WP: Eric DuBose (1-0)
LP: Dan Haren (10-9)
S: Todd Williams (1)
BAL: 60-60 (4th in AL East, 10 behind Boston)
At the last minute before Wednesday afternoon's game, Daniel Cabrera was scratched with lower back pain and replaced by recent call-up Eric DuBose, who was sitting on a 27.00 ERA after giving up five runs in 1.2 innings against Toronto on August 12. But DuBose proceeded to pitch six innings of one-hit ball and leave with a 5-0 lead and his ERA down to 5.87.
With the win, the O's swept the Athletics and are back to .500 at 60-60.
The O's got RBIs from Jay Gibbons and Sal Fasano and scored runs on double-play grounders by David Newhan and Eric Byrnes to take a 4-0 lead through five innings.
Luis Matos, who went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .300, hit a solo homer in the seventh inning to make it 5-0 Birds, but Jason Grimsley came on in the bottom half and nearly gave it all away. After giving up a double, a homer, a single and a walk without getting anyone out, Grimsley was replaced by the struggling Steve Kline. Kline got Kendall to foul out on a fantThen Kline got Mark Kotsay to ground out, scoring a run and making it 5-3. He then got Mark Kotsay to ground out (which scored an inherited runner) and Bobby Crosby to hit a slow tapper that was fielded by Sal Fasano to end the inning. Kline then pitched a scoreless eighth, and Todd Williams came on in the ninth for his first career save.
Along with Cabrera, Rafael Palmeiro also missed the game with an injured ankle, saying that he couldn't put wait on it in his last at-bat in Tuesday's game. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day.
The Orioles now have an off day before heading to Cleveland to start a three game series with the Indians. The series opener will be at 7:05 p.m., pitting Erik Bedard (6-4, 3.06 ERA, throws left) against Scott Elarton (7-6, 4.58 ERA, throws right).
It feels good to be back at .500, and better to sweep a team that is in the Wild Card lead.
Eric DuBose had a truly gutsy performance after struggling in the relief role, but that is not so hugely surprising. DuBose has been a starter in both the minors and the majors, and it is difficult for pitchers to switch to relief. Also, he had some good starts for the O's a couple years ago.
With John Maine and Eric DuBose both showing some promise (and at least showing that they should be better than Sidney Ponson), it will be interesting to see if Sam Perlozzo decides that Ponson's tenure in the rotation has run its course.
Now the O's face Cleveland, who is in second place in the AL Central and third in the Wild Card standings with a record of 64-56. Cleveland's most dangerous weapon for the remainder of their season may be their schedule, as they get Detroit, Kansas City and Tampa Bay for almost half of their remaining games.
For the Orioles to have any chance at the playoffs (which almost seems ridiculous to be talking about again), they would likely need to win every series from here out, or at least counter any lost series with sweeps (while never getting swept, themselves).
That means that EVERY series from here out is huge for the Orioles. With a month and a half left in the season, it's hard to see the Orioles playing such consistent baseball that they can claw their way back into the race.
I hope they prove me wrong.