O's out-rally Jays, 11-10, with 2 in 9th Bonilla's sac fly drives home Anderson with winning run

Coppinger (5-0) gets win

Pinch hitter Alomar delivers tying run

July 18, 1996|By JASON LaCSANFORA | JASON LaCSANFORA,SUN STAFF

The Orioles rallied in the ninth inning for the second time in three nights to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-10, last night before 45,955 at Camden Yards.

Bobby Bonilla delivered the winning blow, a sacrifice fly to shallow left field that scored Brady Anderson with the winning run. Roberto Alomar, who didn't start because of his sprained left ring finger, had tied the game at 10 with a sacrifice fly three batters earlier.

As he was in Monday's 8-6 Orioles victory, Blue Jays closer Mike Timlin was on the mound, the loser after a blown save.

Luis Polonia started the comeback with a slap single. Anderson smacked a broken-bat single just beyond the glove of Jays first ** baseman Joe Carter, moving Polonia to third base.

Orioles manager Davey Johnson said before the game he would only use Alomar as a pinch hitter if the game was on the line, and now Alomar had his chance.

He flew out to deep center, only his fourth RBI since June 14, scoring Polonia and evening the score at 10.

Cal Ripken walked, Rafael Palmeiro was intentionally walked, and a passed ball moved the runners over for Bonilla.

Orioles rookie Rocky Coppinger got the victory, improving to 5-0.

The win was not without its costs.

All of the Jays' runs meant lots of work for the Orioles' relief staff, a bullpen in need of rest. And the hitter-friendly confines at

Fenway Park in Boston, where the Orioles begin a four-game series tonight, intensify the need for a strong bullpen.

The Orioles marched four relievers out last night, enough to leave any team short-handed. But with Roger McDowell and Armando Benitez on the disabled list and Arthur Rhodes unable to pitch with shoulder problems, the trouble intensifies.

Coppinger was supposed to start tomorrow, but he pitched 1 1/3 innings last night. Jimmy Haynes has thrown 5 1/3 innings in the past three days. Jesse Orsco made his second appearance in three days. And Alan Mills went 2 2/3 innings last night, his longest appearance of the year.

The Orioles took an 8-7 lead in the seventh when Mike Devereaux ended a 15-batter Baltimore drought with a home run to left-center field. But Haynes gave the lead back in the eighth.

Jacob Brumfield doubled and moved to third on Charlie O'Brien's blooper to shallow left. Robert Perez laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third, and Alex Gonzalez cleared the bases with a single to give the Blue Jays a 9-8 lead but was thrown out trying for a double.

Otis Nixon reached on a bunt and Orosco replaced Haynes. Nixon stole second base, his third steal of the game, and scored on Juan Samuel's hit to right. Coppinger, scheduled to start tomorrow night in Boston, was the fourth reliever to take the mound for the Orioles.

He closed out the eighth and pitched a scoreless ninth, getting his fifth win against no losses.

The game opened as a race between the Orioles' Kent Mercker and Blue Jays' Erik Hanson to see which starting pitcher would be the first to get yanked. Hanson was the winner in that regard, but Mercker wasn't far behind.

Hanson was spotted 2-0 and 3-1 leads and quickly gave them away. He lasted just 1 1/3 innings, his shortest start since September 1992.

The Orioles jumped on him in the first inning. Mike Devereaux and Rafael Palmeiro walked and Bobby Bonilla drove Devereaux home with a two-out single to right. But Bonilla tried to stretch the hit into a double and was thrown out easily at second, taking Hanson off the hook.

But the hook found him in the second inning, when all nine Orioles hitters came to the plate. B. J. Surhoff singled, then Chris Hoiles homered to left on a 1-0 pitch. Jeff Huson singled and Manny Alexander advanced him to second on a sacrifice bunt. Brady Anderson walked and Devereaux singled, scoring Huson.

Manager Davey Johnson then reverted to National League strategy and called a double steal, which was executed perfectly, Anderson beating the throw to third and Devereaux taking second.

Palmeiro rendered the strategy moot, anyway, sending a 2-0 pitch over the scoreboard in right field for his 24th homer, a three-run shot that gave the Orioles a 7-3 lead.

bTC Hanson was finished. He gave up seven earned runs on six hits and walked three.

Mercker, making his first start since June 18, seemed determined to match Hanson's proficiency at serving up the long ball. He also gave up two homers, six hits and seven runs (six were earned) in three innings.

Otis Nixon opened the game with a single to center and went to third on Tomas Perez's double. Juan Samuel drove in the game's first run with a flyout to right field, sending Perez to third base. Joe Carter knocked Perez home with a groundout to Cal Ripken at third base.

Ed Sprague walked, and, with two outs, pitching coach Pat Dobson made a trip to the mound. Mercker settled down after the visit, getting the third out on a fielder's choice.

Robert Perez doubled with one out in the second inning and scored when Alexander failed to field Otis Nixon's routine grounder at short. Alexander, starting in his third straight since Ripken was moved to third, was booed heavily after the error.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Boston Red Sox

Site: Fenway Park, Boston

Time: 7: 05

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' David Wells (5-9, 5.07) vs. Red Sox's Aaron Sele (4-5, 5.74)

Pub Date: 7/18/96

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