Orioles drive twins batty, 9-7 Devo's four hits, three-homer 5th bail out Mussina, squeeze Jays

July 17, 1993|By Jim Hinneman | Jim Hinneman,STAFF WRITER

For those who may have had some doubts, let it be known that the jet stream at Camden Yards is fully functional.

For a while Friday night it appeared as if the American and PTC National League All-Star teams had returned to resume batting practice -- wearing the uniforms of the Orioles and Minnesota Twins.

In the kind of slugfest Babe Ruth, who grew up in the area, would have appreciated, the Orioles out-homered and outlasted the Twins, gaining a 9-7 decision. The verdict, which was in doubt until Gregg Olson closed it out in the ninth inning,lifted the Orioles to within a half-game of the American League's Eastern Division lead.

On a night when their ace, Mike Mussina, struggled with his control, the Orioles played their version of Home Run Derby, hitting three in a four-run fifth inning that put them ahead to stay.

For the second straight night, the Orioles had to come from behind -- and they did it with authority. Mike Devereaux, who had a perfect night with four hits, a walk and three RBI, Harold Baines and David Segui all homered off loser Jim Deshaies (9-7) in the fifth inning.

Earlier Kent Hrbek hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Dave Winfield a two-run bolt in the fifth off Mussina (11-5), who nevertheless survived long enough to claim the victory.

The 24-year-old right-hander probably thought the All-Star controversy that had engulfed him the previous two days was petty stuff compared to what he had to endure Friday night. "That probably contributed to me being as anxious as I was," he said. "I tried to put it behind me.

"I usually pitch well with a lot of rest," said Mussina, whose absence from Tuesday night's All-Star Game resulted in a torrent of criticism aimed at AL manager Cito Gaston. "I was too anxious to get out there and do well."

Manager Johnny Oates thought Mussina's difficulties were more basic -- and related to recent inactivity. "His location was terrible," said Oates. "Boz [pitching coach Dick Bosman] and I talked about it and we figured it came more from pitching 14 innings [actually 12 1/3 ] in 28 days.

"He had no pain and his velocity was good, so I'm going to chalk it up to that [inactivity] for right now."

Hrbek's home run, which needed no assistance leaving the yard, put Mussina in a quick hole. But it proved to be escapable, for which Deshaies accepted his share of the blame.

In each of the first two innings the left-hander retired the first two batters. But each time he gave up a pair of runs, on a single by Cal Ripken in the first, and a double by Devereaux in the second.

"Lazy pitching," said Deshaies. "With two outs and no one on, you should be able to put them away. They scored six runs with two outs -- that's not good pitching."

It didn't take long for the hitters to establish clear superiority. Mussina gave up more runs on Hrbek's swing than he had allowed in his previous two starts against the Twins this year.

In those games, Mussina pitched back-to-back shutouts, allowing only seven hits in the process. But Hrbek hit his 12th home run after Mussina had walked the game's first two hitters.

But on this night that blow would hardly be sufficient. "The ball has been carrying good here for some time now," said Oates. "It's getting so that every time a ball gets up in the air I'm expecting something.

"There's no doubt in my mind that the ball is carrying better now than it did last year. It's almost like a completely different park."

After the Twins tied the game in the third and took a 6-4 lead on Winfield's homer in the top of the fifth, the Orioles turned Camden Yards into a bandbox. Devereaux, Baines and Segui, the latter a two-run shot, victimized Deshaies without warning, and before Minnesota manager Tom Kelly could get a reliever ready.

Deshaies had retired eight straight batters after his difficulties in the first two innings. Then the homer barrage left him in a loss state.

"His location wasn't as sharp as he would like and he paid the price," said Kelly. "But you have to give credit to the other team for not packing it in with two outs. The Orioles are in a good streak. They kept playing and good things happened."

And not just at Camden Yards. The Blue Jays lost in Toronto, and Texas beat Detroit, leaving the Orioles alone in second place a half-game off the lead.

AL EAST RACE

Team.. .. .. ..W-L.. .. ..Pct... .. ..GB

Toronto .. ...50-41.. .. .549

Orioles.. ....49-41.. .. .544.. .. ... 1/2

New York .. ..49-42.. .. .538 .. .. ..1

Detroit .. ...48-42.. .. .533.. .. .. 1

Boston .. .. .46-43.. .. .517.. .. .. 3

Yesterday's results

Orioles 9, Minnesota 7

New York 10, Oakland 3

Boston 5, Seattle 3

Kansas City 7, Toronto 3

Texas 9, Detroit 6

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