Luck is blowing O's way Windy single helps gust 5-3 victory

June 06, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

It figured that something improbable would have to happen last night if the Orioles were going to beat the Seattle Mariners for a second straight time. As it turned out, the improbable came in triplicate.

A pair of critical base-running mistakes by veteran Seattle outfielder Henry Cotto, a multi-home run game and a distinctly favorable hometown breeze added up to a 5-3 win for the Orioles.

It was the second straight night that the Orioles staged a late-inning comeback. This one came against right-hander Erik Hanson (5-3), who came into the game with an American League-leading 1.96 ERA.

A two-run homer in the seventh by Leo Gomez tied the game and a three-run blast an inning later by Mike Devereaux, his second, won it. But in between came the most damaging hit of the night for Hanson -- a fluke fly single by Cal Ripken that changed direction and landed about 150 feet from home plate.

"Something's happening with the O's," said Devereaux, who shortly thereafter delivered his game-win ner. "I've never seen a ball do that.

"Cal hit that ball so high, it got above the stadium and I think the wind was a lot stronger up there than it was down on the field," said Devereaux.

Ripken's hit followed a one-out ground single by Mark McLemore. It started out as a fly ball to left-center field, and eventually landed just beyond where the second baseman normally plays -- without a Mariner within diving range.

"That ball started out over my right shoulder," said Seattle center fielder Ken Griffey. "Then it stopped and came back. There's nothing we can do about that."

After Harold Baines flied out, Devereaux jumped on a mistake by Hanson and drove the ball deep into the left-field seats. It was his first home run since returning from the disabled list May 28 -- and his first since connecting against Seattle's Randy Johnson April 11.

"It was a curveball that he [Hanson] got up higher than he would have liked," said Devereaux. "For a team that hasn't been going that well, it's good to get that kind of hit [Ripken's] and end up winning.

"We had a good game last [Friday] night, coming from behind, and were hoping that would help turn things around. Then, after being down 2-0 and coming back to win, hopefully this will get us started, get us on a roll."

The Orioles' late explosion spoiled a marvelous performance by Griffey, who had four hits, including his 12th home run of the year, and drove in all of Seattle's runs.

Brad Pennington (2-1), the third of four pitchers used by the Orioles, got the win, although he pitched only one-third of an inning and surrendered the home run to Griffey. Gregg Olson finished with his second 1-2-3 inning of the year to record his 12th save.

Jamie Moyer, looking for his first win in the big leagues in almost three years, started for the Orioles and kept them in the game despite an uncharacteristic brush with wildness. The left-hander, who had allowed only one walk in 15 2/3 innings in his last three starts, walked five and gave up eight hits in six innings, leaving with a 2-0 deficit.

Moyer worked out of a jam in the first inning, when the Mariners had their first misadventure on the base paths. With one out, a single by Griffey was sandwiched by walks to Cotto and Edgar Martinez.

However, instead of the bases being loaded, the Mariners ended up with two men on and two outs. The runners were going on the 3-and-2 pitch to Martinez and catcher Chris Hoiles threw to third, where Gomez tagged Cotto several feet in front of the bag.

Not realizing the pitch had been ruled a ball by plate umpire Tim Welke, which entitled him to third base, Cotto stepped off the bag and was immediately re-tagged by Gomez and called out by third base umpire Gary Cedarstrom. Jay Buhner followed with an infield single, but Mike Blowers hit into a force and the Mariners remained scoreless despite two walks and a pair of singles.

Hanson faced the minimum nine hitters through the first three innings, then pitched out of trouble in each of the next two. In the fourth, a walk to Brady Anderson and a single by McLemore put the first two men on base for the Orioles, but Ripken grounded into a double play and Baines bounced out.

With one out in the fifth, Gomez walked and moved up a notch on a single by Hoiles, but David Segui popped out and Harold Reynolds grounded out. With the passing of those opportunities, the Orioles appeared to be at Hanson's mercy when the Mariners threatened to break the game open in the seventh.

A single through the middle by Rich Amaral and a throwing error by Hoiles on Cotto's intended sacrifice bunt left runners on first and third with nobody out. When Griffey finished Moyer with a single to left, his third hit of the night, the Mariners appeared poised for the clincher.

But with right-hander Todd Frohwirth on the mound, Cotto was caught running too soon and was trapped in a rundown between second and third. Griffey did not advance on the play, a factor that took on added significance when Martinez lined a single to center.

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