O's out-rally Jays, 11-10, with 2 in 9th Bonilla's sacrifice fly drives home Anderson for 2nd win in 3 games

Coppinger (5-0) gets victory

Pinch hitter Alomar delivers tying run

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

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

Bobby Bonilla delivered the decisive 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.

The Orioles blew an early 7-3 lead and lost an 8-7 advantage in the eighth inning, but Toronto's Mike Timlin (0-3) again was victimized in the ninth, failing to hold a two-run lead. The Blue Jays closer couldn't keep a three-run lead in the ninth Monday, when the Orioles rallied for an 8-6 victory.

Luis Polonia started last night's ninth-inning rally with a slap single to left field. Anderson then smacked a broken-bat single just beyond the glove of Jays first baseman Joe Carter, moving Polonia to third base.

Then Orioles manager Davey Johnson, who had said he would only use Alomar as a pinch hitter if the game was on the line, gave the All-Star second baseman a chance. He delivered, flying out to deep center, only his fourth RBI since June 14, to score Polonia and even the score at 10.

Cal Ripken walked, then a passed ball sent Anderson to third and Ripken to second. Rafael Palmeiro was intentionally

walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Bonilla, who lofted a fly ball to left. The throw from Robert Perez wasn't close, and Anderson slid in safely.

"We never quit," Anderson said. "In my opinion we've been coming back all year. Sometimes the results don't always tell the whole story. A lot of people have been waiting for us to throw in the towel, in a game, on our season. It's not going to happen. That's not going to happen ever this season."

Said Johnson: "I've got to admit that this team has a lot of character. We come back. We come back."

Orioles rookie Rocky Coppinger (5-0), making his first major-league relief appearance, pitched 1 1/3 innings and became only the second player in franchise history to win his first five decisions. Jerry Walker did it between 1957 and 1959.

Coppinger had been scheduled to start tomorrow night in Boston, but his turn in the rotation was moved to Saturday after his appearance last night.

The win was not without a cost for the Orioles, however.

All of the Jays' runs meant more work for the Orioles' relief staff, a bullpen in need of rest entering a four-game series against the Red Sox that begins tonight at hitter-friendly Fenway Park.

The Orioles used four relievers, 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.

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, 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. 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 12th in his past 14 attempts, and scored on Juan Samuel's single. Coppinger relieved Orosco, closing out the eighth and pitching a scoreless ninth.

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 1 1/3 innings, his shortest start since September 1992.

The Orioles jumped on him in the first. Devereaux and Palmeiro walked and 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, as 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. Anderson walked and Devereaux singled, scoring Huson.

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.

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.

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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