Davis, Alomar turn on power for O's Outfielder gets four hits, HR

second baseman beats Brewers with 3-run HR, 5-4

September 28, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

MILWAUKEE -- Since the Orioles are keeping an eye toward the playoffs as they wind down the regular season, Eric Davis may as well give manager Davey Johnson what he wants to see. What he needs to see.

Playing the night after receiving a chemotherapy treatment here, Eric Davis collected four hits, including his first home run in more than four months, and Roberto Alomar landed the decisive blow in the ninth to provide a splash of drama to a 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers before 34,083 at County Stadium.

Alomar hit a three-run homer off Milwaukee closer Doug Jones, who hadn't allowed an earned run in his previous 27 innings. It was only his second blown save try this year, and it assured the Orioles (97-64) of finishing with a better record than the New York Yankees and avoiding the embarrassment of an unsightly asterisk. If the teams had finished tied for first, the Orioles would have been awarded the title by virtue of winning the season series.

The Orioles now have one game remaining before the postseason, and better reason to believe that Davis can be a factor.

"That's big for me. He just certified his postseason role," Johnson said.

Davis last connected on May 6 against the Anaheim Angels' Chuck Finley. Last night's homer, off starter Jeff D'Amico in the third, traveled 380 feet into the left-field seats.

His output was a stark contrast to his first attempt at playing the night after chemotherapy, when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in a Sept. 18 loss to the Brewers at Camden Yards. He's now 7-for-25 since rejoining the club Sept. 15.

Davis, who moved his treatments from Wednesdays to Fridays -- he has nine remaining -- to make himself more available in the postseason, expects to be in the lineup again today in the regular-season finale. It will be the second time he has started consecutive games since undergoing colon-cancer surgery on June 13.

"I got some good pitches to hit and didn't miss them today," Davis said. "I was a little tired and it actually relaxed me."

Johnson had been watching Davis closely, monitoring his health and performance before determining how much he'll play in the Division Series. His body willing, it should be a substantial amount, with Seattle starting three left-handers.

zTC The home run, Davis' eighth, reduced Milwaukee's lead to 3-1 and seemed to lift the entire team. The Orioles scored again in the fourth inning on a two-out double by Geronimo Berroa and a single by Mike Bordick, who has hit safely in 11 of his past 13 games. And they opened the fifth with a double by Alomar and Davis' single, putting runners on the corners. But Rafael Palmeiro and B. J. Surhoff popped out and Cal Ripken bounced to short.

Davis' fourth hit, off reliever Mark Davis in the seventh inning, almost produced the tying run. But Brady Anderson was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Darrin Jackson, with catcher Jesse Levis reaching to make the tag as Anderson went in standing.

Alomar's homer down the line in right was his 14th this season and his third hit of the night. It also came exactly a year after his spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck in Toronto, a subject he won't discuss.

"I'm real happy. I'm swinging the bat real well and playing good baseball," said Alomar, who is 35-for-71 during his past 19 games. "Health-wise, I'm not 100 percent. I'm maybe 90, 95 percent. But I just go out there and do my best."

Bordick led off the ninth with a single and moved to third on a double to right by Anderson. Alomar then crushed a 1-1 pitch from Jones (6-6) into the seats in right, and closer Randy Myers worked a perfect ninth to become the first pitcher to save 45 games in both leagues.

Making his final start before pitching Game 2 in Seattle, Scott Erickson endured a painful first inning and lasted through the sixth, allowing three runs (two earned) and six hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out five, remaining winless since Sept. 6.

For the second straight night, the Orioles were ambushed early by a Milwaukee team trying to secure at least a share of second place in the AL Central. As in Friday's 4-2 loss, they fell behind 3-0 in the first.

Jeff Cirillo doubled down the right-field line for one run, and Jeromy Burnitz followed with his 26th home run, and second in two nights.

D'Amico left after five innings with a 3-2 lead. Alan Mills walked in a run in the seventh, but Alomar wiped away the deficit with one swing, making a winner of Terry Mathews (4-4).

He also took care of the asterisk.

Orioles today

Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers

Site: County Stadium, Milwaukee

Time: 2: 05 p.m.

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Jimmy Key (16-10, 3.30) vs. Brewers' Scott Karl (10-13, 4.37)

Pub Date: 9/28/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.