O's stand toe to toe, slug Seattle 3 home runs in 8th power Orioles to 10-9 comeback victory

Teams combine for 8 HRs

Lewis spots Mariners 4-0 lead before 1st out

June 02, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Home run derby broke out last night between the Orioles and Seattle Mariners. No minor feat, the Orioles took down the game's leaders in that category.

A three-homer breakout in the eighth inning gave the Orioles their most inspirational comeback this season. Beating the Mariners at their own game, the Orioles won, 10-9, after trailing 4-0 before the game's first out. They didn't find the lead until two outs into the eighth inning when Sunday's foil, first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, reached left-hander Tony Fossas for a searing home run to right center, the eighth of the game.

Bumping their record to 26-30, the Orioles crafted a magical inning against an overmatched bullpen. Brady Anderson and Eric Davis homered back-to-back earlier in the inning. Anderson's was a two-run shot to pull the Orioles within 9-8. Davis' blast followed his near-ejection by plate umpire Al Clark for arguing a called strike. The win was only the Orioles' second in 25 games when trailing after seven innings.

For at least one night the Orioles found a connection to 1997.

Richie Lewis, a former castoff, gave the Orioles 4 1/3 innings in an emergency start. Jesse Orosco, the ancient left-hander, and Armando Benitez combined to pitch a scoreless ninth against the middle of the Mariners' lineup.

For only the third time this season and the first time since April 18, the Orioles won when allowing more than three runs. They did it by answering every Mariners rally with one of their own and scoring 10 runs for the first time in 40 games.

Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez crashed two home runs and first baseman David Segui delivered a first-inning three-run homer among his four RBIs. But second baseman Roberto Alomar answered with a four-hit, four-RBI game including the first of four late-inning home runs by the Orioles. Palmeiro, booed off the field Sunday against the Texas Rangers, returned for four hits including his most influential home run of the season.

The Mariners, who hit six homers Sunday against Tampa Bay and lead the majors with 94, hit four home runs and lost. The Orioles twice trailed by four runs and won. True, it's only one game. But it was a game unlike any other the Orioles had played during a sometimes moribund and always disappointing season.

For one night, a Camden Yards crowd stood with two outs in the ninth inning. For one night, the music again played within a clubhouse that has too often lost in predictable ways.

Down 9-6 entering the eighth, Anderson began the comeback with a two-run homer off Fossas. Davis followed and nearly failed to make it through his at-bat. He barked over a called strike from Clark and had to be restrained by manager Ray Miller. On the next pitch he tied the game.

Two hitters later Palmeiro gave the Orioles their only lead of the night. It was the only lead that counted.

In the first, leadoff batter Joey Cora singled and AL home run leader Alex Rodriguez walked, bringing the inning to Ken Griffey, who singled to drive in a run. Segui, trade bait before the Orioles last June, then crushed a pitch over the right-field scoreboard for his 10th home run.

Before getting his first out Lewis received a mound visit from pitching coach Mike Flanagan and a chorus of boos from a well-practiced crowd.

Martinez singled to become the Mariners' fifth consecutive hitter to reach. Glenallen Hill then began a turnaround for Lewis by hitting into a 5-4-3 double play.

The Orioles countered quickly against Mariners left-hander Jeff Fassero. A two-out throwing error by third baseman Russ Davis stoked a two-run rally. After Joe Carter reached second on Davis' error, Palmeiro doubled to right field to stem a 2-for-17 slump that had seen him strand nine runners during an 0-for-5 Sunday.

Alomar continued the rally with a single to score Palmeiro for a 4-2 game.

Lewis, who struck out 14 in his last start at Rochester May 23, bobbed and weaved but survived for another three innings. He walked three in the second inning, but was helped by Rob Ducey getting thrown out by Chris Hoiles on a bizarre steal attempt.

The Mariners pushed the lead to 5-2 in the third when Martinez continued a monster night with a bases-empty home run to left field.

Again the Orioles answered against Fassero. Again they were aided by an error from Davis.

Carter walked then took third when Palmeiro's one-hopper caught him on an awkward hop. With runners at first and second, Alomar produced his second RBI on a single. Cal Ripken singled to bring the Orioles within 5-4.

Within smelling distance of a tie game, Lewis finally buckled in the fifth inning after 83 pitches. A third walk to Rodriguez was followed by a Griffey double. Segui added his fourth RBI on a sacrifice fly that pulled Surhoff to the warning track in left-center.

Trailing 6-4, Miller imported Terry Mathews into a setting that offered nothing but bad memories. The last time Mathews faced the Mariners at Camden Yards was during Game 3 of last year's Division Series when he allowed consecutive home runs. Booed NTC from the field, he was never seen again during the postseason.

The same sentiment awaited last night. So did the same result.

Martinez, the first batter Mathews faced, jumped him for a two-run homer that restored a four-run lead. Hill followed with a double before Mathews got the inning's final two outs but the crowd still hooted after him.

Orioles today

Opponent: Seattle Mariners

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 3: 05 p.m.

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Mariners' Jamie Moyer (3-5, 2.98) vs. O's Doug Drabek (5-5, 5.34)

Tickets: 1,600 remain

Pub Date: 6/02/98

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