BALTIMORE -- Right-hander Frank Mata has been one of the Orioles' most steady relievers since making his Major League debut on May 26. He has pitched seven innings in seven appearances, giving up just one run, six hits and two walks while recording two strikeouts.
"Everybody's waiting for the rookie guy who got called up, everybody's waiting for him to get nervous in his first outings in the big leagues," Mata, a native of Venezuela, said. "I was a little nervous, but I was just concentrating on throwing the ball over the plate and getting outs."
The former closer for Triple-A Norfolk has provided consistency for a bullpen that sorely needs it. He has steadily gained more trust from interim manager Juan Samuel, who inserted him on Tuesday with the bases loaded in the sixth inning against the Yankees. The 26-year-old retired Alex Rodriguez on seven pitches.
"Coming in with that situation, with the bases loaded facing who he was facing, you kind of think twice," Samuel said. "Is he going to be able to handle it? But he came right after those guys, and he's done a fabulous job for us so far."
"No, I wasn't really nervous, I was just concentrating on getting the out," Mata said of facing A-Rod. "I just get a little excited when I throw two pitches inside and they didn't give me those pitches. I just say, 'Oh, I [have to] be more nasty now, because it's a 2-0 count.' " --Noah Rosenstein