Behind 8 ball, O's use it to pocket 8-4 win

June 16, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

Chris Hoiles had to win last night's game against the New York Yankees not once, but twice.

And considering what a big win it was, Hoiles probably should be credited with two game-winning RBIs.

Hoiles homered in the seventh inning to give the Orioles a one-run lead that quickly turned into a one-run deficit. Not to worry, he came back to drive in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the Orioles' five-run eighth inning.

The 8-4 comeback victory enabled the Orioles to move within two games of the first-place Yankees in the American League East race.

It came one night after Lee Smith's throwing error in the ninth led to his third blown save.

"Last night they got us with the best closer in baseball on the mound," Hoiles said. "Tonight we got them. With our offense, those kinds of innings shouldn't be so rare. They should happen all the time."

They haven't. It was the first time the Orioles came from behind to win a game in their last at-bat.

"You have no idea how good that inning felt," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said.

The Orioles batted around, scored five runs, exposed the Yankees' bullpen and killed any thoughts of a Yankees sweep all in one crucial inning.

The Yankees had scored a pair of runs in the eighth on Don Mattingly's bases-loaded, two-run single off of left-handed reliever Jim Poole.

The big inning took a potential loss away from Jamie Moyer, who deserved better.

Rafael Palmeiro led off the eighth inning with a single that extended his hitting streak to 16 games. At that point, Yankees manager Buck Showalter replaced left-hander Paul Gibson with right-hander Bob Wickman.

Pinch runner Mark McLemore stole second and Cal Ripken walked. Leo Gomez scorched an 0-2 pitch to left for a double that bounced over the fence, preventing Ripken from scoring, but tying the game.

"I think that was the biggest win of the year for us," Gomez said. "You look in the dugout, you see everyone cheering for you and I just say let's make everybody happy."

Gomez did, again.

Then Harold Baines was walked intentionally, loading the bases for Hoiles, who delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly.

The Orioles, hampered by a lack of clutch hitting throughout the first 25 innings of this series, didn't stop once they got started. Tim Hulett doubled in a run, chasing Wickman, and Jack Voigt delivered a broken-bat single off Xavier Hernandez that drove in a pair of runs.

Alan Mills earned the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the Orioles, who will attempt to gain a split in the four-game series that concludes tonight with a Jimmy Key-Mike Mussina pitching matchup.

Another fall-from-ahead loss could have put the Orioles way down in the dumps.

Mattingly's bases-loaded, two-run single to right off of Poole with one out in the eighth inning gave the Yankees a one-run lead.

Poole came on in relief of Moyer to face Wade Boggs with runners on the corners, one out, and the Orioles leading 3-2.

Poole got ahead of Boggs 0-and-2 before walking him in an 11-pitch at-bat. Boggs fouled off five pitches with two strikes and kept his bat on his shoulder for three borderline pitches that went his way.

The walk loaded the bases for Mattingly, who responded.

Hoiles had given the Orioles a 3-2 lead by leading off the seventh with his ninth home run, off left-hander Jim Abbott, who allowed three runs in seven innings. The way the Yankees played defense last night, it seemed hitting the ball out of the ballpark was about the only way the Orioles were going to score.

Chris Sabo's first-inning home run tied the score, 2-2. Abbott and Moyer traded zeros until Hoiles gave the Orioles the lead in the seventh.

Moyer's pitching line shows he allowed four earned runs in 7 1/3 innings. He allowed six hits, walked one, and struck out five. Statistics deceived on this night as Moyer gave the Orioles a strong outing for the fourth time in his past five starts.

The Yankees played spectacular defense behind Abbott to preserve a 2-2 tie and made the Orioles regret a base-running gamble in the fifth that not only ended the inning but resulted in an injury to Mike Devereaux.

Orioles third base coach Jerry Narron sent Devereaux home on Palmeiro's pop to shallow center and Bernie Williams threw him out. On his way to the plate, Devereaux pulled a leg muscle.

After both experienced rough first innings, Abbott and Moyer locked up in an impressive pitching duel.

The Yankees scored a pair of runs off Moyer in the first, but the Orioles caught up as quickly as they possibly could have against Abbott.

Anderson beat out an infield hit, bringing Sabo to the plate. Not a boo in the house. Those days were over almost before they started.

Sabo took ball one, then hit Abbott's next pitch into the left-field bleachers for his fourth home run. Just like that, Moyer had caught up and Sabo had more than compensated for a blunder afield.

Williams had led off the Yankees' first with what should have been a single to right, but it was played into a double by Sabo.

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