He tricked them before, and he has tricked them again.
For some reason, Roy Smith has a hold on the Boston Red Sox and yesterday at Memorial Stadium, he endured their potent lineup and near-100-degree heat to beat them for the second time this season.
With the Baltimore Orioles supporting him with six extra-bas hits, including homers by Cal Ripken and Randy Milligan, Smith lasted just long enough to gain a 7-3 victory, the team's sixth win in the past eight games.
"I really don't know what it is," said Smith, the slow-ball specialist who was fooling them with his fastball. "It helped that [Ellis] Burks and [Jack] Clark were not in there. Hopefully, the next time around, the odds won't catch up to me."
Smith had earned a 5-1 decision over Roger Clemens earlier thi month and is 4-1 lifetime against Boston -- without a loss since 1984. The Red Sox have a .219 batting average against him.
"We needed Smitty to give us a few innings out there," said manager John Oates. "We couldn't afford to get him knocked out in the first or second inning. Once we got to the fourth, I felt better."
The Orioles are 5-2 in Smith's starts since he was promoted Ma 24, a tribute to his savvy and grit more than his stuff, which is hardly comparable to Clemens'.
With the help of a superb relay throw by Juan Bell, which cu down Luis Rivera at the plate in the third, Smith blanked the Red Sox into the sixth, when a double by Jody Reed and Wade Boggs' fifth home run, on an 0-1 pitch, finished his day.
It was Boggs' first homer on the road in more than a year. Th previous one also was at Memorial Stadium, June 16, 1990, against Mark Williamson.
"That play at the plate killed us," said Boston manager Joe Morgan. "That relay was perfect, just what it needed to be. Bell took that ball with two hands and made a perfect throw. If he takes any more time, Luis scores."
The Orioles had built a 3-0 lead by the time Smith weakened, with three hot hitters, Sam Horn, Ripken and Milligan, doing the damage.
Horn doubled over Tom Brunansky's head in right field t account for the first run, and Ripken and Milligan, who are a combined 30-for-63 (.476) in the past seven games, followed with bases-empty homers against Danny Darwin.
That was enough to support Smith, who said he was not overl bothered by the heat because "there was a little breeze, which didn't make it as bad as you thought. I've given up two-run homers when I've been very fresh, too."
Said Oates: "I wouldn't say he tired, but he hadn't had a 1-2- inning, and I wanted him to go home with a good taste in his mouth."
After Reed doubled to start the sixth, the temptation might hav been to bring in Kevin Hickey, who has held Boggs to an .091 average and has struck him out five times in 11 at-bats.
But Oates delayed because "you can't do that with the score 3-0. Maybe in the seventh or eighth inning, but not in the sixth."
Hickey arrived after Boggs' homer, retiring Mo Vaughn and Mik Greenwell on six pitches, then yielding to Mark Williamson, who ended the inning with the lead intact by retiring Carlos Quintana.
The Orioles responded with two runs in their half of the sixth, o Joe Orsulak's ground-rule double that bounced over the fence and a chopping single by Chris Hoiles against a drawn-in infield.
Then, a grounder by Ripken through the right side for run-scoring single and an error by reliever Daryl Irvine on Milligan's bunt single put the Orioles ahead, 7-2, in the seventh.
"I'm just riding out the hot streak," said Ripken, whose league-leading average rose to .355. "That's the way I choose to look at it.
"In that particular case, my job is to get the runner over, and the ball went on through. It bounces funny sometimes."
The Orioles are 4-2 against the Red Sox, who have the bes record of any opponent against Baltimore (329-295).
"We didn't play well Friday night, so we had to make up for that," said Milligan.
"It just so happens that we're getting the right hits at the right time against them," said Oates. "I think we've battled everyone. After about 30 games, there have only been three or four that we've been completely out of."
The nationally televised game provided exposure for an Oriole team trying to right itself after a horrible start.
"Two or three years ago, that TV was big stuff," said Smith. "But now everybody knows when you get ripped because there are so many satellites around.
"It seemed like that always happened when I was on TV, that I was going to mess up no matter what."
Not yesterday. Smith, the journeyman who gets little respect was a star all over again.