O's turn into Bronx bombers

Surhoff's 4 RBIs pace 9-1 win, 2nd straight victory in New York

Ill Mussina sweats out No. 10

Ripken hits 2-run shot, 1,000th extra-base hit

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

NEW YORK -- The temperature soared to 100 degrees by the first note of the anthem last night, transforming Yankee Stadium into the world's largest steam bath. Appropriately, the Orioles kept New York pitchers in hot water.

Andy Pettitte's 9-1 lifetime record against them? No sweat.

The Orioles scored in three of the first four innings against Pettitte, ambushed his replacement for two home runs and rode a gritty start by flu-ridden Mike Mussina to a 9-1 victory over the New York Yankees before 29,934.

Earning a split in the four-game series, the Orioles (34-47) return at the season's halfway point for their last homestand before the All-Star break. By tomorrow, they'll know if Mussina and B. J. Surhoff will be representing the club in Boston.

Cal Ripken celebrated the news that he had been voted in again by drilling a two-run homer off reliever Jason Grimsley in the seventh inning. It was Ripken's 1,000th career extra-base hit and 2,943rd hit, tying Frank Robinson for 27th place all time.

Mussina (10-4) and Surhoff were stating their case in front of Yankees manager Joe Torre, who chooses the pitchers and reserves. Surhoff drove in four runs, the last three on a 419-foot homer off Grimsley in the eighth. It was his 20th of the season, two short of his career high. He had 11 RBIs in the series. "B.J. continues to prove to me, and I hope the whole world, of his All-Star capabilities. He's having one big year," said manager Ray Miller.

Mussina allowed only a first-inning run before departing with one out in the sixth, two runners aboard and the Orioles ahead 4-1. This despite being reduced to throwing mostly off-speed stuff as a concession to his illness.

"He almost passed out warming up," Miller said. "He was visibly weak and he had white spots all over his face. But he gave us a great effort."

Mussina limited his number of warm-up tosses and kept retreating to the air-conditioned clubhouse between innings. Anything to stay in the game.

"Not only was I pacing myself because it was hot, I was pacing myself because the more exertion I put out, the worst I felt," he said. "I haven't felt good for a couple days, but I thought I was getting better. I was going to go out and do the best I could."

This was the 13th time that Mussina, who threw 89 pitches, left with a lead. It hasn't always been there in the end, but a maligned bullpen held it in place.

Making his fourth appearance in six games, left-hander Doug Johns retired Tino Martinez and Chili Davis to stamp out the rally, though he needed an outstanding grab by Surhoff on Davis' shot to the warning track in left to keep the margin intact. Gabe Molina and Rocky Coppinger combined for three scoreless innings.

The win was only the fourth for Mussina in 12 career regular-season decisions against New York, and just his second in the Bronx. He hadn't won here since May 26, 1993.

Starved for runs in his last three defeats, Mussina was given an early lead last night. Mike Bordick walked with one out in the first inning and moved up on a single by Surhoff, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games. DH Albert Belle bounced Pettitte's next pitch into center field, scoring Bordick and advancing Surhoff to third.

The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the inning as Chuck Knoblauch came around to score after a leadoff double.

The Orioles stranded two more in the second inning, but pushed across the go-ahead run while continuing to make Pettitte work harder than advised in such oppressive heat.

Ripken doubled to left to pass Eddie Murray for 15th place on baseball's all-time list. He began the night with only six hits in 32 career at-bats against Pettitte. Ripken moved to third on a grounder by Jerry Hairston and scored when catcher Charles Johnson lined a single. It was Johnson's first look at Pettitte.

Brady Anderson worked the count full before walking, but Pettitte struck out Bordick -- the only Orioles starter not to get a hit -- and retired Surhoff on a fly ball.

By now, Pettitte had faced 12 batters in two innings, hardly the proper way to straighten out a crooked season.

He started out on the disabled list with a strained elbow, lost four of five decisions between May 22 and June 13, and followed his only consecutive wins with a seven-run pummeling by the Detroit Tigers.

That game led to last night, and a meeting with a team he usually owns. Pettitte was 3-0 against the Orioles last season, allowing only five earned runs in 24 1/3 innings, and had a lifetime ERA of 3.64 to go with nine wins. He was removed after six innings and 116 pitches.

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