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08/21/07 11:30 PM ET
Padilla no match for Bedard in opener
Orioles lefty contains Rangers offense, strikes out 11
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Somebody joked with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo that Sandy Koufax was pitching against the Rangers next. "Don't say that," Jaramillo said with a weary smile. "I don't need any more misery." Texas has had enough from Johan Santana on Sunday and now Erik Bedard. The Rangers have had trouble with left-handers all year, but these two are not your average American League lefty. They are two of the best and they reinforced their credentials against the Rangers. Bedard followed up Santana's 17-strikeout performance with 11 in seven innings on an unseasonably cold and windy Tuesday night, pitching the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-2 victory over the Rangers at Camden Yards. The Rangers have now struck out 30 times in their last two games, their second most in two consecutive games in club history. They struck out 32 times over two games in 1997, but are now well on their way to setting a new club record for strikeouts in a season. "It's been tough," Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "They're quality pitchers. It doesn't matter what hand they throw with. If they threw right-handed they'd be pretty good." Rangers starter Vicente Padilla took the loss, giving up six runs in five innings. The Orioles scored three off him in the first inning and three more in the fifth. Reliever A.J. Murray pitched three scoreless innings but will likely be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma so the Rangers can get a fresh arm for Wednesday's doubleheader. The Rangers also lost Michael Young in the fourth inning when he had to leave the game with more stiffness in his back. It is unknown just how much Young will be able to play in Wednesday's twin bill. "He just tightened up in this weather," manager Ron Washington said. "As soon as he felt it tighten, we got him out of there. He said he could go but I said, 'No, get out of there. You don't have to.'" Young, 0-for-2 with a strikeout, wasn't faring any better against Bedard than anybody else. Bedard held the Rangers to just two infield singles through six innings while his teammates built a 6-0 lead. The Rangers did score two in the seventh on run-scoring doubles by Jason Botts and Nelson Cruz. But all that did was end Bedard's streak of 23 consecutive innings against the Rangers without allowing an earned run. Bedard still struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the inning for his 218th strikeout of the season, tying the club record held by Mike Mussina. He is 9-0 with a 2.16 ERA in his last 12 starts. "I've seen enough of Santana and Bedard," Marlon Byrd said. "When you're facing the best in the game, you have to scratch and fight for runs. We were hoping we could scratch out a couple of runs but he was just too good -- just like he has been his last 12 starts." The Rangers entered the game hitting .264 against lefties, the third lowest in the league, and they get another one on Wednesday when rookie Garrett Olson pitches the second game of the doubleheader. "If he goes out there like Bedard we'll be in trouble," Byrd said. The 11 strikeouts also give the Rangers 938 strikeouts, third most in the American League, and they are on pace to strike out over 1,200 times for the season. That would be a first in Rangers history and smash the club record of 1,116, also set in 1997. "That's just the type of guys we have, big swingers," Washington said. "They swing and miss a lot and we just have to deal with it. Those are the players we have; we have to put them out there." But Washington said he wouldn't care if the Rangers face an ace pitcher every night, whether it's Santana, Bedard or Koufax. "The more you face, the better you're going to be," Washington said. "You've got to figure it out no matter who is out there. They don't have perfect records. They can get their tails kicked in. We just didn't get it done."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.