Devereaux, Hammonds spark O's power show 2 HRs account for 5 RBI in 9-6 win over White Sox

July 04, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The fireworks started long before the post-game show at Comiskey Park last night.

Four home runs were hit in the first two innings, two by each team, but the ones by the Orioles carried the most weight and helped produce a 9-6 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Long before the crowd of 41,972, lured by the attraction of a pre-Fourth of July fireworks bash, had a chance to get settled, the scoreboard lit up like a firecracker. Mike Devereaux hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Jeffrey Hammonds added a three-run shot in the second for the Orioles. That was enough to offset a bases-empty shot by Frank Thomas in the first and a three-run homer by Tim Raines in the second for the White Sox.

Before the night was over, the Orioles found out they also made noise in the American League East standings. The victory, their 22nd in 29 games starting June 2, moved the Orioles within a game of the third-place Detroit Tigers, 2 1/2 of the second-place New York Yankees and 4 1/2 of the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays, all of whom lost yesterday.

Neither starting pitcher, Rick Sutcliffe for the Orioles, Jason Bere for the White Sox, was around long enough to work up a good sweat, even on a hot summer evening. Looking for his ninth win, Sutcliffe was unable to get out of the fourth inning -- and that was twice as long as Bere (3-3) lasted.

"As far as velocity and arm speed are concerned, everything is fine," said Sutcliffe. "I'm just throwing too many high fastballs."

Manager Johnny Oates wasn't sure what Sutcliffe's problems were, but he didn't waste time turning to a bullpen committee to finish the job. "I didn't like what I saw," Oates said of Sutcliffe's performance.

Mark Williamson, who got Thomas to ground into a double play to escape a dangerous situation in the fourth inning, emerged with the win. Gregg Olson pitched a perfect ninth inning to record his 13th straight save and 23rd of the year.

Williamson (5-1) gave up two runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings, but it was the Thomas at-bat that kept the Orioles out of trouble. "When Johnny [Oates] gave me the ball, he said, 'It looks like he wants the ball out over the plate, so let's try it another way,' " said Williamson.

"I threw him a changeup for a strike, and when Chris [Hoiles, catcher] called for another one, I thought, 'Just get this one lower.' I did, and he [Thomas] got out in front and rolled [his hands] over it."

That may have been the most significant play of the night for the Orioles, but there were plenty of others worth recounting.

It quickly became obvious that neither Bere nor Sutcliffe was destined for a long workout. A walk to Harold Reynolds and two passed balls on high pitches that catcher Mike LaValliere couldn't handle put Bere in an immediate hole.

An infield grounder by Mark McLemore scored Reynolds, and after Cal Ripken struck out, Harold Baines drew the second walk of the innning. That resulted in double the damage for Bere when Devereaux followed with his fifth home run, a drive into the left-center-field seats.

An inning later, Bere's control got worse. After walking David Segui to start the second inning, Bere hit Tim Hulett with a pitch. And when the first two pitches to Hammonds were out of the strike zone, White Sox manager Gene Lamont had seen enough. Kirk McCaskill came on to make his first relief appearance since July 11, 1987, but he didn't enjoy immediate success in his new role.

After McCaskill threw a ball and a strike, Hammonds crushed a 3-and-1 pitch, driving it over the bullpen in left-center field for his second major-league home run. Last year's No. 1 draft choice continues to impress, having hit safely in eight of his first nine big-league games at a .382 clip, but he's not awed by his success.

"I'm not the first guy to do something like this," he said. "I'm just trying to contribute every day, and it's great because we're winning. I feel like I'm comparable in ability to a lot of guys up here, but I need to gain a lot in terms of experience."

Even with the early home-run bolts, it was not destined to be a routine evening. Sutcliffe lasted longer than Bere only because he had the luxury of a lead that went from comfortable to tenuous with one swing of the bat in the second inning.

He had given up a two-out homer to Thomas (No. 17) in the first inning and found himself in trouble again in the second. A walk to Bo Jackson and a single by Lance Johnson put runners on first and second with nobody out.

LaValliere was called out on strikes and Ozzie Guillen flied out, but three runs crossed the plate on Raines' eighth homer before Sutcliffe finally got out of the inning. With McCaskill giving evidence of being able to shut down the Orioles, Oates pulled Sutcliffe in the fourth inning after Guillen singled, Raines struck out and Joey Cora was hit by a pitch.

Williamson then extricated the Orioles from what could have been a disaster by getting Thomas to hit into the inning-ending double play.

Double plays had stymied the Orioles in the third and fourth innings and they were holding a 6-5 lead when Ripken opened the seventh with a walk. He went to third on a single by Baines and then got involved in the inning's pivotal play.

On a ground ball by Devereaux, third baseman Robin Ventura opted to make a play on Ripken rather than try for a potential double play. During the ensuing rundown, Ripken avoided the tag long enough to enable Baines to reach third and Devereaux to advance to second.

Hoiles then followed with a two-run single to left-center and eventually scored the third run of the inning on a double by Hulett. When Williamson got in trouble in the eighth, Oates began the procession through his bullpen. Jim Poole, Todd Frohwirth and Brad Pennington each record an out to finish the

inning and Olson came on to finish.

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