Extra effort lifts O's in 10th Bats finally awaken as three-run flurry foils Phillies, 5-2

June 11, 1998|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA -- Don't be fooled. The Orioles just looked as if they were playing National League baseball the past two nights at Veterans Stadium. It was not intentional.

OK, so manager Ray Miller pulled a double switch and starting pitcher Scott Erickson scored a run, but last night's 5-2 extra-inning victory over the Philadelphia Phillies was not so much NL baseball at its best as it was the Orioles' offense remaining at rest until the game had run into overtime.

The offense simply went underground after Monday's 14-run breakout and did not really resurface until late-inning substitute Jeff Reboulet flexed some uncharacteristic muscle in the 10th inning and ignited a game-winning rally that gave the Orioles the rubber game of their second interleague series of the year.

Reboulet launched a long double off reliever Mark Leiter and came around to score the go-ahead run on singles by Brady Anderson and Rafael Palmeiro. B. J. Surhoff added a two-run single and reliever Armando Benitez pitched his second scoreless inning of relief to earn the victory as the Orioles took the rubber game of their second interleague series of the year.

It was an uplifting rally, but it came too late to reward Erickson for another solid performance. He pitched 7 1/3 innings and gave up just two runs on eight hits, but an RBI double by Scott Rolen in the eighth inning erased a slim Orioles lead and cost Erickson a chance to record his seventh victory.

Still, there was much for Miller to smile about afterward. Erickson remains his most dependable starter, and the bullpen looked -- for one night, at least -- like the one that sparked last year's wire-to-wire title run. The defense was sparkling, too, but it all looked as if it would go for naught when the Phillies rose up to erase the lead that Harold Baines had provided with a two-out pinch single in the seventh.

Enter right-hander Alan Mills, who came on with runners at first and third and one out and needed just one pitch to coax catcher Mike Lieberthal into an inning-ending double play. Then came Benitez (2-1), who was overpowering.

By the fifth inning, the Orioles had to be wondering if the Phillies had gotten a pitching transplant. The Phillies entered the series ranked 12th in the National League in team ERA and lost ground during a 14-run flare-up on Monday night, but three Philadelphia pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout Tuesday, and right-hander Tyler Green gave up just two hits through the first four innings last night.

The same team that had gone 128 games without being shutout before Greg Maddux turned the trick on Sunday went 13 consecutive innings without scoring against a group of far less imposing pitchers.

Green had flirted with disaster in the first inning, walking Surhoff to load the bases with two out, but then struck out Cal Ripken. He also got into a jam in the fourth when Surhoff lined a one-out double into the gap in right center field, but Ripken lined to center and Lenny Webster bounced to short.

Left to their own devices, the Orioles probably would have continued to line up zeros on the scoreboard, but finally scored a run -- through no fault of their own -- in the top of the fifth.

They did it without even swinging the bat.

Green, who had given up just two hits through 4 1/3 innings, suddenly lost sight of the strike zone and walked Erickson on four pitches. Then he walked Anderson and Eric Davis and Palmeiro. Tie score.

The next time an Orioles hitter made contact, it was back to the same old story. Alomar, forced to swing the bat because Green finally found the plate a couple of times, bounced sharply to second and into an inning-ending double play.

The scoreless-innings streak was over, but through five innings, the Orioles were hitless in nine plate appearances with runners in scoring position and had left seven runners on base.

That left Erickson in a familiar position -- trying to hold the line while the offense struggled to get back in gear. The Orioles had scored three runs or fewer in three of his previous four starts,

Erickson worked easily through the first inning, but Phillies first baseman Rico Brogna singled through the middle to lead off the second and second baseman Mark Lewis delivered a two-out single to right that put Philadelphia in front by a run. The Phillies had six hits in the first four innings, but Erickson seemed to get stronger as the evening progressed.

He finally was rewarded with his first lead of the game when Green walked Mike Bordick to lead off the seventh and Baines stroked a two-out RBI single off reliever Wayne Gomes.

Green had been removed minutes earlier after complaining of soreness in his left knee. He gave up two runs on three hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Pub Date: 6/11/98

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