Pavano Continues Hot Streak with Complete-Game Shutout
BALTIMORE (AP) _ The mounting frustration over a lost season finally got to the Baltimore Orioles, who put their anger on full display during an otherwise listless performance against the Minnesota Twins.
Carl Pavano pitched a five-hitter to earn his career-high seventh straight victory, and the Twins defeated the infuriated Orioles 5-0 on Thursday night.
Orioles first baseman Ty Wigginton, pitching coach Rick Kranitz and interim manager Juan Samuel were all ejected in the seventh inning. It was a rare show of emotion for the team with the worst record in the majors.
Wigginton was incensed over a call by first base umpire Gary Darling, who ruled that J.J. Hardy got back to the bag on an aborted attempt to steal second. Wigginton threw off his cap and yelled until he became red in the face, stopping only after Samuel forcefully pulled him away.
As he walked off the field, Wigginton tossed the ball into the stands.
“He said I missed him. I felt he was out,” Wigginton said.
Replays showed Darling blew the call, which he confirmed afterward.
“He missed him the first time and on a close play; he got him the second time it looked like,” Darling said.
Wigginton said he did not make contact with the umpire, but Darling said there was a bump in the chest-stomach area.
Darling’s call ended up costing the Orioles when Hardy scored on a single by Drew Butera to make it 5-0.
An instant later, Kranitz was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Hohn.
“I didn’t say anything. I sarcastically clapped in the way that the umpire, I guess, Bill Hohn took offense to,” Kranitz said. “It wasn’t the right thing to do, but you know, you get frustrated.”
That brought out Samuel, who immediately threw down his hat at Hohn’s feet, then kicked it aside before waving his arms and hollering at the umpire.
“Kranny didn’t say anything. That’s what I was trying to tell Bill Hohn,” Samuel said. “I was trying to tell him. How can you blame Kranny when one of your guys blew the call? Kranny didn’t deserve that. He didn’t miss the call.”
The struggling Orioles (30-65) finished with two more hits than ejections.
“We’re in last place, and anytime you’re in last place there’s a lot of frustration in the season,” Wigginton said. “Obviously, that’s not where we wanted to be.”
Pavano (12-6) struck out four and walked one in his fifth complete game of the season and 12th of his career. The right-hander is 7-0 in nine starts since June 3.
“Everything I have done to this point has been fine, but there are still important games ahead,” Pavano said.
Still, the Twins couldn’t have found a much better way to start their first road trip after the All-Star game.
“It was a great night. Pavano was fantastic, pitching a game like that,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s our first game on the road, and he does what he’s supposed to do. It is fantastic to see him pitch right now and it’s big for our baseball team.”
Pavano got all the offensive support he needed when Delmon Young hit a three-run double in the first inning off Kevin Millwood (2-9). Michael Cuddyer hit his 10th homer leading off the fourth.
Millwood was making his first start after a 16-day stay on the disabled list with a strained right forearm. He gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, leaving him 0-9 lifetime against Minnesota.
Before going on the disabled list, Millwood gave up at least two first-inning runs in eight of his last nine starts. He was poised to buck the trend after getting two quick outs, but a double by Joe Mauer and two walks loaded the bases for Young, who lined a 3-2 pitch to the gap in left-center for a 3-0 lead.
“Delmon had another big hit for us. Coming up and ripping one in the gap was a great way to start the game,” Gardenhire said. “But Pavano was the big story.”
Pavano’s performance came one day after the Twins blanked Cleveland, giving Minnesota successive shutouts for the first time since April 11-12, 2008.
NOTES: The homer by Cuddyer was the 21st allowed by Millwood, second-most in the AL. … Minnesota’s Orlando Hudson’s 10-game hitting streak ended.