Hoiles reigns between drops in 6-4 win 2 RBI before, 2 after rain pace 6th in row

June 09, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Chris Hoiles drove in two runs both before and after a rain delay of almost two hours last night as the Orioles defeated the Oakland Athletics, 6-4, at Camden Yards.

The win enabled the Orioles to extend their season-high winning streak to six and move to within three games of .500 (27-30) for the first time since April 16 (3-6). The loss was the fourth in the past five starts and eighth in the past 10 games for the A's.

The game was delayed for an hour and 58 minutes in the fifth inning, shortly after the Orioles had wiped out a 2-0 Oakland lead with their first back-to-back home runs of the year. It was a long two-run blast by Hoiles, off left-hander Curt Young, that tied the game and David Segui followed with a bases-empty shot that gave the Orioles the lead.

Not only was it the first time consecutive batters had homered for the Orioles this year, it marked the fifth straight game in which they'd hit at least one home run.

"It think we've seen in the last few nights what this team is capable of doing," said Hoiles. "With the guys we put out there every night, this team is capable of hitting a lot of home runs. A month ago nothing was going right. Now we're getting solid pitching, good hitting and we're getting some breaks."

Fernando Valenzuela pitched the first five innings for the Orioles, but it was Alan Mills (1-3) who earned the victory. Mills replaced Valenzuela after the delay and allowed three hits, including a two-run, pinch-hit homer by Mike Aldrete that tied the game in the seventh inning.

In the ninth, with the tying run at the plate, Gregg Olson got pinch hitter Dale Sveum for the final out to record his 15th save and fourth in four games.

Ex-Oriole Storm Davis (1-5) was the loser, giving up three runs in 2 1/3 innings after replacing Young to start the fifth inning. Davis, who walked three, including Jack Voigt with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, struggled with his control.

"When you don't get the ball in the strike zone, you don't give the team a chance to make plays," he said. "I've seen these guys [the Orioles]. I know what pitches I want them to hit."

Hoiles provided the Orioles with their winning margin with a two-run double to right-center field off Davis in the bottom of the seventh.

The A's had runners on base in each of the first five innings against Valenzuela, but the veteran left-hander managed to avoid a knockout. He got Rickey Henderson to hit into a double play to end the first inning, picked Lance Blankenship off first base in the third and then saw a line drive by Brent Gates turned into an inning-ending double play in the fifth.

In between, the A's scratched out single runs in the second and fourth.

Young had given up a couple of singles to Cal Ripken and Hoiles in the second, but was breezing when the winds kicked up in the bottom of the fourth. With lightning surrounding the park and loud claps of thunder serving as advance warning for the impending storm, Leo Gomez lined a single with one out.

Hoiles followed with his eighth home run of the year, a towering fly ball into the left-center field seats that tied the score. Seconds later, Segui duplicated Hoiles' blast with another high shot to the same vicinity, his third homer of the season.

It was obvious when the A's came to bat in the fifth that the game was only moments away from interruption. Valenzuela got Scott Hemond to foul out, but walked Blankenship to put the tying run on base.

On a 3-and-2 pitch, Blankenship was running when Gates lined a drive toward the right-center field gap. For an instant it looked as though the ball would get through for extra bases and tie the game, but Mike Devereaux cut off the angle and made the catch. Blankenship already had passed second and was doubled up easily to end the inning.

The ensuing delay finished both Valenzuela and Young. The Orioles added a run in the sixth when Davis walked Voigt with the bases loaded, but the 4-2 lead lasted only until the next half-inning when Aldrete homered.

But the reprieve was short-lived for the A's. "It's amazing how stuff is working right now," said Oakland manager Tony La Russa. "Before you have a chance to enjoy the home run [by Aldrete], we're down by two.

"When I see us overmatched, then the losses will be understandable," said La Russa. "But we're not overmatched. Every day there's a combination of things."

If those words sound familiar it's because they were used almost verbatim by Orioles manager Johnny Oates for the first two months of the season. Now, it's like he's reading from a different script.

"We got timely and clutch hitting and that made the difference," said Oates. "That's what it's all about."

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