4 HRs, Mesa give Orioles complete package, 7-0 =1 Pitcher 7-hits Angels in 1st career shutout

May 07, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

ANAHEIM, CALF. — ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Baltimore Orioles did one of two things last night. They either responded to the sermon that manager Frank Robinson delivered Sunday or they finally found an opposing pitcher they liked.

Whatever the motivating factor, the Orioles hit four home runs on the way to a 7-0 victory over the California Angels and escaped with a split of the four-game series at Anaheim Stadium.

Right-hander Jose Mesa went all the way and gave up seven hits on the way to his first major-league shutout and complete game, the victory evening his record at 3-3 and making the manager look like a genius on the day after he dressed down the team for its apparent lack of intensity.

Did Robinson alter the chemistry of the club with his fiery monologue after Sunday's loss? Did Mesa simply take matters into his talented right hand? Or was it rookie right-hander Scott Lewis who -- for one night at least -- pulled the Orioles out of a lingering funk?

"I like these results, no matter when they come," Robinson said. "We just haven't put it together as a team at any time. I hope we continue to play that way -- the way we're capable of playing."

Lewis gave up three home runs in four-plus innings. Left-hander Floyd Bannister came on to give up the other one, but Mesa was on cruise control by then. He became the first Baltimore pitcher to throw a complete game this season.

The Orioles had not hit four homers in the same game since Aug. 3, 1990, when they hit four against the Kansas City Royals at Memorial Stadium. They hit only three home runs in six games at Anaheim Stadium last year.

The closest the Angels got to hitting Mesa hard was a shot by Wally Joyner in the first inning that hit the Orioles starter on the foot and almost forced him out of the game.

Mesa probably was surprised that it didn't. He has been the one real hard-luck story in the Orioles starting rotation, coming into last night's game with just two victories in five decisions, even though his 2.87 ERA ranked 11th in the American League.

He gave up two runs or fewer in four of his first five starts, but lost a 2-0 decision to Chicago White Sox left-hander Greg Hibbard in his first game of the season and was on the wrong end of Nolan Ryan's 1-0 shutout April 20.

The Orioles were more helpful last night, scoring three runs in the third inning and two more in the fifth to give Mesa plenty of margin for error.

"I just tried to go right at them," Mesa said. "Thank God, they hit a lot of ground balls. I got some support tonight, so I felt I had to go out and do my job."

Lewis had retired the first six hitters he faced, but he walked Chris Hoiles to open the third and gave up a two-run home run to Craig Worthington that put Baltimore on top. Mike Devereaux followed one out later with a bases-empty shot to left to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead for the second game in a row.

It was Worthington's second home run of the season and his first since April 13. Devereaux homered for the fourth time, all four coming in the past 10 games.

The Orioles scored more runs for Mesa in that inning than they had averaged (2.6) in his previous five games.

The Orioles have let leads like that get away. They had squandered 3-0 leads on three previous occasions -- including Sunday -- but this time they built on it.

Tim Hulett opened the fifth inning with his second homer and Devereaux followed with a base hit to knock Lewis out of the game. But the home-run derby didn't end there.

Cal Ripken hit a towering shot to center field off reliever Floyd Bannister later in the fifth. The Orioles had not hit two home runs in the same inning in any other game this year, but they did it twice in the span of three innings last night.

Ripken, who leads the club with six homers and 21 RBI, also had a single on the way to his 11th multiple-hit game of the year. His 2-for-4 performance raised his batting average to .337, which also is a club high.

The Angels had to be happy to see Ripken leave town. He had seven hits in 18 at-bats in the four-game series, matching his hit total for 1990 against California.

Devereaux also wore out his welcome. He had eight hits in 16 at-bats, including two home runs and two doubles.

Orioles tonight

1%

Site: Oakland (Calif.) Coliseum

Time: 10:35

Orioles starter: Ben McDonald (1-1, 6.75)

Athletics starter: Mike Moore (4-0, 3.26)

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTOP (1500 AM)

TV: ESPN

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