Reynolds says win, not revenge, made HR sweet

August 19, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

SEATTLE -- Harold Reynolds didn't really have time to savor the moment for what it was, a little bit of vindication against a team that gave up on him.

Reynolds hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the fifth inning yesterday to lead the Orioles to an 8-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners and help end an eight-game losing streak.

Talk about a parting shot. Reynolds isn't known for his home run swing, but he saved a big one for his last appearance of the year at the Kingdome. The high drive to right-center field off right-hander Erik Hanson was the crushing blow in a five-run inning that assured the Orioles a more pleasant flight home after an unpleasant road trip.

"We needed a win more than anything else," Reynolds said. "Coming back to Seattle. . . that's great, but for me focusing on the pennant race is what's most important."

Reynolds came to the plate with two on and no one out in the fifth, thinking that he would be called on to move up Mike Pagliarulo and Tim Hulett with a sacrifice bunt. That was the obvious move, but he got the green light to swing away and dropped the ball into the first row of bleachers behind the American League scoreboard in right-center.

"In that situation, we bunt a lot," Reynolds said. "I made sure that I got the sign right. Once I was sure, I was concentrating on hitting the ball to the right side. I wanted to hit it hard and make sure I didn't hook it. I knew I hit it well."

He didn't know if it would clear the fence. Reynolds doesn't hit enough home runs (20 in 10 big-league seasons) to have that kind of feel for distance -- even in the home stadium where he spent his entire big-league career before signing as a free agent with the Orioles last December. It was only his third of the season, but it came at a critical time for the Orioles.

If Reynolds, 29, enjoyed the taste of revenge, he didn't gloat about it. He left Seattle when it became apparent the Mariners were going to turn second base over to rookie Bret Boone this year, but he did not come back with a chip on his shoulder.

"I don't think Harold is that type of guy," manager Johnny Oates said. "He doesn't hold a grudge. I don't think he got any extra satisfaction out of hitting one against Seattle."

Of course, that doesn't mean he never envisioned such a moment as the one he experienced rounding third in front of his old teammates.

"Yeah, I think every player wants to go back and play against his old team and hit a home run that's going to hurt them," Reynolds said. "I wasn't up there thinking, 'This is my chance for vengeance.' I was just up there situational hitting. But if you have to write a tale, that's the one to write.

"We've had such a rough road trip, I didn't have time to think about being back in Seattle and trying to beat up on the Mariners. I'm just trying to do what I can to help this team win."

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