Three-peat HRs lead O's to 14-5 romp

September 13, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

If Mike Devereaux is ready for a rush, the Orioles are more than willing to go along for the ride.

Devereaux gave additional evidence that he's on the verge of something he has been seeking all season as the Orioles thumped the Oakland Athletics, 14-5, last night at Camden Yards. And the center fielder did a lot more than just extend his hitting streak to eight games.

Devereaux had a season-high five RBI, including the first four of the game for the Orioles, as he delivered a sacrifice fly, a three-run home run, a double and a single. He was joined in the home run parade by Mike Pagliarulo, who matched Devereaux's blast in a six-run third inning, Harold Baines, who added a bases-empty shot in the sixth, and Cal Ripken, who capped the evening with the Orioles' third three-run shot of the night in the eighth inning.

The victory was the second straight and 11th in the past 13 games for the Orioles. It enabled them to move into second place in the American League East, a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees and 1 1/2 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays.

For the most part, this has been somewhat of a frustrating season for Devereaux. Coming off a career year in 1992, he struggled along with most of his teammates in the early weeks, then spent more than three weeks on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.

Before embarking on his current streak, he was only 4-for-50 (.080) in his previous 12 games. "That's probably the worst stretch I've ever been through," he said.

"But even when I was going through that, I always felt the next game was when I would come out of it," said Devereaux.

His persistence, and a lot of work with hitting coach Greg Biagini, may be paying huge dividends at just the right time for the Orioles.

"I feel like I haven't had a hot streak all year," said Devereaux. "This would be a good time to have one."

Last night's offensive fireworks made for an easy night for Jamie Moyer, who is easily the top pitching story of the year for the Orioles. The left-hander now has won four straight starts -- and 12 of his past 15 decisions.

Although giving up home runs to Troy Neel and Kurt Abbott, Moyer never allowed the A's an opportunity to get into the game once the Orioles had taken command. "Everything I needed was working," he said. "This is the most consistent I have been in my career.

"The goal that I set when I got here was to contribute, whether that was out of the bullpen or as a starter. The great defense and the run support have been the key."

That is a not-so-slight oversimplification, because Moyer has more than held his own. Since June 10, when he got his first win for the Orioles, Moyer has won 12 games. The only AL pitcher who has won more over that stretch is the Chicago White Sox's Jack McDowell (13).

He's in impressive company, but Moyer refuses to look at himself any differently from the way he did the day he arrived. "I'm just Jamie Moyer, one of five starters," he said. "When it's my turn to go out there, my job is to give the team a quality effort. I don't look at myself as a No. 1 or a No. 2 guy."

The A's went into last night looking to win the rubber game of the three-game series and continue their role of spoiler in the AL East race. They had swept a three-game set from the Blue Jays before outscoring the Orioles, 12-9, for their fourth straight win Friday night.

However, the visitors had a couple of streaks working against them. Moyer had won four straight outings, and the A's were winless in six straight games against left-handed starting pitchers.

Nothing happened in the early innings to put either streak into jeopardy. Moyer was even more effective than he had been in a 6-3 win over the A's eight days ago, and this time his teammates gave him a huge early cushion.

Ron Darling's only two previous starts against the Orioles came exactly one year apart -- on May 31, 1992 and 1993. They resulted in almost identical losses, 4-2 last year and 3-1 this season. In those two starts, Darling (5-8) had a 2.64 ERA and the current Orioles had a collective batting average of only .127 (10-for-79) against him going into last night's game.

Those numbers, however, were altered rather dramatically during the right-hander's short stay.

The Orioles pounded a total of 14 hits against Darling and a procession of relievers, giving Moyer a comfortable cushion. And Devereaux was the trigger man.

"We've been waiting for Devo to bust loose for about a month," said manager Johnny Oates. "He's been spending a lot of time with Biagini working on hitting the ball all over -- and he used up just about all of the field tonight."

For his part, Devereaux figures he's just one of the cogs in the lineup. "The main thing is we've got so many people on this club that can step up to the plate and contribute," he said.

"You've got a guy like Chris Hoiles hitting seventh with 24 home runs and David Segui behind him hitting almost .300 [.290], and now we've got Pags [Pagliarulo]. There's a lot of guys who can do some damage."

Pagliarulo's home run last night was his eighth of the year -- his fifth since being obtained from the Minnesota Twins less than a month ago. He has 16 of his 39 RBI in 18 games with the Orioles.

AL EAST RACE

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

Toronto .. 81 .. 63 .. .. .563 .. .. --

Orioles .. 79 .. 64 .. .. .552 .. .. 1 1/2

New York ..79 .. 65 .. .. .549 .. .. 2

Yesterday's results

Orioles 14, Oakland 5

Toronto 4, California 1

Kansas City 10, New York 2

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