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'(Posted 10:30 a.m., April 13)
Bédard pitches gem to pick up first win of the season
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Navan native Erik Bédard posted his first win since last July on Tuesday when he held the Oakland A's to three hits over eight and one third innings to pick up the decision. File photo


So much for spring training being a harbinger of things to come. Two starts after wrapping up what can only be described as a mediocre spring training session with the Seattle Mariners, Navan hurler Erik Bédard was in mid-season form on Sunday as he shutout the Oakland A's over eight and one third innings to pick up his first win of the year.

The big left-hander was nothing short of dominating, as he allowed just three hits while striking out seven and walking one. At one point in the game he retired 13 straight batters before giving up a lead-off single in the ninth.

He needed less than 10 pitches to retire the side in the third, fifth, sixth and eighth innings and threw less than 16 pitches in the first, second and ninth innings.

The only inning in which the A's threatened to score was the fourth when Matt Holliday reached first base on an infield single and then Bédard gave up his one and only walk to put runs on first and second with two out. The next batter up ran the count to 2-2 before Bédard struck him out swinging on superb sinker that ran away from him.

Bédard was locked in a pitcher's duel for most of the game as A's starter Trevor Cahill was working on a no hitter until the seventh inning when Mike Sweeney doubled home Adrian Beltre who had reached first base on a single.

The Mariners were still nursing a 1-0 lead in the ninth inning when David Aardsma was brought in to relieve Bédard after Orlando Cabrera laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Ryan Sweeney to second.

After striking out Jason Giambi, Aardsma walked Cust Holliday to put runners on first and second. The next batter up was Jack Cust who ran the count to three balls and two strikes before lining out to Mariners left-fielder Ronny Cedeno.

After the game Bédard told reporters that he had no problem staying focused and on task during the game.

"(When) you see the other guy throwing zeros, you want to do the same," Bédard said, referring to Cahill's no-hit performance through the first six innings. "We had some good defense and they made all the plays. That helps a lot. I was able to throw strikes with all my pitches."

Bédard was within two outs of his second career complete game shutout when Aardsma was brought in to relieve him.

Battery mate Rob Johnson said Bédard's sinker was especially effective and he mixed his pitches up well.

"He was spot-on with every pitch and kept hitters off balance big-time," the Mariners' catcher said. "He was able to throw his sinker to both sides of the plate."

Bédard's next start will be against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

'(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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