Bordick boosts O's over Phillies

Looping single in 10th secures 7-6 victory

Timlin blows save

June 06, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The Orioles came within a strike of winning in routine fashion last night. Instead, they had to do it the hard way. Has anything come easily for this team?

Shortstop Mike Bordick singled with two outs in the 10th inning to score Will Clark and give the Orioles a 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies before 48,531 who saw the winners blow two leads and a feel-good story for pitcher Sidney Ponson.

Clark drew a two-out walk off Phillies right-hander Steve Montgomery. Jeff Reboulet, who had pinch-run for Cal Ripken the previous inning, lined a single into right field, and Bordick ended the madness with a looping single over second baseman David Doster.

Pitching through the grief of his grandmother's death on Friday, Ponson struck out a career-high seven batters in eight innings and left with a 5-3 lead. But the largest regular-season crowd in Camden Yards history saw left-hander Arthur Rhodes walk the bases loaded in the ninth, throwing only one strike among his 13 pitches. Manager Ray Miller brought in Mike Timlin, who began the season as the lone closer, and he appeared to bail out Rhodes by getting Mike Lieberthal to hit into a double play and getting two quick strikes on Rob Ducey. But rather than notch his eighth save, Timlin blew his fourth when Ducey cleared the fence in left-center field for his fourth homer, giving the Phillies a 6-5 lead, bringing a cascade of jeers and ruining Ponson's effort.

The Orioles made a quick recovery and forced extra innings. Cal Ripken and Bordick singled off Phillies closer Wayne Gomes with one out in the ninth, putting runners on the corners. Catcher Mike Figga struck out looking, and Yorkis Perez was brought in to face Brady Anderson, who began the night hitting .227 against left-handers. Anderson walked on five pitches to load the bases for Delino DeShields, another left-handed batter. DeShields tapped a 1-2 pitch to the right side and outran Perez to the bag as first baseman Rico Brogna made the throw, no small feat for a player whose status had remained in doubt because of a lower-back strain. But little would seem normal on this night.

Harold Baines drove in two runs, including a tiebreaker with two outs in the sixth, and Anderson led off the eighth inning with his 10th homer for a 5-3 lead. Baines' go-ahead single to center represented his 2,700th career hit and increased his team-leading RBI total to 42.

The rally started when Albert Belle reached on an error by shortstop Desi Relaford with two outs. A wild pitch by Phillies starter Carlton Loewer, his third of the game, moved Belle into scoring position and the Orioles seemingly a step closer to their second win in their last six games.

Ponson, who flew home to Aruba today for the funeral, allowed only five hits, four for extra bases. Spotted a three-run lead, he sailed through the first four innings and struck out Brogna and Ron Gant to open the fifth. But a double to right-center by Bobby Abreu provided the Phillies' second hit and sparked a three-run uprising.

Lieberthal, hitting .388 with runners in scoring position before last night, drilled a 410-foot homer to left to reduce the lead to 3-2. Unable to regain his composure, Ponson walked the next two batters and served up a double down the left-field line to Doug Glanville on an 0-2 pitch.

Miller has lectured Ponson in the past about wasting a pitch when ahead in the count, rather than concerning himself with throwing another strike. He grooved this one down the middle and paid a heavy price, but it wasn't a lasting one.

Ponson retired 10 of the next 11 batters, with Gant reaching on an infield pop that glanced off Ripken's glove after a mix-up with Figga. Ripken attempted to make a sliding grab, the ball popped loose and Gant hustled into second. Ponson struck out Abreu looking to end the inning, and the Phillies went down quietly from there.

The right-hander excited the crowd by reaching 99 mph with his fastball in an eight-inning confrontation with Scott Rolen, but he struck out the Phillies' third baseman with a curveball.

"Sidney is a bright, bright young talent," said Miller. "He's going to have growing pains as a 22-year-old and make a few mistakes, but he's certainly a great looking kid for now and the future."

Ponson was dealing with a different sort of pain last night, but it wasn't apparent in the early innings. He faced the minimum number of batters through the fourth despite allowing two base runners. Figga, making his first start for the Orioles after being claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees on Thursday, threw out Glanville trying to steal after a leadoff single in the first inning. And Relaford grounded into a double play to end the third after a one-out walk to Ducey.

The Orioles gave him a 1-0 lead in the third. Ripken bounced a single into center field and moved up on a wild pitch. A groundout advanced Ripken to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Anderson.

Loewer, winless since a May 4 shutout against San Diego, allowed three straights hits to open the fourth, capped by a Baines single that scored B.J. Surhoff. A deep fly to center by Will Clark bumped the lead to 3-0, a seemingly safe margin with Ponson at the controls.

Orioles today

Opponent: Philadelphia Phillies

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 1: 35 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Phillies' Robert Person (0-0, 8.38) vs. Orioles' Juan Guzman (2-4, 5.49)

Tickets: About 400 remain

Pub Date: 6/06/99

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