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 La CANFORA | JASON La CANFORA,SUN STAFF

Hordes of Orioles family members sat outside the clubhouse last night, waiting to join the team on its flight to Boston for a family trip.

If not for a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning, there might have been a somewhat less festive atmosphere.

The Orioles lost an early 7-3 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays and fought back to go up 9-8, then fell behind 10-8 in the eighth inning. But the Orioles stormed back again in the ninth, just as they did Monday night against Toronto, and won, 11-10, before 45,955 at Camden Yards.

Bobby Bonilla delivered the decisive blow, hitting a sacrifice fly to left field to score Brady Anderson with the winning run.

Blue Jays closer Mike Timlin was the loser, as he was Monday night, when he allowed two homers in the ninth and the Blue Jays lost, 8-6. This time he was trying to protect a 10-9 lead.

Luis Polonia started the comeback with a slap single to left. Anderson 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 Roberto Alomar as a pinch hitter if the game was on the line, gave the injured 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.

"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."

The Orioles have five wins when trailing after eight innings. Last night's 11-run outburst was the first time they scored in double digits since June 16, 27 games ago.

Rookie Rocky Coppinger, making his first relief appearance, pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, running his record to 5-0 and joining Jerry Walker as the only Orioles to win their first five decisions. Walker did it from 1957 to 1959.

But the win was not without its drawbacks.

All of the Jays' runs meant more work for the Orioles' weary relief staff. And hitter-friendly Fenway Park in Boston, where the Orioles begin a four-game series with the Red Sox tonight, magnifies the need for a strong bullpen.

The Orioles used four relievers last night, and with Roger McDowell and Armando Benitez on the disabled list and Arthur Rhodes unable to pitch with shoulder problems, the trouble intensifies.

Coppinger will start in Boston on Saturday afternoon. Jimmy Haynes has thrown 5 1/3 innings in the past three days. Jesse Orosco made his second appearance in three days. And Alan Mills went 2 2/3 innings last night, his longest appearance of the year.

Pitching coach Pat Dobson said he hopes Rhodes can give the team an inning tonight, but if not, there may be just one option.

"[Rick] Krivda, Krivda, and more Krivda," Dobson said.

Johnson said he doesn't expect to see David Wells, tonight's starter, barking at him from the mound as usual. That's because Johnson doesn't expect to make many trips to the mound.

"I want about nine innings out of Wells," Johnson said. "He doesn't like me to hook him, so I won't."

Last night's starter, Kent Mercker, didn't have that luxury. Mercker, making his first start since June 18, gave up two homers, six hits and six earned runs, and Johnson said the left-hander will be heading back to the bullpen.

Jays starter Erik Hanson lasted 1 2/3 innings, his shortest start since September 1992. He allowed two homers, six hits and seven runs and exited shortly after yielding a three-run homer to Palmeiro, putting the Orioles up 7-3.

Mercker left the game after a homer, too. Alex Gonzalez led off the fourth with a bases-empty shot that tied the game at 7. Charlie O'Brien hit a two-run homer in the third.

Blue Jays reliever Paul Spoljaric and Mills kept the score even before handing the game over to Tony Castillo and Haynes, respectively.

The Orioles went 15 batters without a hit after Palmeiro's home run, then Devereaux sent a Castillo pitch into the left-field bleachers, giving the Orioles an 8-7 lead.

But Haynes was charged with three runs as he and Orosco allowed two doubles and four singles in the eighth. Coppinger entered with the Orioles down 10-8.

"Jimmy was great," Johnson said. "I hoped to get by with him in the eighth inning. I know he didn't have much left, but I thought he could get us through it."

Bonilla led off the eighth with a double and later scored the Orioles' ninth run, setting the stage for the ninth-inning heroics.

"That's a nice win for a family trip," Johnson said. "[But] losing four games to the Yankees made it a bad homestand."

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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