O's rip off shackles, rout Mariners, 10-1 6-run, 3-HR 4th inning keys 1st win in 11 games

September 05, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

SEATTLE -- Misery finally found company last night. The Orioles stormed the Kingdome with three home runs during a six-run fourth inning and finished with a 10-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Left fielder Lyle Mouton, third baseman Cal Ripken and pinch hitter Chris Hoiles homered within a span of five hitters to chase Mariners starter Paul Spoljaric and virtually assure Juan Guzman (9-14) of his first win since Aug. 10. More significantly, it ended the Orioles' 10-game losing streak and returned them to .500.

Before a crowd of 27,404, the Orioles overcame a sluggish start by taking advantage of a defensive lapse in the fourth inning. They used the same weapon opponents have recently used to crush them -- two-out hits.

Spoljaric (4-4) allowed six runs, none earned, because of shortstop Alex Rodriguez's one-out throwing error against Eric Davis. The extra out allowed the inning to extend beyond Rafael Palmeiro's strikeout.

Mouton, 28, didn't have a major-league home run since last August while with the Chicago White Sox. His contract had since been sold to the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League. Upon his release, the Orioles signed him and placed him at Triple-A Rochester, where he batted .353. Perhaps that's why the only thing that took longer than his trot around the bases was a 13-year-old's pre-game rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"I don't want to make a big deal of it, but I do want to make a good showing," said Mouton, who added an RBI double in the ninth. "I've had good games against the Orioles now I want to show them I can have good games for them."

Ripken didn't waste time padding the lead. He homered off Spoljaric for his 13th of the season to make it 3-0.

Spoljaric allowed only one hit through three innings but Rodriguez's error distracted him. After Mouton and Ripken's home runs, Danny Clyburn and Lenny Webster worked him for a walk.

Pinch hitting Hoiles for center fielder Rich Becker, manager Ray Miller was rewarded when the catcher unloaded on Spoljaric for a three-run homer to lift the Orioles to a 6-0 lead.

"I've got a guy there who hit two grand slams," Miller said, explaining his move.

The Orioles never led by more than two runs during their 10-game losing streak.

Now 2-12 in their last 14 games, the 70-70 Orioles dropped the Mariners to their fifth loss in seven games. Their three home runs bumped the teams' total to 30 in their eight games this season.

The Orioles gave a different look in several ways. They won with Mouton playing in place of B. J. Surhoff and Clyburn acting as designated hitter. Becker started in center field but gave way to a pinch hitter in the fourth inning. Mike Bordick batted second to extend a recent move to the top.

Guzman made it all work. While Spoljaric crumbled at the first hint of trouble, Guzman faced only nine hitters through three innings, allowed a two-out RBI double in the fourth, then never again allowed the tying run on deck. He went eight innings, allowing only five hits.

"I've been through this for a long time. I just went out and did what I was supposed to do," said Guzman.

Walks crushed the Mariners. Five of the Orioles' first 10 runners reached on walks or errors. Four of them scored. In the fifth, the Orioles bumped the lead to 7-1 when Palmeiro followed consecutive walks with a double.

Roberto Alomar ended a 3-for-37 funk in the eighth inning with a two-out double that scored Clyburn and Brady Anderson.

The Orioles scored all but two of their runs with two outs.

Guzman enjoyed the support. In his previous three starts he had received nine runs. He was 0-2 in his last four starts despite striking out 25 in 23 2/3 innings.

Pitching from ahead became a luxury. Last night it became a pleasure as Guzman struck out nine.

Orioles today

Opponent: Seattle Mariners

Site: Kingdome, Seattle

Time: 4: 05 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 45/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: O's Scott Erickson (14-11, 4.10) vs. Mariners' Ken Cloude (8-10, 6.54)

Pub Date: 9/05/98

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