For Hoiles, grand shot caps a most memorable inning

June 24, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Chris Hoiles capped an eight-run sixth inning Tuesday night with his third career grand slam, but he said an earlier home run by Leo Gomez was the turning point in the Orioles' 12-9 comeback win over the Tigers.

"It [the slam that broke a 7-7 tie] was a great feeling; there's no doubt about that," said Hoiles. "But I thought Leo's home run the inning before turned the game around."

The Orioles catcher had to be reminded that the home run by Gomez actually came during the same inning, which Hoiles led off by taking a called third strike. "Well, it [the sixth inning] lasted an hour," said Hoiles, explaining his lapse of memory.

The home runs by Gomez and Hoiles started and finished the Orioles' biggest and most improbable inning of the year. Right-hander Bill Gullickson, the Tigers starter, was cruising with a 7-3 lead and retired the first two hitters to start the bottom of the sixth.

That would be the last out recorded by Gullickson, and by the time Kurt Knudsen, the second reliever of the inning, got Gomez to fly out to end the inning, the Orioles had scored eight times.

When Gullickson walked Harold Reynolds, he was replaced by left-hander Bill Krueger. A single by Brady Anderson set up what was probably the key hit of the inning (contrary to Hoiles' assessment).

Mark McLemore's double not only cut the Tigers' lead to 7-6, but it also left Detroit manager Sparky Anderson with a difficult decision. He opted to have Krueger issue an intentional walk to the right-handed-hitting Cal Ripken and pitch to left-handed-hitting Harold Baines.

Of the two, Baines has the highest lifetime average against Krueger (.444 to .298), but Ripken has one more homer (three), so Andersonopted for the left-against-left percentages.

They didn't hold up, as Baines lined a single to center to tie the game.

It was at that point that the Orioles got a break. Alan Trammell booted a hard grounder by Mike Devereaux for an error, loading the bases. That's when Hoiles went to the plate for the second time and drilled a line drive over the center-field fence.

"I didn't realize it was a home run until I got to second base," said Hoiles. "I thought it had bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double."

The homer was the second of the night and 11th of the year for Hoiles, who also drove in a run with a single in the eighth inning to finish the game with a career-high six RBI.

He added his club-high 12th homer last night.

"That's the way they [the Tigers] usually beat teams," said Hoiles. "It seems like they put double figures on the board every night.

"To come back and beat them like that, I think will definitely help us."

BEWARE OF BAINES

When Detroit manager Sparky Anderson opted to walk Cal Ripken to get to Harold Baines in the sixth inning Tuesday night, Baines responded with an RBI single as part of the Orioles' eight-run outburst. Anderson probably should have known better. Baines ranks among the American League leaders with

men on base:

Player, Team. .. .. .. ..Avg

Olerud, Toronto .. .. .. 394

Cora, Chicago .. .. .. ..391

Gonzalez, Texas .. .. .. 368

Baines, Orioles .. .. .. 367

5/8

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