Vaughn's HR in 9th blasts Orioles, 7-5 2-out, 3-run homer off Myers overcomes Hoiles' go-ahead shot

Anderson hits his 30th

Orioles entered game 37-0 leading after 8

July 08, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

On the Fourth of July, Mo Vaughn popped out against Orioles closer Randy Myers to end the game, with the tying runs on base, and manager Davey Johnson said the anxiety caused him to resume chewing tobacco.

Look for the bulk shipment of chaw to arrive at Camden Yards after last night's game: With two outs in the top of the ninth, the Orioles leading 5-4, Vaughn hit a three-run homer off Myers and Boston won in shocking fashion, 7-5, before 47,075 at Camden Yards. It was Vaughn's second homer of the game, and his 27th of the year.

The Orioles go into the break with a 46-39 record, meaning they're two games under .500 since they started the year 11-2. Before last night, they were 37-0 when leading after eight innings.

Boston led 4-1 after 6 1/2 innings, but Brady Anderson hit a two-run homer in the seventh, Anderson's 30th of the year, and Chris Hoiles hit a two-run shot in the eighth.

Myers came out for the top of the ninth, and retired the first two hitters he faced. But Myers walked Jeff Frye, hitting .224, bringing him into the heart of the Boston lineup. Shortstop John Valentin singled past shortstop, putting two men on.

Myers then left a pitch over the plate and Vaughn belted it; he stood at home and watched -- like everyone else in the park, he was awed. The ball carried to the last 10 rows of the center-field bleachers, a 457-foot bomb, the second-longest shot in the history of Camden Yards. Oakland's Pedro Munoz hit the longest, 463 feet, on May 25.

Vaughn hit nearly 300 yards worth of homers, his first homer having traveled 417 feet to Eutaw Street. He entered the night without a homer in 13 games.

The Orioles trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh against Boston's Tom Gordon. One out into the inning, Luis Polonia walked and Boston manager Kevin Kennedy walked slowly to the mound to talk with Gordon. Gordon threw the first pitch to Anderson, a hanging slider. Wham. Anderson, who leads the majors in homers, lifted it over the right-field scoreboard. The three-run lead was down to one run.

Joe Hudson relieved Mike Stanton for Boston with one out in the eighth, and Mike Devereaux singled. Hoiles took a ball, and he drilled a long shot to right -- the ball barely clearing the right-field wall. When Hoiles got back to the dugout, there was a phone call waiting for him. Alan Mills was calling from the bullpen, and as Hoiles looked out, Mills took off his cap and waved. Congratulations pal, you needed that.

The Red Sox scored two runs in the first inning in a very direct manner. Valentin doubled past Orioles third baseman B. J. Surhoff, and when Scott Erickson tried to throw a fastball inside to Vaughn, Erickson didn't get the pitch far enough inside; Vaughn blistered a tremendous homer.

Having established the lead, the Red Sox spent the next five innings protecting that slim margin. Successfully, fighting through the pressure applied by the Orioles.

First inning. Polonia, the leadoff hitter for the Orioles in the absence of Roberto Alomar, fouled off a series of pitches before smacking a single to center. Anderson singled, and Polonia stopped at second.

Cal Ripken popped out to second, flipping his bat away in disgust. Gordon, who pitched with deep respect for Rafael Palmeiro all night, kept firing at the outside corner and Palmeiro hit a blooper into short left. Boston's left fielder Reggie Jefferson rushed in -- and dropped the ball. But Polonia, running conservatively, was forced at third on a close play. Bobby Bonilla grounded out, and the Orioles, hitting .205 with runners in scoring position in the six games before last night, had missed another chance.

The Orioles' offense churned to life again in the third. Polonia singled and Anderson pulled a double over the first base bag, and by the time Red Sox right fielder Troy O'Leary had retrieved the ball, the Orioles had second and third with nobody out.

Ripken smashed a liner down the third base line, and this was one of those moments upon which a game can turn. If Ripken's ball were to go down in the corner, one or two runs would score.

But Boston third baseman Tim Naehring, playing near the line against the pull-hitting Ripken, dove to his right and gloved the ball. Polonia and Anderson froze, and Naehring raised up and threw out Ripken by a step.

Boston manager Kevin Kennedy then gambled, ordering an intentional walk of Palmeiro, loading the bases for Bonilla. This with the Red Sox leading by two runs, in the fourth inning.

Bonilla flied to right, scoring one run, but Kennedy had elicited the second out he needed. Gordon pitched around the left-handed-hitting Surhoff, walking him on four pitches to fill the bases for the second time in the inning, to get to the right-handed-hitting Mike Devereaux. Gordon, who had held Devereaux to three hits in 20 at-bats, made the strategy work, striking out the Orioles left fielder.

Boston added two cheap runs in the sixth inning, a rally set up by Erickson's leadoff walk of Vaughn. Jose Canseco bounced a single to center. Erickson broke Naehring's bat with a fastball, but Naehring had enough strength to lift the ball over the infield. Bases loaded, and the Red Sox hadn't hit the ball hard once.

The bloopers kept on coming. Jefferson, hitting left-handed, dumped a ball down the left-field line, and Vaughn scored. Mike Stanley flied out to short right and Canseco had to stay at third, but the Red Sox got another run on a grounder to first by O'Leary. Boston led, 4-1.

Pub Date: 7/08/96

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