Bordick coolly responds to young Indian's flame He continues surge, turning on Colon heat for two hits


August 23, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Ninth-place hitters like Mike Bordick are supposed to be a little intimidated by young flame-throwing pitchers like Cleveland's Bartolo Colon.

Colon came to Camden Yards yesterday throwing the ball 101 mph on the speed gun and sporting a 13-6 record with a 3.07 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 176 innings.

But Bordick walked up to the plate three times against Colon and once against reliever Paul Shuey and never seemed to flinch.

He jumped on the first pitch twice from Colon for two base hits, slamming a run-scoring double to left-center in the fourth inning and a single to left in the sixth, which loaded the bases.

The sixth-inning single drove Colon from the mound.

In his first at-bat against Colon in the second inning, Bordick hit the ball fairly deep to right.

Bordick wound up hitting the ball hard in each at-bat yesterday on the way to a 2-for-4 afternoon that was spiced by one RBI, an outstanding diving catch at shortstop and some heads-up base running in a two-run sixth inning when the Orioles went ahead, 4-3.

The superb defense and alert base running are a regular part of Bordick's repertoire.

But slapping the ball all around the field against the 23-year-old Colon was a welcome plus for the steady, 33-year-old veteran.

"He throws a hard fastball, he really does," said Bordick. "You really have to get geared up to hit a fastball like that. I mean, a couple of times I looked up there and I don't know if he ever hit 100 but I saw 99 a few times."

When told that one Colon pitch registered 101, Bordick said, "I didn't see that one. Yeah, he was throwing it hard. You hear about these young guys who have superstar caliber and when you face them, it's going to be a challenge."

Bordick was on first in a bases-loaded situation in the sixth when Roberto Alomar hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Kenny Lofton.

Bordick tagged up on the ball that scored Willie Greene from third to tie the game at 3.

It looked as if Lofton's throw might beat Bordick to second, but the ball tailed off to the right and Bordick slid in safely.

Bordick's dash to second set up an intentional walk to B. J. Surhoff to load the bases with two outs and then Indians reliever Doug Jones balked in Lenny Webster from third with what proved to be the deciding run.

On the rather daring tag at first, Bordick said, "I went back to first and watched Lenny. As soon as he broke, I just broke with him and then I saw the ball coming and I put my head down and dove in there and fortunately I made it."

The 2-for-4 day enabled Bordick to continue a recent surge that has him hitting .382 (13-for-34) in the past 10 games. He has hit safely in eight of those 10 games to raise his average to .262.

But Bordick, who had a three-run homer in the club's last win before yesterday, didn't want to get too carried away with his recent fortunes at the plate.

"Hey, I'm like a roller coaster," he said. "I'm up and down. The whole idea is to keep the slumps from going too long. I try to be as consistent as possible with my work habits and stuff like that. Hopefully I'll finish strong. I think a lot of it is trusting my hands and not being overly aggressive."

Pub Date: 8/23/98

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