Phillies hit up neighbor for 9-5 win

Season-high 18 hits send Orioles to loss as Erickson falls to 1-8

Low-cost Phils in 2nd place

Lax in field, Belle booed despite homer

June 05, 1999|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

The Orioles reached the 1 million mark in attendance last night but, alas, too many of the players already have proved that they are not motivated by seven figures.

The Philadelphia Phillies and their plucky middle-market lineup looked just like the American League clubs that have been bouncing the Orioles all over the map the past two months, pounding out a season-high 18 hits in a 9-5 victory before a sellout crowd of 47,542 at Camden Yards.

So much for the novelty of interleague play. The Orioles returned from a long West Coast trip to face their closest regional rival, but starter Scott Erickson wilted under another shower of base hits and the club fell 13 games under .500 for the first time this year.

Erickson gave up seven runs on 11 hits over 5 2/3 innings on the way to his eighth loss in nine decisions, though he did not really get hit hard until the Phillies jumped him for three runs in the sixth inning. Nevertheless, his ERA climbed to 7.11, making the Orioles take a big gulp as they dropped deeper into the AL East cellar.

Philadelphia leadoff man Doug Glanville and designated hitter Ron Gant had four hits each and No. 9 hitter Desi Relaford drove in three runs to help the Phillies push above .500 (27-26) and move into second place in the National League East.

Erickson has had no one but himself to blame for a number of his disappointing 1999 starts, but there have been a handful of games in which he has simply fallen victim to the swings and errors of outrageous fortune. This was one of them. "It's getting a little frustrating," Erickson said. "I don't know where to look next."

He was staked to an early two-run lead last night on Albert Belle's first-inning home run, but quickly surrendered a collection of flimsy hits that led to four runs in the top of the second.

Gant started the soft hit parade with a one-out grounder through the middle of the infield and went to third when right fielder Bobby Abreu poked a single between first and second. Erickson continued to coax the Phillies into hitting the ball on the ground -- which is what he does when he's throwing the ball well -- but gave up the first run of the inning when Mike Lieberthal grounded a ball to short that wasn't even hit hard enough to get a force at second.

The Phillies loaded the bases on a walk to left fielder Rob Ducey and took the lead on a broken-bat looper by Relaford that cleared the right side of the infield and drove in two more runs. The final run of the inning crossed the plate on Glanville's three-hopper wide of third that was fielded by Cal Ripken but delivered too late to second for the force.

Erickson finally got out of the inning by getting Marlon Anderson to ground into a tailor-made 4-3 double play.

"I guess I'm the eternal optimist," said manager Ray Miller. "I saw good stuff tonight. I thought he threw his changeup well. I thought he had a good game plan."

Of course, the impact of the Phillies' rally was blunted by the Orioles' quick strike in the bottom of the first. Phillies starter Chad Ogea walked leadoff man Brady Anderson and gave up Belle's blast to straightaway center -- hardly the way Ogea wanted to be reunited with his old Cleveland Indians teammate.

Belle hasn't faced Ogea much since he left the Indians after the 1996 season, but he has made the most of a limited number of at-bats. He entered the game with three hits (including a home run) and two RBIs in six previous trips.

The home run was almost as nostalgic. Belle had not homered in his previous 16 games -- a span of 67 at-bats -- but he left little doubt with this one, driving a mammoth fly ball into the bleachers behind center field.

If only he had carried that early momentum through the entire game. Instead, he went hitless the rest of the way and made a series of questionable plays in the field. By the late innings, he was getting an earful from the stands, even though he had taken the only meaningful Orioles swing in the game.

Ogea was far from dominating. He lasted five innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits. He also walked a career-high seven batters, but that didn't keep him from evening his record at 3-3.

Erickson recovered quickly from the second-inning onslaught and held the Phillies scoreless until the sixth, but the Orioles didn't exactly keep the pressure on Ogea.

They had runners on base in every inning, but had to sneak across a run on an error, a walk and an RBI groundout to make it a one-run game in the fourth.

The Orioles had a golden opportunity to tie the score in the bottom of the fifth when Harold Baines -- still sizzling after all these years -- led off the inning with a double into the left-field corner, but he never got off second.

The Phillies didn't waste their next big opportunity, scoring three times on a collection of more substantial hits to knock Erickson out of the game and all but assure he would drop to 1-8.

"I thought I had pretty good stuff tonight," Erickson said. "I'm just pretty snake-bit right now. What can you do but try to prepare yourself to make a good start and go?"

The Phillies added two more runs in the ninth to build a six-run lead, but B. J. Surhoff answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning before reliever Wayne Gomes came on to put a stop to the modest Orioles rally.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Philadelphia Phillies

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 7: 05

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Phillies' Carlton Loewer (2-5, 5.35) vs. Orioles' Sidney Ponson (5-4, 4.37)

Tickets: About 1,500 remain

Walking tall

With three walks last night, Brady Anderson has reached on bases on balls or hit by pitches eight times in the last six games. His on-base percentage is .415.

D Opp. H/AB BB OB Pct

6/4 Phi. 0-2 3 .600

6/2 Sea. 1-4 1 .400

6/1 Sea. 1-3 *2 .666

5/31 Sea 2-5 0 .400

5/30 Oak. 1-4 1 .400

5/29 Oak. 2-5 0 .400

* also hit by pitch

Pub Date: 6/05/99

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