Orioles 7, Angels 6

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Melvin Mora and Javy Lopez each went 3-for-5 with an RBI double, Miguel Tejada had a two-run single and the Baltimore Orioles rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

The win snapped the Angels’ season-high four-game winning streak. Rookie Kurt Birkins (1-0) recorded his first major league victory, retiring all four batters he faced in relief of starter Kris Benson.

Birkins struck out Dallas McPherson and Jose Molina to end the sixth inning and got the first two outs in the seventh. The former UCLA left-hander, who started during most of his minor league career, has allowed one run in 14 innings over his first eight relief appearances and has held opposing batters to just three hits in 42 at-bats.

LaTroy Hawkins came on in the eighth and gave up first-pitch singles to Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson, then fell behind 2-0 to Kendry Morales before the rookie singled in a run to cut the Orioles lead to 7-5. But closer Chris Ray restored order and got six outs for his 13th save in as many chances. Ray gave up an RBI groundout in the ninth to Adam Kennedy after Erick Aybar had tripled.

Ray then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before getting Anderson to ground into a double play to end the game.

Kelvim Escobar (5-5) was charged with five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, after going 11-2 with a 3.14 ERA in his 16 previous career starts against the Orioles.

Benson allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings while working on three days rest for the first time in 176 career starts. The right-hander left trailing 4-2, but his teammates got him off the hook by scoring four runs in the seventh to grab a 6-4 lead.

Brian Roberts chased Escobar with an RBI single that narrowed the gap to 4-3. Scot Shields gave up hits to his first three batters, including an RBI double by Mora and Tejada’s two-run single. Nick Markakis drove in the Orioles’ final run with a groundout in the eighth.

Los Angeles snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth with the help of a disputed bunt single by Chone Figgins that led to two runs and the ejection of Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo.

The Angels had runners at first and second with none out when Figgins bunted up the third base line. Benson and catcher Ramon Hernandez went after the ball simultaneously, and it was still touching the foul line when Hernandez tried to swat it away with his glove. Timmons emphatically pointed to the line, signaling it was fair, and eliciting a brief but heated argument from Perlozzo.

The play was critical at the time, because Molina scored on Orlando Cabrera’s fielder’s choice grounder and Vladimir Guerrero followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the third with a couple of bloop hits. Mora’s one-out popup to short center field fell between Figgins and second baseman Kennedy for a single. Mora advanced on a groundout and scored when Lopez’s short flyball deflected off the glove of a diving Figgins for an RBI double.

The Angels tied it in the fourth on Tim Salmon’s sacrifice fly.

Roberts opened the game with a single and scored on a double-play grounder by Tejada. The Angels tied it in the second with an RBI double by Salmon after a leadoff walk to Morales, but the Angels botched an attempted suicide squeeze later that inning. Salmon broke for the plate on an outside pitch that was short-hopped by Hernandez, who ran Salmon back to third before tagging him out.

Notes: Guerrero, who homered in the first inning the last time he faced Benson on April 16, was hit in the left elbow his first time up in the rematch. He grimaced in pain for a few moments, then stole second on Benson’s next pitch. … Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke had a tough decision to make regarding who would get the lineup card posted on the dugout wall Saturday night. Anderson broke the Angels franchise record for games played on the same night RHP Jered Weaver pitched seven scoreless innings in his major league debut. Anderson got the card, and Roenicke made out an exact duplicate for Weaver.

AP-ES-05-28-06 1842EDT

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