Mike Devereaux, whose defense played a significant role earlier, lined a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Orioles a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees last night.
The game-winning hit came off reliever Tim Burke (0-1), who entered the game in the ninth and set up the winning rally by walking Leo Gomez to start the inning.
In a rare reversal of form, Gregg Olson (1-2) got the win, after blowing his first save opportunity in more than two months by giving up a game-tying home run to Roberto Kelly in the top of the ninth.
After Gomez walked in the ninth, a daring gamble paid off for the Orioles when he stole second with Mark McLemore at the plate. McLemore, whose double sparked a three-run fourth inning, then laid down a sacrifice bunt to put the winning run at third base.
After pinch hitter Chito Martinez and Brady Anderson were walked intentionally to load the bases and set up a possible double play, Devereaux ruined all the strategy by drilling a 1-0 pitch cleanly into right-center field to end the game.
The Yankees' ninth-inning comeback spoiled another solid effort by Orioles starter Mike Mussina. The right-hander allowed only five hits and one walk, striking out seven in eight innings.
Home runs by Mike Gallego and Charlie Hayes spoiled the shutout bid by Mussina, who ultimately was denied his ninth win.
For the Yankees, right-hander Scott Kamienicki allowed eight hits over the first eight innings, including Anderson's 12th homer of the year, and left with a no decision.
The Orioles went into the game on the verge of losing back-to-back series for the first time this year. They had given up 59 runs during the previous eight games, in the process losing two of three to the Indians and dropping two of the first three games against the Yankees.
Aided by a couple of outstanding defensive plays, Mussina preserved a lead by blanking the Yankees on two hits in the first five innings.
Anderson gave the Orioles a quick lead with his 12th home run leading off the first inning. It was the second time this year Anderson had led off a game with a homer and increased his club-leading RBI total to 45.
Don Mattingly led off the second inning with the Yankees' first hit, a drive into the rightfield corner that appeared to be a certain double. However, Joe Orsulak made a strong throw and shortstop Cal Ripken made a short-hop catch and tag on Mattingly, who registered a mild protest with umpire Jim Joyce.
Mussina's next brush occurred in the fourth inning, when Andy Stankiewicz led off with a walk and Mel Hall followed with a single. It was the seventh hit in his last nine at-bats for Hall, who then inadvertently helped take the Yankees out of the inning.
Kelly flied to right, Stankiewicz tagged and went to third, but Ripken cut off Orsulak's throw and completed a double play when Hall wandered too far off first.
With one out in the Orioles' half of the fourth inning, Orsulak walked and went to third on a single by Gomez. McLemore followed with a double to right-center field, scoring Orsulak with the game's second run.
Jeff Tackett followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score Gomez and McLemore beat Danny Tartabull's throw to third. That resulted in the inning's third run when Kamieniecki bounced a curveball for a wild pitch before striking out Anderson to end the inning.
Devereaux made the first of two outstanding catches to rob Matt Nokes of an extra-base hit. Devereaux leaped against the center-field fence to catch Nokes' drive and end the inning.
The Orioles then had a chance to pad their lead, when Ripken and Sam Horn both dropped singles in front of center fielder Kelly. With runners on first and third and one out, however, Stankiewicz converted a hopper by Randy Milligan into a double play to end the threat.
Gallego spoiled Mussina's shutout bid in the sixth when he lined a 3-and-2 pitch into the left-field seats for his third home run of the year.
In the seventh, Devereaux went deep into the right-center field gap to run down a long drive by Kelly. The catch took on added importance when Tartabull followed Mattingly's strikeout with a line single to center, and was left stranded as Kevin Maas also went down swinging.
An inning later Hayes cut the Orioles' lead by another run, driving his ninth homer of the year into the left-centerfield seats, but Mussina got Gallego and Stankiewicz without further difficulty.
Disaster struck fast in the ninth inning. Mike Flanagan came in to face Hall and gave up a soft single to right, the signal for Olson to emerge from the bullpen.
But this time, the magic was missing. Olson missed with his first two pitches to Kelly and then served up a towering two-run home run that tied the game. It was the first blown save for Olson since April 10, covering a stretch of 20 opportunities.
It was also the first hit Olson allowed in eight games and the first time he had been scored on in 14 appearances.