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Win painful for Orioles' Bergesen

Win painful for Orioles' Bergesen

BALTIMORE -- In the seventh inning Thursday, Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen made a play that helped him escape a late-inning jam. That same play, however, could cost the rookie dearly.

Bergesen took a Billy Butler line drive off of his left shin, sending him immediately to the ground before hobbling off in obvious pain into the dugout, where Bergesen said he collapsed in anguish. X-rays were negative for Bergesen, who was in the clubhouse on crutches after the Orioles' 7-3 win over Kansas City.

"It hurts pretty bad," Bergesen said. "When it first happened, I didn't really know what happened, it was just 'boom, boom' and then I got down into the dugout and I fell down. I thought it was broken. The pain was bad. I wanted to throw up, but I took the X-ray and there was no break on there, and hopefully there isn't."

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Bergesen acknowledged the possibility that he may have suffered a hairline fracture, but that wouldn't be determined until the swelling on his shin decreases.

The injury to Bergesen ended what was yet another impressive start from him. He pitched seven innings, giving up just one earned run and two walks. Bergesen also struck out six batters and lowered his ERA to 3.43.

Unfortunately for Bergesen, it was the injury that overshadowed his outing.

Bergesen was starting to see signs of fatigue in the seventh, and had loaded the bases for Royals first baseman Butler. Butler drilled a pitch right back into Bergesen's shin, whereupon the rookie fell down momentarily as catcher Matt Wieters scooped the ball and got the out to end the inning.

Bergesen then stood up and immediately began hopping to the dugout, where the cheers from the crowd increased with each step. Along the way, Bergersen slapped the glove of Wieters, then threw his own mitt into the dugout as he hopped out of view. After he entered the dugout, he said, the pain started to really set in.

"When I got down there it was bad," Bergesen said. "I thought for sure that it just snapped and cracked. I just got down into the steps, down in that little area in the dugout and just fell down. I was just biting down on my tongue. [I] thought for sure it was broken."

Manager Dave Trembley said the sight of Bergesen in pain nearly made him ill, too. Trembley had nothing but praise for his emerging pitcher, despite the injury that left both feeling queazy.

"He works fast, he throws strikes and he got ground balls," Trembley said. "That's exactly how he pitches. And he put zeros up after we scored. He's a good one."

"Good" may be an understatement when it comes to Bergesen's success this season. Thursday's outing marked the 12th straight start in which he pitched at least six innings. Bergesen has also allowed three earned runs or less in 14 of his last 19 starts, and improved his record to 7-5.

"He was throwing sinker, slider, that's pretty much all there was to it," Butler said of Bergesen's performance. "I saw the ball good. I got a hit off him and should have had another one, but it hit off his leg. He threw good and made pitches when he needed to. If I get the ball up the middle, that might have been a different game."

As Bergesen continued to find success on the mound Thursday, the Orioles' offense began to show signs of life after struggling with timely hitting earlier in the series.

The Nos. 1-5 hitters drove in six RBIs and hit a collective 9-for-19 (.474). Every player in the starting lineup had a hit, with Felix Pie, Aubrey Huff and Ty Wigginton each registering multi-hit games.

After going a dismal 5-for-34 (.147) on Baltimore's last road trip, Huff rebounded, going 5-for-17, including three RBIs in Thursday's win.

Pie is now hitting .317 in 31 games since May 10, while Brian Roberts accumulated his 400th career extra-base hit with his Major League-leading 36th double this season in the sixth inning. Wiggington hit a solo homer in the second.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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