Griffey's blast from past top's O's

April 25, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

Five clues: Two men on base. Brad Pennington. Eutaw Street. Ken Griffey. The warehouse.

Now, guess what happened.

Griffey hit a Pennington fastball for a three-run home run that bounced off Eutaw Street and ricocheted off the warehouse.

Brilliant deduction, Sherlock. However did you guess?

Pennington threw only two pitches in the eighth inning, enough to turn him into public enemy No. 1 at Camden Yards, where most of the 46,640 in attendance howled disapprovingly as the Seattle Mariners came from behind to defeat the Orioles, 7-6.

Griffey's three-run home run came on Pennington's second pitch. The young left-hander's first pitch might have gone nearly as far in the other direction if not for the backstop. His bases-loaded pitch in the dirt brought Seattle within two.

Griffey dug his spikes in a little deeper and aimed for the warehouse he hit on the fly during last summer's All-Star Game home run hitting contest.

Pennington, who replaced Jamie Moyer with nobody out and the bases loaded, didn't take the crowd's reaction personally.

"I was booing, too," Pennington said. "We worked so hard for that 6-3 lead. Those fans have the right to boo me."

And boo they did, though they didn't make Pennington the only target. They let Orioles manager Johnny Oates have it as well for using Pennington, who in his past five appearances covering 3 1/3 innings has allowed nine hits, five walks and two three-run home runs.

Left-hander Jim Poole, who has appeared in 10 games and warmed up 10 more times, was not up when the Mariners softly loaded the bases against Moyer with a walk sandwiched between two singles.

Poole told Oates before the game that he was available, despite having been used six times in the previous nine days. Oates did not want to burn out the only proven left-handed reliever in the organization.

"Eventually, we're going to have to use someone besides Lee Smith and Jim Poole," Oates said. "We can't use them every time."

After Mark Eichhorn replaced Pennington, the Mariners loaded the bases on Jay Buhner's sun-aided double that escaped center fielder Brady Anderson's sight, a two-out intentional walk to Tino Martinez, and a walk to Dan Wilson.

This time, Oates summoned Poole, who was sufficiently warmed up to retire pinch hitter Brian Turang on a fly to right.

Pennington questioned himself for throwing Griffey a fastball.

"After today, everyone can see I'm going to have to do something differently against left-handers," Pennington said. "What I'm doing now is not working. Evidently, my fastball just isn't getting by these good hitters. Maybe I need to take a different approach and try to trick them."

It is questionable Pennington will get the chance to alter his game plan against major-league hitters. A roster move appears imminent, and right-hander Mike Oquist is the most likely candidate for promotion.

If Pennington makes the trip to Rochester, he will fly roughly one mile for every foot Griffey's ball traveled.

Griffey's cannonball became the fourth home run hit onto Eutaw Street, all by opposing players, all but yesterday's hit in 1992.

"I think he hit a ball as good as anybody's ever hit one here," Pennington said.

Just about. Griffey's ball carried 438 feet, the longest of the four Eutaw Street rockets hit in regular-season games. The others: Lee Stevens, 430; Mickey Tettleton, 406; Kevin Reimer, 404.

Chris Hoiles hit the second-longest home run yesterday, leading off the sixth with a 420-foot shot off Seattle left-hander Greg Hibbard. Hoiles' second home run of the season gave the Orioles a 6-3 lead.

When Hoiles next went to the plate, the Orioles were trailing 7-6, and he was asked to hit the ball a lot shorter. He came up in the eighth with Rafael Palmeiro on second, where he advanced when Cal Ripken reached first on a bunt single down the third base line that headed for foul territory, hit a pebble and died in fair territory without drawing a throw.

Needing two runs and seeing double-play potential with Ripken and Hoiles running, Oates called for a bunt from Hoiles, who had doubled and homered against Hibbard. Right-hander Bobby Ayala was on the mound.

Hoiles attempted to get a bunt down, failed to get wood on the outside pitch, and watched Palmeiro get picked off second by Wilson, the Mariners' catcher.

A successful bunt would have put two runners in scoring position for Lonnie Smith. Instead, Hoiles went on to strike out and Smith bounced to third.

End of rally.

Ayala pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for not only his first save, but the team's first. Left-hander John Cummings, who struck out two in a 1-2-3 seventh and was pulled after Palmeiro's leadoff single in the eighth, earned his first major-league victory.

The Mariners (6-11) won and stayed in the thick of the laughable American League West race despite committing two errors in the three-run second and one in the two-run third. Three of the Orioles' runs were unearned.

LONG WAY HOME

/# Longest homers at Camden Yards:

Date .. .. .. ..Player,team .. .. .. ..feet

9/26/92 .. .. ..Eric Davis,Det. .. .. . 462

7/26/92 .. .. ..Juan Gonzalez,Tex. .. ..450

4/04/94 .. .. ..Ken Griffey, Sea. .. ...438

ORIOLES TONIGHT

Opponent: Oakland Athletics

Site: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Time: 7:35

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Athletics' Steve Karsay (1-1, 1.17) vs. Orioles' Mike Mussina (3-1, 2.17)

Tickets: About 2,000 remain, not including 275 standing-room tickets that go on sale when the gates open.

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