BALTIMORE - Sometimes, you lose to Randy Johnson. And sometimes you lose to a guy whose best previous work was with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the South Atlantic League.
Despite two hits each by J.D. Drew and Julio Franco, the Atlanta Braves wasted another excellent performance by Paul Byrd and failed to build on Thursday night's momentum in falling to the Baltimore Orioles, 5-0, in the opener of a weekend series at Camden Yards.
Daniel Cabrera, a 23-year-old Dominican, was 5-9 with Class A Delmarva last year, but is now 4-3 and claimed his first shutout in his ninth big league start.
He tamed the Braves on four singles and coaxed a pair of double-play balls from Andruw Jones, who is taking dead aim at Dale Murphy's 1988 Atlanta record of 24.
Despite being shutout for the second time in three days and taking their 11th loss in their past 15 games, the Braves remained 5 games behind the Florida Marlins, 2-0 losers at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday night.
Facing his former team, Orioles catcher Javy Lopez was 2-for-4, including a triple and a run scored in the eighth inning.
The hard-luck loser was Byrd, who pitched into the seventh inning and allowed three runs on six hits. He gave way to 28-year-old rookie Sam McConnell, who was called up from Class AAA Richmond and made his major league debut in the seventh inning, allowing David Newhan's run-scoring bunt and Miguel Tejada's RBI double with two out.
The Braves were hoping to cash in on the momentum of Thursday's 9-4 win over the Marlins, but Cabrera refused to cooperate. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound right-hander didn't allow a Brave to advance beyond first base until the fourth.
Reach Bill Zack at email@example.com.
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