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Athletics use unheralded Saarloos to shut down Orioles

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- Pressed into service on short notice, Kirk Saarloos dominated the Baltimore Orioles' ' potent lineup with surprising ease.

Saarloos pitched six innings of one-hit ball, and rookie Nick Swisher hit two of the Oakland Athletics' four home runs in a 9-0 victory Wednesday night.

The lone hit against Saarloos was a clean third-inning single to right by Brian Roberts. The right-hander struck out two, walked one, hit two batters and permitted only one runner past second base.

It was an impressive performance against a batting order that included two players with 500 home runs (Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro), the AL's reigning RBI leader (Miguel Tejada) and a Silver Slugger who hit .340 last year (Melvin Mora).

"When you shut this team down, you must be throwing the ball well," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "You would think with this lineup ... But the kid pitched a good game."

Saarloos (1-0) was throwing in place of right-hander Rich Harden, who was scratched with a blister on his right middle finger.

"They told me after Saturday's (exhibition) game against the Giants, 'You made the team. We don't know when you're going throw. It might be Wednesday because of Rich's finger, or it might be Sunday,"' Saarloos said.

Unfortunately for the Orioles, it was Wednesday.

"It's a great way to start the season," Saarloos said. "I felt like I could've located my fastball a little bit better, but I can't complain."

Not even about missing the chance to throw a no-hitter.

"I came out of the ballgame, and I finally glanced up at the scoreboard and I only saw one hit. It felt like there were a lot more because I hit two guys and walked another," he said. "There were definitely some scoring opportunities for them, so I didn't really look at it and wish I didn't give it up."

Eric Chavez and Keith Ginter homered for the Athletics, who effectively bounced back from a 4-0 loss to Baltimore on opening day. Swisher had three hits and drove in three runs in his first career multihomer game.

Afterward, however, he preferred to talk about Saarloos.

"Hats off to him, but he's been doing that for years now," Swisher said. "I played with him last year in (Triple-A) Sacramento and then he got to the big leagues and then he ran into some injuries. You definitely see what he can do when he's healthy."

Saarloos was followed by Ricardo Rincon, who yielded one hit in seventh before giving way to 21-year-old Huston Street, who allowed one hit and a walk in his major league debut. Street ended his one-inning stint by striking out Sosa with two on and two outs.

"It was fun, it really was," Street said. "You come off the mound and it kind of sets in. People are giving you high-fives and you realize that you were just out there playing against big leaguers. It's pretty exciting."

Street was selected as a compensation pick following the first round of last June's draft, a selection the A's received for losing free agent shortstop Miguel Tejada to Baltimore after the 2003 season.

Sosa went 0-for-4, and the Orioles managed only three hits in their bid to start 2-0 for the first time since 1997.

The Athletics got all the offense they needed in a five-run second inning against Daniel Cabrera (0-1), who went 12-8 as a rookie last season.

"Just a bad game," Cabrera said.

"It seemed like he was out of sync," Mazzilli said. "Seemed like he was a little rattled, I don't know why."

Ginter led off the second with a strikeout, and ended the inning the same way. In between, Cabrera yielded four hits, a walk and hit two batters.

With one out and the bases loaded, Mark Kotsay drove in a run with a groundout. Jason Kendall followed with a two-run single and Chavez hit a 3-1 pitch into the left-field seats.

Erubiel Durazo then singled, and Scott Hatteberg took a step toward the mound after being hit in the arm with a pitch. He instead decided to walk to first base.

Ginter and Swisher hit solo shots in the seventh off Steve Reed, who was making his debut with the Orioles. Swisher, the son of former major leaguer Steve Swisher, added a two-run drive off Rick Bauer in the ninth.

Notes

  • The A's placed SS Bobby Crosby (broken rib) on the 15-day DL. His roster spot was taken by Saarloos.
  • Cabrera has a 13.50 ERA after compiling a 1.64 mark in spring training.
  • Baltimore has lost the second game of the season in each of the last six years.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Kirk Saarloos was starting only because of Rich Harden's blister problem. (AP)
Kirk Saarloos was starting only because of Rich Harden's blister problem. (AP)

Players of the Game
Oakland

E. Chavez
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Oakland

K. Saarloos
IP 6.0
H 1
ER 0
BB 1
K 2
 
Oakland Athletics
Mark Kotsay, CF4021100 .444
   a- Bobby Kielty, PH-LF1000001 .000
Jason Kendall, C6112025 .100
Eric Chavez, 3B5122023 .250
Erubiel Durazo, DH4010103 .250
Scott Hatteberg, 1B3000102 .143
Keith Ginter, 2B5111033 .167
Charles Thomas, LF-CF3200100 .000
Nick Swisher, RF5333001 .444
Marco Scutaro, SS3120200 .600
Totals3991296718 
a-lined out for Kotsay in the 9th
Batting
HR - Eric Chavez (1, Cabrera), Keith Ginter (1, Reed), Nick Swisher 2 (2, Reed, Bauer)
RBI - Mark Kotsay (1), Jason Kendall 2 (2), Eric Chavez 2 (2), Keith Ginter (1), Nick Swisher 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Kendall 2 (2), Eric Chavez 2 (2), Nick Swisher (1)
Team LOB - 11
Oakland Athletics
Kirk Saarloos (W,1-0) 6100120 0.00
Ricardo Rincon 1100000 0.00
Huston Street 1100110 0.00
Octavio Dotel 1000010 0.00
HBP - Matos (by Kirk Saarloos), Tejada (by Kirk Saarloos)
Pitches-Strikes - Kirk Saarloos 80-48, Ricardo Rincon 12-9, Huston Street 24-14, Octavio Dotel 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kirk Saarloos 7-9, Ricardo Rincon 1-2
Batters Faced - Kirk Saarloos 22, Ricardo Rincon 4, Huston Street 5, Octavio Dotel 3
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B3010100 .286
Melvin Mora, 3B4000013 .125
Miguel Tejada, SS3010000 .200
Sammy Sosa, RF4000012 .250
Rafael Palmeiro, 1B3000100 .000
Javy Lopez, C4000010 .143
Jay Gibbons, DH4010002 .167
Larry Bigbie, LF3000011 .167
Luis Matos, CF2000000 .167
Totals30030248 
Baltimore Orioles
Daniel Cabrera (L,0-1) 3.1655231 13.50
John Parrish 1.2000320 0.00
Steve Reed 2422012 9.00
Todd Williams 1000000 0.00
Rick Bauer 1222111 18.00
HBP - Thomas (by Daniel Cabrera), Hatteberg (by Daniel Cabrera)
WP - John Parrish (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Daniel Cabrera 85-49, John Parrish 39-16, Steve Reed 32-20, Todd Williams 12-7, Rick Bauer 30-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daniel Cabrera 4-3, John Parrish 2-1, Steve Reed 1-4, Todd Williams 3-0, Rick Bauer 1-1
Batters Faced - Daniel Cabrera 20, John Parrish 8, Steve Reed 10, Todd Williams 3, Rick Bauer 6
Game Information
Attendance - 22415
Game Time - 3:08
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Lazaro Diaz, Third Base - Dana DeMuth