SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) -Brad Bergesen got the confidence boost he needed - at the expense of the defending world champion New York Yankees.
Bergesen took a shutout into the sixth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles got a home run from Adam Jones in an 8-0 victory Thursday.
Bergesen allowed three hits, walked two and struck out two in 5 2-3 innings. Both his strikeouts came against Alex Rodriguez, who went 0 for 2 with a walk before leaving for a pinch runner in the sixth.
After allowing two runs in each of his first three appearances this spring, Bergesen shut down the Yankees in front of a sellout crowd at Ed Smith Stadium. The right-hander threw 76 pitches, 51 for strikes.
``Today was the best I felt,' Bergesen said. ``Going up against the Yankees and being able to go 5 2-3 helped out, built some confidence.'
Bergesen missed the final two months of his rookie season last year after being struck in the shin by a line drive. During the offseason he injured his shoulder during a commercial shoot and was forced to sit out the first 10 days of spring training camp.
Judging by his performance against New York, he's approaching the form he displayed last year, when he went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA over 19 starts.
``There are still a couple of things I need to start doing to feel back to where I was before the leg injury, before the arm injury,' he said. ``But given the circumstances, this is exactly where I'd like to be at this point.'
Although only 24, Bergesen is old enough to know that beating the Yankees in March won't mean much once the regular season starts.
``This one doesn't count, it doesn't matter,' he said.
But Bergesen smiled when asked to describe his mindset during an at-bat in which he got Mark Teixeira to hit a roller to first base with the bases loaded and two outs in the third.
``You try to bear down that much more and focus in,' the right-hander said. ``I was fortunate enough to get him to roll over on a slider.'
Orioles manager Dave Trembley didn't put much stock in the victory either, saying flatly, ``We got good pitching today by Bergesen and we showed improved play in all areas of the game.'
Jones hit a two-run homer against New York starter Alfredo Aceves in the second inning. Baltimore added five runs in the third, the key hit a two-run double by Matt Wieters.
Earlier in the day, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Phil Hughes would start the season as New York's fifth starter. Joba Chamberlain and Aceves were competing for the job, and Girardi attributed Aceves' performance in part to disappointment over losing the competition.
``Ace was up a little bit, missed some spots today,' Girardi said. ``Obviously, there were emotions he had to deal with today, but those were understandable.'
The Associated Press News Service
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