Segui's knockout blow settles extra-inning sparring match, Eck hex

September 05, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer DL OAKLAND, Calif.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- David Segui knew he hadn't had much success against Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley.

In fact, Segui knew he hadn't had any success against Eckersley.

"I've hit some line drives, but I think that's my first hit," said Segui, after his 13th-inning home run gave the Orioles a 5-4 victory in Friday night's game that ended at nearly 3:15 a.m. EDT yesterday.

Segui's home run, only his second in the past 37 games, came with two outs in the final inning.

Before hitting his game-winning homer, Segui was 0-for-4 against Eckersley.

"I was sitting on a fastball and I got it right where I was looking," he said. It was a case of overcoming his impatience at the plate.

"That's what happened against [Rick] Honeycutt [when Segui grounded out in the 11th], and you saw what happened," he said. "Any time you go for a home run, 99 times out of 100 it doesn't happen."

Segui's homer made a winner out of Alan Mills (4-3), the Orioles' fourth pitcher, who had to survive threats in each of the last two innings. Brady Anderson and Mike Pagliarulo had homered earlier for the Orioles, and Ruben Sierra hit a three-run homer for the Athletics.

Mills combined with Todd Frohwirth and Jim Poole to pitch eight scoreless relief innings, while allowing only four hits. The A's relievers were almost as effective, allowing just one run in seven innings.

Segui's home run was the Orioles' only hit after the eighth inning.

Both starting pitchers, Fernando Valenzuela and Todd Van Poppel, went into the game trying to break losing streaks.

Valenzuela was winless in his previous seven starts (0-2, 11.39 ERA) dating back to July 23.

By comparison, Van Poppel's streak was much more modest, the right-hander having lost his last two starts after running off four straight wins. The 21-year-old rookie, who was the 14th player taken in the 1990 draft, was making his 12th major-league start.

After Van Poppel struck out two of the three batters he faced in the first inning, wildness kept him in almost constant trouble. Pagliarulo walked with two outs in the second, advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Chris Hoiles grounded a double over third base.

An inning later, Harold Reynolds led off with a walk and Anderson followed with his 12th home run.

The A's attempt to use a "motion" offense hurt them in the first two innings, but played a prominent role when they tied the score in the third. After hitting into a force for the second out in the first inning, Sierra became Valenzuela's eighth pickoff victim of the year.

The importance of the play was emphasized in the second. Dave Henderson led off with a double, but one out later, with runners on first and second and Marcos Armas hitting, he was thrown out at third as the A's attempted a double steal.

Armas struck out to end that threat, but the A's continued to run in the third, when Valenzuela issued a pair of walks. Scott Hemond and Mike Bordick were running when Brent Gates hit what could have been a routine double-play bouncer back to the mound.

But Valenzuela's throw got to second base only slightly ahead of Bordick, whose hard slide forced Reynolds to make a jump throw that sailed wide. That play was magnified when Sierra deposited a 1-and-0 pitch over the left-field fence to tie the score, 3-3.

One out into the fourth inning, Pagliarulo unraveled the tie with a drive over the fence in right. It was his seventh of the season -- and his fourth in the 10 games he's played since joining the

Orioles Aug. 16.

Pagliarulo missed a second homer by about five feet in the fifth inning, when Van Poppel walked two more, but managed to escape. Then it was Valenzuela's turn to lose control.

After a one-out double by Hemond, Bordick was hit by a pitch on a 2-and-2 count. Gates fouled out, but Sierra walked on four pitches to load the bases and Henderson looked at five pitches for another walk that forced the tying run in -- and Valenzuela out of the game.

Mark McGwire, making his first appearance since May 13, grounded out on Frohwirth's first pitch, setting up the sparring match decided by Segui's knockout punch.

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