More R&R powers Orioles by Twins in 1st game back Reynolds, Ripken homer in 5-3 win

July 16, 1993

Drawing on unexpected as well as expected sources of power, the Orioles resumed the 1993 season on a positive note last night.

Second baseman Harold Reynolds highlighted a three-hit game with his first home run of the year and Cal Ripken hit his 13th as the Orioles twice came from behind en route to a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Their 27th win in the past 38 games hTC enabled the Orioles to jump from fourth place into a second-place tie with the Detroit Tigers in the American League East. They remain 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays.

The home runs by Reynolds and Ripken helped Ben McDonald (6-8) post his second straight win after allowing five hits and three runs (twoearned) in six innings. McDonald was forced out of the game when he began to develop a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

"I felt it in the fifth inning and it started to get hot in the sixth," said McDonald. "We didn't want to take any chances with it."

Mark Williamson replaced McDonald in the seventh and did his job as the setup man, rewarding manager Johnny Oates' patience by escaping a dangerous situation in the eighth. Gregg Olson recorded his 14th straight save and 24th of the season (in 27 opportunities).

As Reynolds was indelibly marking his return to the ninth spot in the batting order, Ripken was continuing a streak that has

produced 11 hits in 23 at-bats. In addition to his game-tying fifth-inning homer, his first homer since July 4, 1992, Reynolds also had a run-scoring double and a single.

After the game, Reynolds was jokingly asked if his sudden outburst might prompt a suspicion of steroids creeping into his diet. "No," the pencil-thin second baseman replied, laughing. "They'll check my bat before they check me for steroids."

For Ripken, who added a single in the eighth inning, it was a fifth straight multi-hit game. During that stretch he has raised his average 17 points to .232, still far from his norm, but much more respectable than the season-low .215 mark he carried shortly before the All-Star break.

"I've been hitting the ball better since a little before the break," said Ripken. "It feels like things are going my way. I got a fastball to hit and the ball jumped out of the park."

It may not be time to jump to conclusions about Ripken's recent streak, but it's enough to give Oates reason for encouragement. "It's still too early in the season for me to get excited," he said.

"But with the experience and leadership he's got, there's no telling what Cal might do for this club," said Oates.

There were two bonuses for Oates to go with last night's win. It marked their first victory with Mark McLemore at third base (he had only one other start) and gave an indication the bullpen had returned to form.

"I thought Mark handled himself well," said Oates, who used Tim Hulett at third for the last two innings, with McLemore moving to right field in place of Jeffrey Hammonds. "One ball [a grounder by Mike Pagliarulo in the fourth inning] came up on him a little bit, which might have kept us from turning a double play, but he made all the plays."

The three shutout innings by the relievers, especially the two from Williamson, were more than welcome. In the nine games before the All-Star break, the bullpen gave up 29 earned runs in 30 innings to raise the collective ERA from 2.56 to 3.28.

"The last couple of weeks, [Jim] Poole and Olson were the only guys that gave us consistent outings," said Oates. "But after the workout yesterday [Wednesday] we felt positive.

"Those guys have been great. There is no way that we could have gone 20-7 in June without them. They kept us in games many times so that we could score some runs and win."

Williamson did test Oates in the eighth, when he walked Kent Hrbek and Dave Winfield to open the inning. Rather than make a change, Oates sent pitching coach Dick Bosman to the mound.

"He was nibbling too much," said Oates.

"I can't remember the last time I walked two guys, let alone two in a row," said Williamson.

Four pitches later, the inning was over after a pop fly by Brian Harper, who had hit his 10th homer of the year off McDonald in the second inning, and a double-play grounder by Pagliarulo.

Scott Erickson (5-10) was the losing pitcher, giving up nine hits and all five runs in 6 2/3 innings.

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