Yanks pitch fit as O's prevail, 7-4 In reversal of roles, N.Y. reliever hits Davis after late homer

O's respond with RBI hit

Stanton ejected

Carter scores 3 runs

June 16, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

On a night when what didn't happen was as significant as what did happen, the Orioles won a game of payback, 7-4, against the New York Yankees.

In the two teams' first meeting since a chaotic three-game series in New York last month, the Orioles used three unanswered runs and an unanswered hit batsman to beat the Yankees for only the second time in their last nine games.

Leading 6-4 after Rafael Palmeiro's two-out home run in the seventh inning, the Orioles saw a mirror image of last month's incident when Armando Benitez appeared to strike back after a game-winning home run by hitting Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez. This time, Yankees reliever Mike Stanton followed Palmeiro's home run by hitting Eric Davis.

The similarities to May 19 were unmistakable. Stanton drilled Davis, No. 24, between the numbers on the first pitch just as Benitez had struck Martinez, No. 24, slightly higher on the back on a first pitch.

Stanton feigned disgust, but received a thumb rather than an Oscar. Played out before a sometimes raucous sellout crowd of 48,022, the scene unfolded with Yankees manager Joe Torre immediately protesting plate umpire John Hirschbeck's reflexive ejection of Stanton.

"No way I was throwing at him," Stanton said later. "I don't fault the umpires for throwing me out. They have to keep control of the game and that's the No. 1 weapon to do it. It was just a situation where the pitch got away from me."

Doubled over, Davis received attention from trainer Richie Bancells before leaving the game. The Orioles never left their dugout as Hirschbeck warned manager Ray Miller against retaliation.

Said Miller: "The only thing that stands out in my mind is as I said with Benitez, the guilt or the truth lies within the guy that threw the ball. As apparent as it was with Benitez, I think it was as apparent and I guess we'll just have to wait and see if justice is as swift and severe in the state of Maryland as it is in New York."

Said Davis: "I'm a man. I'm not a vindictive type of person. But nobody wants to get hit with a baseball."

The Orioles got even by adding another run on Cal Ripken's lined single to score pinch runner Jesus Tavarez for a 7-4 lead.

Though the Orioles showed restraint, bad blood still seeped. When Yankees reliever Graeme Lloyd entered in the eighth inning, he was greeted by Michael Buffer intoning "Let's get ready to rumble!" Of course, it was Lloyd who threw the first punch in last month's 10-minute melee.

Earlier, Orioles starter Scott Erickson (7-6) survived four runs on two home runs in seven innings to win his second straight decision.

The loss fell to Yankees left-hander and ex-Oriole David Wells (8-2), whose first loss since April 2 broke a string of eight wins.

Credit the top half of the Orioles' lineup, especially right fielder Joe Carter, with taking apart Wells.

Carter, designated hitter Harold Baines and Palmeiro were a combined 8-for-14 with two home runs among four extra-base hits. Carter, until recently an exiled outfielder, had a home run, single and double and scored three runs.

Wells, pitching for the first time since missing a start with shoulder inflammation, was not perfect last night as he was against Minnesota a month before. He was downright hittable and couldn't find a strikeout pitch.

The Orioles jumped him for a 1-0 lead when Carter, their second hitter, pulled a fastball against the left-field foul pole for his fourth home run in 14 games.

Working over Wells for three consecutive two-out hits, the Orioles bumped the lead to 3-0 in the third. Lenny Webster flared a single to right field, went to second and then nearly derailed the rally by failing to tag on Roberto Alomar's fly ball to deep center. Wells' wild pitch to Carter only magnified the gaffe as Webster took third.

Carter exonerated Webster with a single. It broke a string of six consecutive extra-base hits for Carter and gave him eight RBIs in the last seven games.

Baines prolonged the rally with a single and Palmeiro doubled to score Carter. Palmeiro entered the game batting .413 for June and added his 15th RBI and 10th extra-base hit of the month.

Erickson had allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his five previous starts, but this time Dr. Death stumbled in the fourth inning beneath a three-run edge.

Ricky Ledee, promoted from Triple-A Columbus last Thursday, drove an opposite-field home run. With Darryl Strawberry and Jorge Posada on base, Ledee's homer in his fifth major-league at-bat tied a game that Erickson had otherwise controlled.

The situation repeated two innings later after Baines followed Carter's two-out double with a single to right field for a 4-3 lead.

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