double or a base hit or something. Today I just
battled; I win this one."

And the Orioles got an uplifting victory. Baltimore wasted a
fine pitching performance by Daniel Cabrera in a 1-0 loss Tuesday
night, and nearly got nothing out of an excellent effort by Erik
Bedard before Sosa came through.

Bedard (3-1) struck out a career-high 12 and allowed one run and
four hits in eight innings, but he left with Toronto ahead 1-0.

"Bedard was throwing amazing, and losing a game by one run
again would have been hard for us," said Javy Lopez, who added a
three-run homer after Sosa's hit. "The key of the game was Sammy
Sosa hitting that double."

Brian Roberts led off the inning with a single, the fifth time
that Baltimore got the leadoff hitter aboard. After Melvin Mora
flied out, Roberts took second on a single by Miguel Tejada.

Sosa then pulled a grounder past third baseman Corey Koskie into
the left-field corner. Tejada ran through the stop sign of
third-base coach Tom Trebelhorn and scored with a headfirst slide
to give Baltimore its first lead of the series.

"I was thinking, it's only one out. I've got to try," Tejada

After the game, Tejada apologized to Trebelhorn, who replied,
"Don't worry about it. It's the result that counts."

Sosa reached third on the play, and after Halladay issued an
intentional walk to Rafael Palmeiro, Lopez homered into the
left-field seats.

Halladay (4-2) gave up five runs and 12 hits in 7 1-3 innings.
Both his losses this season have come against the Orioles.

"I wasn't tired. It's a tough situation, two guys on," he
said. "It's just baseball, you get a ground ball a couple inches
one way foul, hopefully the other way you get an out. Those two
runs scored, they grabbed the momentum and I made a bad pitch to

Tejada had three hits for Baltimore, which avoided its first
three-game losing streak of the season. The Orioles stretched their
lead in the AL East to three games over Toronto, which came in
having won seven of eight.

Before the game, Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli pulled Sosa aside
and told him to have fun.

"I don't know if he was trying too hard or not, but it was a
big hit for him," Mazzilli said. "Good timing."

Said Sosa: "I'm a competitive person. I like to be there in a
situation like that. Sometimes you try to do too much that
sometimes you come up empty. You've got to keep fighting."

Bedard gave up only two hits over the first seven innings, but
lost his shutout in the eighth. After Eric Hinske doubled to left,
Ken Huckaby sacrificed and John McDonald grounded a hit through the
drawn-in infield.

That ended Bedard's run of 22 consecutive scoreless innings, but
he capped his outstanding effort with two straight strikeouts.

Bedard gave up a leadoff single to Reed Johnson in the first
inning and did not allow another hit until Vernon Wells opened the
seventh with a single.

Halladay was nearly as effective. He did not allow a runner to
reach second base until the sixth inning.

Game notes
Longtime Orioles bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks returned to
the team for the first time since his mild stroke on April 14. He
will resume his duties on Friday. ... Toronto is 4-0-2 in road
series. ... Palmeiro's second-inning single tied Frank Robinson for
28th place on the career hit list with 2,942.