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Sox' win a walk in park

Orioles not wild about this outing

BALTIMORE -- It's nights like these when Leo Mazzone, who earned a reputation as one of the best pitching coaches in the majors, might pause and wonder why he left the Braves to come to the Orioles.

Actually, the reasons were obvious: more money, a chance to come home, and an opportunity to work for boyhood friend Sam Perlozzo.

Pitching is pitching in either league, except when you don't have much. Except when one of your better young pitchers, Daniel Cabrera, issues seven walks in the first 1 1/3 innings; when your pitchers allow 14 walks to one of the most patient lineups in baseball; when your staff throws 223 pitches and only 107 of them are strikes; when a team such as the Red Sox gets 14 at-bats with the bases loaded. And even though the Orioles got enough garbage-time hitting to score eight runs in the seventh and eighth innings (four against starter Matt Clement and four against Rudy Seanez), they ultimately didn't get close, falling, 14-8, to the Sox last night before 37,063 at Camden Yards.

Boston took advantage of one of the most hideous pitching performances since another of Mazzone's pupils, Atlanta's Russ Ortiz, issued seven walks May 15, 2004, against Milwaukee.

Once Trot Nixon, who drove in four runs, including a two-run homer, was issued the Sox' seventh walk, manager Perlozzo emerged from the dugout and spent a few minutes delivering what appeared to be a pep talk, before asking for the ball.

''It's not the end of the world," Perlozzo said. ''It was only one inning. He could have come back. We could have scored more than four runs for him. It's a learning process for him. He just needs to maintain his composure and have damage control."

Cabrera, who finished 10-13 with a 4.52 ERA last season, walked six as the Sox scored four times in the first inning. Bases-loaded passes to Manny Ramírez (three hits), Jason Varitek, and Mike Lowell (two hits and two RBIs) produced single runs. The fourth came across when Kevin Youkilis inexplicably swung at the first pitch, producing a sacrifice fly in the right-field corner. The inning started with Coco Crisp laying down a beauty of a bunt single down the third base line.

''Cabrera was a little erratic and we just needed to be patient," said Nixon. ''We just needed to take advantage and make him throw some pitches. He's got a great arm, so when you have a chance to take advantage of it, you'd better do it."

Mark Loretta pounced on one of Cabrera's rare strikes and doubled to left-center to lead off the second. He was driven home by Ramírez's one-out single to right-center. After Nixon walked, ending Cabrera's night, Perlozzo summoned Eric DuBose. We're certain Perlozzo asked DuBose to throw strikes, but the lefthander walked Varitek, then allowed RBI singles to Lowell and Youkilis, making it 7-0. Nixon then slammed a two-run homer in the fourth, expanding Boston's lead to 9-0.

Then, all Clement had to do was the opposite of his Oriole counterparts. Making his first start of the season, the righthander came in having owned Baltimore with a 2-0 record and 0.90 ERA in three starts here and 4-0 record and 3.00 ERA in seven starts overall. His last win before last night was Sept. 3 vs. Baltimore, a 7-6 decision over Erik Bedard.

Staked to the big lead, Clement went right after the Oriole batters. He struck out five through four innings, and finished with seven punchouts on 100 pitches over seven innings.

''No matter what the score was, I was going to come out aggressive," said Clement, who allowed nine hits and four runs, all in the seventh inning. ''I was told I had some good velocity at the end of the game [often reaching 94 miles per hour on the radar gun], so that's a good thing. Even in the seventh I thought I was still pitching pretty well, but they got some hits through."

The Orioles had scored 25 runs in their first two games against Tampa Bay, but on Thursday night were shut out by 6-foot-9-inch Devil rays lefthander Mark Hendrickson. Their bats remained silent for six innings last night.

The Sox scored a third run in the fourth inning after Nixon's blast as Lowell doubled off the left-field wall, then advanced to third on Youkilis's single to right. Lowell then came across on Alex Gonzalez's grounder, as Youkilis got caught in a rundown.

Nixon continued his productive night in the fifth, driving in the Sox' 11th run with a single to center after Boston again loaded the bases, on two walks and a single by Loretta, with one out. The Sox had a chance for more but Varitek knocked into an inning-ending double play.

Lost in all the walks and bases-loaded opportunities was the solid defense by the Sox' infield, which turned a pair of double plays. Second baseman Loretta made a nice turn with a strong throw to first on Javy Lopez's grounder to shortstop Gonzalez in the second, and Gonzalez made a nice turn on Brian Roberts's grounder in the sixth.

With the wind kicking up late in the game, the Sox answered the Orioles' four-run seventh with a two-run double in the eighth by Alex Cora, who pinch hit for Loretta (double, single, two walks). Nixon later walked with the bases loaded, producing the 14th run. After the Orioles got four more in the eighth, Keith Foulke finished them off in the ninth.

Mazzone, meanwhile, was looking around the Orioles' dugout, but John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were nowhere to be found.

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