x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Relief for a rookie as Orioles beat Jays

For the first time in 10 weeks, the Baltimore Orioles' rookie starting pitcher Jason Berken was not asked about his confidence. He did not field any questions about his stretch of losing decisions, or his escalating ERA.

Jason Berken wipes his brow on his way to win.
Jason Berken wipes his brow on his way to win.

TORONTO // For the first time in 10 weeks, the Baltimore Orioles' rookie starting pitcher Jason Berken was not asked about his confidence. He did not field any questions about his stretch of losing decisions, or his escalating ERA. He did not need to suppress his emotions either while wondering whether his first stint in the big leagues was coming to an end.

"It's been a long two months, that's for sure," said Berken, managing a smile after he pitched the Orioles to a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday. "It feels good to have a happy interview for a change. Obviously any win, you don't take for granted." Berken had lost nine consecutive decisions since beating the Blue Jays in his major league debut on May 26. Entering Friday's start, his ERA was barely under 7.00, and the 25-year-old right-hander was smart enough to know that one of the reasons he was still in the Orioles' rotation was that the organisation simply had no other preferred options.

"This was a big start for me," Berken said. "I'm not naive. I know it's time for me to start pitching better." After allowing solo homers to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios in a span of four pitches in the second inning, Berken showed the toughness that impressed his teammates even when his numbers did not. He allowed just one more run. The Orioles, who trailed 3-0 after five innings, they scored four times in the sixth and added three more in the eighth.

* Los Angeles Times