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Bergesen goes distance, emerging as a true ‘Ace’ for Orioles

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It’s still a bit too early to put Brad Bergesen on the Mike Mussina track as the franchise’s first potential “ace” in a decade but yesterday’s effort at Camden Yards has started some buzz about the lanky righthander’s recent work.

The complete game, five-hit, 11-2 victory over the Braves yesterday should come as no surprise. The word on Bergesen’s command began in Florida at spring training and has become evident with his work since his call-up from Norfolk. He pitches quickly. He throws strikes. He mixes speeds. And, with much more consistency than most young pitchers of this generation, he finishes games. He’s what the throwbacks would call a “bulldog” or a “gamer.”

In an era of starting pitchers who generally feel “victorious” about six decent innings of work and turning the keys over to the bullpen, Bergesen is indeed a Jim Palmer-esque throwback with his psyche and longevity. He won’t be throwing double-digit complete games every year in the bigs like ‘Cakes, but yesterday was an impressive afternoon of pitching.

Bergesen, who threw 112 pitches and appeared to be laboring a bit in the 9th inning, has taken a few of his own lumps during his first six weeks in The Show, but he is now 4-2 with a 3.79 ERA and emerging as the closest thing this franchise has to a “sure thing.”

After the years of empty promise of the likes of organizational minor-league rock stars like Rocky Coppinger and Adam Loewen and Matt Riley, along comes Bergesen who now looks like he belongs and is proving it every five days.

Bergesen feels more real than any of them for a reason: he throws strikes and he wants to go the distance.

For one day (or is it two now?) even the offense awakened from its slumber with the unlikely likes of Ty Wigginton (3-for-4, 2 HRs, 3RBIs) and Robert Andino (2-for-4, 3RBIs) bringing the lumber to Derek Lowe and the Braves. Lowe was chased earlier yesterday than in any of his 269 starts in the big leagues.

The Orioles ended yesterday’s game with 15 hits and managed 19 runs in the final pair against Atlanta, breaking out of a hideous offensive slump that begin on June 1.

The Birds have the day off and will begin a three-game set with the incoming New York Mets tomorrow night at Camden Yards.

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