Hoiles' single throws out Royals, 6-4 Victimized by 3 steals, O's catcher answers with 2-run hit in 8th

Palmeiro HR in 8th ties it

Kamieniecki goes 4 2/3

bullpen again shines

April 04, 1997|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Frustrated by opposing base runners and a bit of larceny, Chris Hoiles got even last night. Singling home two runners with two outs in a three-run eighth inning, Hoiles pushed the Orioles to a 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals before 43,031 at Camden Yards.

The Orioles forced a 4-4 tie when Rafael Palmeiro led off the eighth inning against Royals closer Jeff Montgomery with a home run sliced to left field. Eric Davis followed with a single and eventually stole second, leaving first base open for B. J. Surhoff to receive an intentional walk.

Jeffrey Hammonds pushed both runners into scoring position with a smash that third baseman Craig Paquette turned into a highlight stop, reducing the would-be double to a second out. But Hoiles made the extra base count. With first base again open, he was allowed to hit. Hoiles punished a 1-2 pitch to center field to complete the rally.

The turnabout represented justice for Hoiles. Possessing little power, the Royals tried to take the game with their feet, stealing three times, once without drawing a throw from the catcher. Hoiles also had come within several feet of tying the game in the sixth inning only to be robbed of at least extra bases by center fielder Tom Goodwin.

The win also rewarded a lockdown performance by the bullpen, which checked the Royals after they had taken a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning. Terry Mathews, Arthur Rhodes and Randy Myers combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Myers pitched the ninth, allowing a two-out triple to Goodwin, for his second save.

For the second time in as many games, the Orioles turned to an alternative starter. With Rocky Coppinger disabled by shoulder soreness, Kamieniecki was offered his first start in nearly 11 months a day after Jimmy Key won in place of Mike Mussina.

While the Orioles obtained Key as a constant, they remain hopeful regarding Kamieniecki. Last night, he offered glimmers of promise sandwiched between moments of self-doubt as the Royals punished him for early sloppiness and middle-inning fatigue.

Kamieniecki, 32, appeared for the first time since last May 24. Recurring elbow problems have dogged him, blunting potential that enabled him to win 10 games with the 1993 New York Yankees. He began last night's start with 16 wins since, including only one during his lost '96 season.

Having made only one start in seven appearances this spring, Kamieniecki never progressed beyond a three-inning outing. He barely cleared the first, however.

Tentative at first, Kamieniecki required 28 pitches, 15 minutes and a lengthy visit from pitching coach Ray Miller to escape the inning. The Royals scored their first earned run of the season due largely to the right-hander's generosity.

Kamieniecki walked leadoff hitter Jose Offerman, got two infield outs, then nearly imploded. Following a stolen base by Offerman, Jeff King walked and Jay Bell singled for a 1-0 lead.

Kamieniecki's third walk loaded the bases, but the threat died when Cal Ripken gloved Jermaine Dye's liner at third.

The Orioles quickly claimed the lead in the inning's bottom half. Consecutive two-out singles by Palmeiro and Davis preceded a balk by Royals starter Jose Rosado. Ripken followed with a two-hop grounder that devoured backpedaling third baseman Craig Paquette. The error allowed two runs.

Kamieniecki retired 10 of the next 12 hitters he faced, overcoming a Ripken error and a Bell single in the third inning.

However, his strong run ended in the fifth. Two outs short of making himself eligible for his first win since last April 24, Kamieniecki stumbled. Before leaving in favor of Mathews, the Royals tied the game on King's fielder's choice then reclaimed the lead on Bell's two-run homer to left field.

The homer represented Bell's fifth consecutive hit. Bell's homer aside, the Royals tormented the Orioles with little ball. They stole three times through seven innings and attempted a fourth that Rhodes stymied by breaking from the mound to go after Goodwin. The Royals' three-run fifth also included Bip Roberts' hit-and-run single.

Because Kamieniecki received his start as fallout from Coppinger being disabled Monday, he technically represents the Orioles' fifth starter. How big the role? Since last May 26, Orioles fifth starters have managed only one win.

The Orioles again responded quickly against Rosado; but again they left the inning frustrated.

Jeff Reboulet and Brady Anderson began the Orioles' fifth with singles and advanced to second and third on Mike Bordick's second sacrifice in as many games. Palmeiro brought the Orioles within 4-3 on a soft grounder and the threat ended when Davis fouled out to first.

More futility followed in the sixth. With the tying run at first, Surhoff and Hoiles each launched towering shots to center field. Hoiles' two-out fly ball backed center fielder Goodwin against the wall, where for the second time in a seven-inning span he leaped to take away extra bases.

Rosado left after six innings, yielding to Jamie Walker. Unlike Wednesday, when he took the loss, Walker pitched ably. But thanks to Hoiles' redemptive hit, the outcome was the same for the Royals.

Pub Date: 4/04/97

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