Yankees' power pulls plug on O's win streak 4 homers deal Orioles 1st loss in seven, 9-5

June 28, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

They didn't have enough time to redo their comeback script, so the Orioles were unable to write a seventh chapter to their latest winning streak yesterday afternoon.

Instead of falling behind early by a significant margin, as they had done the two previous nights and three times on the current homestand, this time the Orioles kept it close through the early stages.

But there was no answer to the volley of late-inning home runs by Jim Leyritz, Bernie Williams and Danny Tartabull that the Yankees parlayed into a 9-5 victory that stopped the Orioles' winning streak at six. The loss also left the Orioles five games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays, who come in for the first of three games here tonight.

On a day when any baseball hit into the air appeared to have an eviction notice from Camden Yards, the Yankees doubled the Orioles' home run total, 4-2. The blasts accounted for seven runs, as John O'Donoghue got a rude introduction to the big leagues -- and Brad Pennington a swift reminder that life in the bullpen can be a trying experience.

The two rookie left-handers gave up all of the runs, O'Donoghue surrendering six in 6 2/3 innings in his Orioles debut. Pennington struck out four in 1 1/3 innings -- but gave up three runs in the ninth inning, the last two on Tartabull's 10th homer.

Seven of the nine hits given up by O'Donoghue were for extra bases, including the homers by Leyritz and Williams, plus a two-run bolt by Mike Stanley in the second inning. "I was trying to get ahead of the hitters, and I wasn't," O'Donoghue said. "It's tough when you have to pitch from behind."

O'Donoghue, who was 6-3 (3.79 ERA) with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, was given the starting assignment in place of Mike Mussina, who skipped a turn because of a mild case of tendinitis. His initial stay in the big leagues probably will be brief -- the Orioles are expected to replace him today with a relief pitcher from Rochester.

But if O'Donoghue needs any solace to soothe his feelings on the return trip to the minor leagues, it won't take a long search. He can derive plenty of consolation from his mound opponent yesterday -- and the Yankees' track record at Camden Yards.

"This park is good for hitters," said winning pitcher Melido Perez (5-6), who is 5-2 lifetime against the Orioles. "If you make a mistake, you'll be in trouble. Every fly ball was going out."

Mike Devereaux and Cal Ripken had bases-empty home runs for the Orioles, who did come from behind twice to tie, but were unable to generate the sustained offense of the previous two nights.

The power show by the Yankees was not unexpected. With Tartabull leading the way, the Yankees have transformed Camden Yards into a playpen for free swingers. Tartabull's homer was his fifth in the second-year park, and the Yankees boosted their team total to 22, the most by any Orioles opponent.

Considering that their starting pitchers gave up 17 runs in 13 2/3 innings (an 11.20 ERA), the Orioles can thank the hitters, and their good fortune, that they were able to escape with two wins.

The comeback wins Friday and Saturday went a long way toward diminishing any disappointment over yesterday's result. But the first two games of the series also exacted a toll that left the bullpen ragged and undoubtedly influenced manager Johnny Oates yesterday.

He had little choice other than to try to get as much out of O'Donoghue as possible.

"You go as long as you can with him and hope he keeps you in the game," Oates said. "But there's no way we're going to just leave him out there and get embarrassed.

"He [O'Donoghue] is the kind of pitcher who needs to have all four of his pitches working. If he had pitched last night [a 12-10 win Saturday], he would have gotten the win. He gave us a good chance to win against a very good offensive club.

"This club feels it has a chance to win every game," Oates said. "I'm not real excited right now, because we just got beat, but I've felt good the last few weeks."

Even though his team lost two of the three, Yankees manager Buck Showalter also left the series with an upbeat feeling. "Offensively, we played real well," he said.

"Like Frank [Howard, batting coach] says, sometimes you have to get in there and slug with them. They [the Orioles] have a great bullpen, but they can give up runs, too.

"Melido was outstanding against an outstanding club. I'm pleased with the effort and competitiveness of our people," Showalter said. "Baltimore thought it had the makings of a

sweep."

The loss was only the fourth in the past 23 games for the Orioles -- and their first at Camden Yards since May 23.

The Orioles started this nine-game homestand against the division's first-place team (Detroit), and they will conclude it the same way, except this time against the Blue Jays, who lead the Tigers by two games and the Yankees by three.

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