© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
05/15/05 6:07 PM ET
Bedard leads Orioles to split
Starter wins fourth straight; Fasano, Newhan homer
By Gary Washburn / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Salvatore Frank Fasano made his first Major League appearance in nearly three years Sunday in front of his parents and family members who drove the 30 miles from Hoffman Estates, Ill., where he grew up. It's been a long and arduous road back to the Majors for Fasano, who endured career-threatening Tommy John surgery, a frustrating season with Triple-A Columbus in 2004 and losing out on the Orioles' backup catcher spot to Geronimo Gil this spring. When the Orioles needed a third catcher, the burly Fasano got promoted; and when the Orioles needed a lift in a scoreless game against the Chicago White Sox, Fasano delivered a home run off Jose Contreras in his first at-bat. Fasano also added an RBI single and Erik Bedard tossed seven solid innings in a 6-2 win over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The Orioles earned a split of the four-game series after dropping the first two. And they also snapped Chicago's 37-game streak of leading at least once in a game. The Orioles led for good after Fasano's homer, his first since Sept. 6, 2001, when he hit one off the Dodgers' Giovanni Carrara while with the Colorado Rockies. "No I can't honestly remember the last time I hit a home run," he said. "There's too much that happened in between to remember. But it's a good feeling to help the team win in whatever way I can." The Orioles signed Fasano to a Minor League deal last December with the hopes that he would push Gil in Spring Training. He did. Fasano worked well with the pitching staff and displayed a strong throwing arm less than two years after ligament replacement surgery. Gil got the backup job primarily because of the hard work he put in the previous season and his defensive upside. Fasano was disappointed with the decision and considered not taking the Minor League assignment. A year previously with the Yankees, Fasano thought he would have a shot to be called up during the season but ended up spending the entire year in Columbus tutoring the Yankees' prospects. While Fasano relishes teaching young players the game, he still wanted an opportunity to contribute to a Major League team. Well, he got his chance Sunday. "It's nice to come home and have a good day. It makes your family happy, it makes you happy," he said. "This year was big for me to get my power back and get the strength back in my arm. I am just grateful for the opportunity to play." Fasano also caught a masterful game from Bedard, who did not have his Type-A stuff but managed to keep the White Sox down until allowing back-to-back homers in the seventh inning by Carl Everett and Jermaine Dye. By that time, however, the Orioles had already given Bedard a five-run cushion. David Newhan followed Fasano's solo homer with one of his own in the sixth for a two-run lead. The Orioles then added three in the seventh, the first on Fasano's RBI single to cash in Jay Gibbons, who had doubled. After reliever Neal Cotts plunked Brian Roberts with a pitch, Newhan singled to score Fasano, and two batters later, Miguel Tejada's infield single plated Jeff Fiorentino, who had walked. Bedard (4-1, 2.35 ERA) was removed after allowing a single to Scott Podsednik to begin the eighth, but Todd Williams struck out the side to squash any threat. Bedard was dominant in stretches, primarily because he threw strikes and got ahead of hitters. In one fourth-inning sequence, home plate umpire Randy Marsh docked Bedard a ball because he was too slow between pitches. The left-hander simply shook that off and got Aaron Rowand to ground to third base. "He pitched a tremendous game," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He kept guys off the bases. Why shouldn't he be consistent when he is out there? Consistency brings that confidence that you can do it all of the time. He's got the stuff to do it." The Orioles bounced back after losing two tough games to the White Sox, who still own the Majors' best record. Perhaps past Orioles teams would have folded after dropping two games to a talented opponent, but this crew has responded to every challenge this season. After dropping the final two games of the season-opening series with Oakland, the O's took two of three in New York. Following two straight shutouts at the hands of Boston, the O's swept Toronto three games at Rogers Centre, and finally when Sammy Sosa and Luis Matos were felled by injuries, the Orioles managed to beat the Twins last Wednesday with Johan Santana on the mound. "With the way (the White Sox) won the first two games, I am sure they were confident about winning at least one (more)," said second baseman Brian Roberts, who went 1-for-4. "After the second game, everybody was down but we just relaxed. We were far from panicking. In the past years, maybe we say that we're not good enough, but guys in this clubhouse believe in each other."
Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.