Bedard Ks 15, faces minimum 27 in win

7-7-07 -- As Erik Bedard's strikeout total kept rising, Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Jay Gibbons could only shake his head in disbelief as he watched from the dugout Saturday night.

"That's as good as I've ever seen a pitcher throw," Gibbons said. "I've never seen so many bad swings in my life. These guys didn't have a chance."

Bedard struck out 15 to tie a franchise record and allowed two hits in his first career complete game, leading the Orioles over the Texas Rangers 3-0.

Bedard (7-4) faced the minimum 27 hitters. Desi Relaford singled with one out in the first and Sammy Sosa singled leading off the eighth, but Bedard induced double-play grounders to erase each runner.

The 15 strikeouts were the most by an American League pitcher this season. San Diego's Jake Peavy struck out 16 against Arizona on April 25.

Bedard struck out the side in the ninth, fanning Travis Metcalf to end the game. Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez quickly rushed to the mound and gave Bedard a big congratulatory hug.

Bedard took his career-best pitching performance in stride.

"We won and that's the bottom line," Bedard said. "If I throw a complete game, I throw a complete game. If I don't, I don't. At the end of the day we won and that's what counts."

Gibbons homered in the second and Brandon Fahey had an RBI single in the ninth inning for Baltimore, which posted its fourth shutout of the season. Bedard bounced back from one of his worst outings of the season -- he allowed six runs in 5 2-3 innings Monday against the Chicago White Sox.

"I've never seen anything like that," Orioles interim manager Dave Trembley said. "It was just strike one, one after another. He didn't walk anybody. It was Erik Bedard and the guys behind him. Around the fifth inning you felt that one run would be enough."

Brandon McCarthy (4-6) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings for Texas, which was blanked for the third time. He struck out three and walked two. McCarthy was making his second start since coming off the disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger.

But the Rangers couldn't support McCarthy's efforts against Bedard, who kept them off balance with a mix of fastballs and curveballs.

Texas was caught looking at a third strike six times -- including twice in the ninth.

"He may have gotten some help from the umpire," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But he pitched a very good game. You have to tip you cap to him."

Gibbons gave Bedard all the run support he needed when he hit his fifth home run of the season with one out in the second. Aubrey Huff also scored on catcher Gerald Laird's throwing error in the fourth.

Bedard, who did not walk a batter, leads the big leagues with 149 strikeouts. His previous career best for strikeouts in a game was 12, which he has done four times.

Mike Mussina also struck out 15 for Baltimore, accomplishing it three times -- including once in the playoffs.

Bedard also struck out the side in the second and fifth. Brad Wilkerson struck out three times, and Relaford, Sosa, Marlon Byrd, Metcalf and Victor Diaz each struck out twice.

Jerry Hairston was the only Rangers hitter who did not strike out.

"You try to scratch some runs and hits off a guy like that," Byrd said. "He was just that good. When someone is on like that, you have no chance."