TORONTO -- Manager John Oates held the second team meeting of his brief managerial career, but wouldn't take any credit for the Baltimore Orioles' 8-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I don't like meetings," he said. "If you're having meetings, it means things are going bad."
Things have been going badly, so Oates wanted to remind the club not to lose faith and not to try to do too much.
"I just had some things to say to them," Oates said. "One of the things I told them was not to go up there trying to hit a three-run home run all the time. So, [Mike] Devereaux goes out there and hits one. What does that tell you?"
Devereaux, whose three-run shot in the sixth inning took a load off the manager's mind, said that he was following the pregame order to the letter.
"I wasn't trying to hit one," he said. "That's probably why I hit one."
Dave Johnson said that he felt better than expected when he woke up yesterday -- the day after he tested his sore groin in a pregame workout.
"It was not as sore as I thought it would be," he said. "That's good. But it's still sore. I feel like I'm getting to the point where I might have to make a decision. Either I shut it down completely or I decide that I can get it to a point where it's tolerable and pitch on it and rest at the end of the season."
Ripken stays hot
Shortstop Cal Ripken had two more hits yesterday, his fourth consecutive two-hit game, raising his league-leading batting average to .358.
Williamson bounces back
Reliever Mark Williamson, who earned his third save for three strong innings yesterday, has come back strong after a difficult month of May. He gave up 13 earned runs in seven innings (16.71 ERA) from May 8 through May 25. Since then, he has given up one run on nine hits over 20 2/3 innings.
Devereaux's game-breaking three-run home run in the sixth inning was his eighth in 201 at-bats. He is four short of his single-season high and is on pace to hit 20, which would match his total for the previous two seasons.
Devereaux walked and scored in his first two trips to the plate yesterday before burning reliever Willie Fraser with a drive over the left-field fence.
He had entered the game in a week-long hitting slump. The home run ended an 0-for-17 slide that had dropped his average from .291 to .265.
Gomez hitting streak continues
Third baseman Leo Gomez has hit safely in each of the nine games he has played since the Orioles recalled him from the Rochester Red Wings on June 6.
Gomez has 11 hits in 33 at-bats (.333) during the hitting streak, more hits than he had in a full month of play at the major-league level before he was optioned back to Class AAA on May 6.
B. Ripken misses 4th straight
Second baseman Bill Ripken continues to grapple with the back soreness that has plagued him for the past three weeks or so. He missed his fourth consecutive game and his ninth in the Orioles' past 16 games.
Ripken has played through a variety of injuries this year, including a jammed finger and a sore hamstring, but the back injury is the first to make the disabled list a possibility.
Bob Melvin's double in the second inning was his second extra-base hit of the season and his first since April 26. Melvin is batting .385 with runners in scoring position. . . . Cal Ripken has a hit or an RBI (or both) in 46 of the Orioles' 59 games. . . . Subtract Ripken from the equation and the rest of the club came into yesterday's game hitting a combined .233. . . . The only other Orioles catcher to get five hits in a game was Clint Courtney, who did it during the Orioles' first season (1954).