ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A miserable week for Lee Mazzilli began with Rafael Palmeiro's suspension and ended with the manager's dismissal.
The Baltimore Orioles fired Mazzilli yesterday in the middle of a massive slide, just three days after Palmeiro became the biggest major league star to be caught using steroids.
''It's not the kind of week that you want to have very often, that's for sure," Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts said.
Sam Perlozzo was appointed interim manager for the rest of the season -- and he won his first game. The Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels, 4-1, yesterday to end an eight-game losing streak and win for only the second time in 16 tries.
The change was announced just two hours before the game. General manager Jim Beattie said he told Mazzilli of the decision yesterday morning. Perlozzo held a closed-door meeting with the players before the first pitch.
''It was quiet in there," he said. ''I probably spoke a little longer than I'd planned to. I thought that we'd point the finger at each other today -- all of us. We're all part of what happened here. After today, they can point them at me, if they want."
No Baltimore manager has lasted more than three full seasons since Hall of Famer Earl Weaver ended a 14-year run in 1982.
The Orioles are 52-56 and 10 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.
Baltimore got off to a solid start and on April 23 gained sole possession of first place, ahead of the defending champion Red Sox.
The Orioles stayed on top through June 23. Baltimore was in second place, just one game back, on July 15 -- the day Palmeiro got his 3,000th hit.
But Baltimore then went on the skid that cost Mazzilli his job. From July 16 through Wednesday, the Orioles lost 16 of 18 to fall into fourth place.