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Guzman Wins 2nd Start For Orioles

Juan Guzman was tough on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Baltimore's improved bullpen was even better.

Guzman allowed three hits in 5 2-3 innings and three Orioles relievers pitched hitless ball the rest of the way to hold off the Devil Rays 2-1 Monday night.

Eric Davis had two hits and an RBI to extend his club-record hitting streak to 26 games as the surging Orioles won for the sixth time in seven games.

Guzman (8-12) improved to 2-0 since Baltimore, a major league-best 23-6 since the All-Star break, obtained him in a trade with Toronto.

"I think that was a good game for us tonight, just to remind everybody, `Hey, we pitch pretty good and we field real good," Orioles manager Ray Miller said.

"Guzman was very solid. I liked the fact he wasn't real happy about coming out," Miller added. "I liked that because I know he's a great competitor, but I thought it was the right situation."

Reliever Jessie Orosco turned away an eighth-inning threat by retiring Wade Boggs and Fred McGriff with the tying run at second base, and Armando Benitez worked a perfect ninth to his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

Cal Ripken had the defensive play of the game, making a diving backhand grab of McGriff's grounder before scrambling to his feet and throwing the Tampa Bay slugger out to end the eighth.

"There's a reason you play all them games in a row for that many years because you're a great athlete," Miller said. "You adjust and you can do things. He's just got great positioning. And when Cal gets a hold of something you're out."

Davis, who has hit in 28 of 29 games since the break, went 2-for-4 and gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI double off Tony Saunders (3-11) in the first inning.

The Orioles stranded eight runners in the first five innings before going up 2-0 on Roberto Alomar's RBI single in the sixth.

Guzman, meanwhile, retired 17 of 18 before Quinton McCracken tripled for Tampa Bay and scored on Boggs' infield single with two outs in the bottom of of the inning.

Randy Winn had the only other hit off Guzman, who pitched seven strong innings to beat Detroit in his Orioles debut last Wednesday.

The right-hander retired 13 straight after walking Paul Sorrento with one out in the second. Boggs just beat out his high chopper up the middle with a headfirst slide, and Guzman left the game after walking the next hitter, McGriff.

The Baltimore starter walked two and struck out two before being replaced by Alan Mills.

Saunders allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out three and walked four in eight innings. He didn't take solace in pitching well in defeat.

"It's never easy to take," said Saunders, who's received the second-lowest run support in the AL this season. "It doesn' matter if you give up one run or 10. Winning is the bottom line.

Notes:

  • The Orioles acquired outfielder-third baseman Willie Greene from Cincinnati in exchange for outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds. Miller said adding Greene gives the Orioles more flexibility, but poses no threat to Ripken's streak of 2,595 consecutive games. "I don't think it changes anything with Cal," Miller said.
  • Alomar's third-inning single extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games.
  • Guzman made his fourth start of the season against Tampa Bay. He was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three appearances for the Blue Jays
  • The Devil Rays likely will surpass the 2 million mark in home attendance Tuesday night
  • The Orioles failed to homer for the first time in 21 games. Their streak of 20 straight games with at least one was a team record.
  • The Orioles confirmed that Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver suffered a minor heart attack last week.

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