Moyer, Smith ground Angels

April 20, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

The Orioles continued to win their way last night at Camden Yards in the opener of an eight-game homestand.

The hard way.

They pushed their winning streak to three games with a 4-3 win over the California Angels in front of a 43,876 paying customers.

Lee Smith earned his seventh save, 12 games into his Orioles career, as the Orioles protected their position at the top of the American League East standings.

Brought into the game with one out and one on in the ninth, Smith allowed a two-out single to Damion Easley that advanced the tying run to second base.

Smith then earned his seventh save in as many tries by retiring Chad Curtis on a pop to center.

When Angels manager Buck Rodgers sent Dwight Smith in to hit for Rex Hudler with one out, Orioles manager Johnny Oates countered by bringing left-hander Jim Poole out of the bullpen. Coming into this season, the former Cubs outfielder had a .290 lifetime batting average against right-handed pitching, a .228 mark against lefties.

Smith sent a searing line drive whistling past Poole's ear and into center for a single. Exit Poole, enter Lee Smith.

Before Poole, Brad Pennington faced one batter, Mark Eichhorn three. Mark Williamson, who had thrown 52 pitches two nights earlier, and Alan Mills, used heavily of late, were spared, but Oates used the rest of his bullpen.

The Orioles (8-4) improved to 6-2 in games decided by two runs or less.

The bullpen, used heavily during a six-game road trip that concluded Sunday, was in need of a strong start and left-hander Jamie Moyer obliged.

Moyer worked two outs into the eighth and allowed three earned runs on seven hits. As usual, the ground ball was Moyer's best friend, the home run pitch his most harmful foe. Fourteen of Moyer's 23 outs came on the ground. Two of the three runs came on bases-empty home runs.

Hudler's first American League home run, to left-center on Moyer's first pitch with two outs in the seventh, was the first extra-base hit for the Angels.

Tim Salmon's third home run, to left with two outs in the eighth, put an end to Moyer's efficient evening. He handed the game to the bullpen with a 4-3 lead.

It was the sixth home run allowed in 22 innings for Moyer, who has served 95 long balls in 875 career innings.

The Orioles supported Moyer early. They used five doubles and a Jeffrey Hammonds home run off Angels starter Phil Leftwich to take a 4-1 lead through five innings.

Oates best captured the strength of the Orioles' lineup before the game.

"Every inning, I feel like the top of the order is coming up," Oates said.

The leadoff hitter reached base in five of the first six innings, but the Orioles didn't capitalize until the third, when Chris Sabo walked, took second on Mark McLemore's grounder and scored on Hammonds' line single to left.

It drew a high-and-wide throw to the plate from Bo Jackson, which enabled Hammonds to advance to second.

In the fourth, the Orioles turned doubles by Harold Baines, Cal Ripken and Sabo into two runs, for a 3-1 lead. Hammonds led off the fifth with his third home run.

After Brady Anderson's second double of the night and a Mike Devereaux single that put runners on the corners with nobody out, California manager Buck Rodgers pulled Leftwich in favor of left-hander Bob Patterson to face the Orioles' two hottest hitters.

Patterson responded, getting Palmeiro on a popup to second and inducing a double-play grounder from Baines, preventing Moyer's cushion from growing beyond three runs.

Making his third start, Moyer set the Angels down in order through three innings, six of the nine outs coming on ground balls.

The Angels' first run, coming with two outs in the fourth, was pushed across on a ground ball that escaped the range of Sabo at third. Jackson's chopper scored Chad Curtis from third and tied the game, 1-1.

Leading off, Easley reached on a bloop single to right-center. Chad Curtis followed with a line single past Sabo, pushing Easley to second. After Moyer struck out Salmon, Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles threw out Easley at third on the front end of an attempted double steal. After Jackson's run-scoring single, Moyer relied on his best friend, the ground ball, to escape as Eduardo Perez bounced to short.

ORIOLES TONIGHT

Opponent: California Angels

Site: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Time: 7:35

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Angels' Mark Leiter (1-0, 2.77) vs. Orioles' Mike Mussina (3-0, 1.74)

Tickets: About 3,000 remain, not including 275 standing-room tickets that go on sale when the gates open.

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