Ripken delivers late punch as O's drop Jays again

June 26, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Wind and chill brought about the closing of the retractable roof as the middle innings gave way to the late innings of yesterday's game at SkyDome between the visiting Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays.

With it came the closing of an era.

The late innings in this rivalry, dominated by the Blue Jays for so long, belong to the Orioles now, a point they hammered home for the second day in a row.

Cal Ripken hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning and Chris Hoiles homered with the bases empty in the ninth to lead the Orioles past the Blue Jays, 4-1, in front of 50,528 at SkyDome.

In handing the Blue Jays their seventh consecutive defeat, the Orioles broke late from a 1-1 tie for the second game in a row.

They ensured themselves of winning a SkyDome series for the third time in 11 series in the building. Ace Mike Mussina will attempt to deliver the Orioles their first series sweep at SkyDome today.

The Orioles are 5-0 against the Blue Jays this season and have outscored the two-time defending World Series champions 23-7.

Two games into their first winning series at SkyDome since 1991, the Orioles have outscored the Blue Jays 7-0 in the eighth and ninth innings.

"You try not to think about history," Ripken said. "But when you come in here and get involved in a tight ballgame, you can't help but think about what's happened before. Every time you come out on the right side of a comeback, it adds to the confidence of your season. You kind of defeat some of the history."

The history coming into this season gave the Blue Jays a 20-12 advantage at their new home against the Orioles. Toronto won 10 of those games in its last at-bat.

Yet, here the Blue Jays were with Juan Guzman's fastball at its overpowering best, and still they couldn't defeat Jamie Moyer and the Orioles.

Moyer, who lasted one batter into the seventh inning, cured his first-inning blues and limited the Blue Jays to one run. He allowed six hits and one walk and struck out three.

He didn't earn the win. That went to Mark Eichhorn (4-1) for the second day in a row. Eichhorn pitched two shutout innings and left the ninth for Lee Smith, who earned his 25th save in 28 chances.

Randy Knorr ended Toronto's string of at-bats without a homer at 163 with a bases-empty shot to left off Moyer with one out in the fifth.

It tied the game, 1-1.

The Orioles had taken the lead in the second with the aid of a throwing error by shortstop Domingo Cedeno on Leo Gomez's ground ball. Gomez went to second on Hoiles' walk, took third on Mark McLemore's broken-bat single to right field and scored when first base umpire Dan Morrison called Jeffrey Hammonds safe at first, in contrast to replays that suggested Hammonds had grounded into an inning-ending double play.

McLemore's single was the only hit off Guzman through 7 2/3 innings.

At that point, Rafael Palmeiro lined a sharp single to right, bringing up Ripken, who popped up in the infield his first three trips to the plate. Guzman jammed Ripken again, but did not get away with it this time. Ripken's ninth home run cleared the fence in the left-field corner.

"I was late all day," Ripken said. "I cheated a little on that one."

It was enough to turn Guzman (6-8, 5.95) into the losing pitcher despite the fact he dominated the Orioles most of the day.

"That was as good a fastball as we've seen all year," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said.

Said Ripken: "It very well could have been."

Moyer, though using different means to do the job, was no less effective.

Winless in June, Moyer had allowed 10 runs in the first innings of his previous four starts, and Devon White led off with a here-we-go-again double.

"I did make a mistake to White," Moyer said. "But it didn't continually happen. It didn't happen with the next guy and the next guy and the next guy."

Roberto Alomar struck out. Paul Molitor grounded out and Joe Carter fouled to third as Moyer bid farewell to his first-inning woes.

"Other than not long-tossing, I really didn't do anything different before the game today," Moyer said.

After Knorr's home run tied it, the Blue Jays threatened to take the lead in the seventh, but the Orioles' defense wouldn't let them.

Ed Sprague led off with a single to left, and was sacrificed to pTC second before McLemore stole a run with his glove. Ranging way to his left, McLemore threw out Cedeno as Sprague advanced to third.

Up next, White drove a ball to shallow center. Brady Anderson, charging with the crack of the bat, made a sliding catch.

"When I saw it come off the bat I thought it was trouble," Oates said. "Then I remembered Brady was playing center. He plays so shallow he's practically standing behind second base."

NO JAYWALKING IN '94

The Orioles haven't won a season series against Toronto since 1989, when they went 7-6 against the Blue Jays. This year, though, the Orioles have matched their win total of each of the past four years, taking the first five games.

Year .. .. ..Home .. .. ..Road .. .. ..Total

1990 .. .. ...3-3 .. .. ...2-5 .. .. .. .5-8

1991 .. .. ...2-5 .. .. ...3-3 .. .. .. .5-8

1992 .. .. ...3-3 .. .. ...2-5 .. .. ....5-8

1993 .. .. ...3-4 .. .. ...2-4 .. .. .. .5-8

1994 .. .. ...3-0 .. .. ...2-0 .. .. .. .5-0

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