O's make a big turn, win, 12-6

Trailing Jays 5-1, O's score 11 runs for 1st win in September

Top comeback since May 9

Longest losing streak since 0-21 avoided

Batista hits pinch HR

September 21, 2001|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

TORONTO - There have been more meaningful games for the Orioles this season but probably none more cathartic than last night's 12-6 beating of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Trailing 5-1 entering the seventh inning, the Orioles took out five weeks of frustration against a bullpen prematurely exposed by a trigger-happy manager. In the resulting uprising, they scored six runs in the seventh inning before adding five more with two outs in the eighth.

Punished by matchups for much of the season, the Orioles turned the game when pinch hitter Tony Batista jolted a SkyDome crowd of 21,895, his former team and left-handed reliever Pedro Borbon with a three-run home run to cap the six-run inning. Not only did the Orioles celebrate their biggest rally since May 9, they halted a 10-game losing streak by winning for just the fourth time this season when trailing after six innings.

"Today was a good day for everyone," Batista said. "I can't remember my last home run. I think it was in Tampa. It's a great moment."

The Orioles (56-89) battered five Blue Jays pitchers in the seventh inning and came back for five runs against Paul Quantrill and Mike DeWitt in the eighth.

With one eighth-inning swing, shortstop Brian Roberts not only produced a bases-loaded double, but his three RBIs also set a career high while giving the Orioles a 10-6 cushion.

The seventh inning took several twists to reach Batista. Martinez removed starting pitcher Chris Carpenter with one out, then summoned three pitchers for one batter apiece. His pivotal move was to remove right-hander Bob File after Jeff Conine extended the rally with a two-strike infield hit.

"I liked Tony Batista against Borbon a lot more than Chris Richard against File," manager Mike Hargrove said.

Borbon warmed up by throwing little except off-speed pitches, a danger sign against the open-stanced Batista. Able to sift through three fastballs on the outer half of the plate, Batista turned on an inside curveball for his first homer since Aug. 21.

The six-run inning equaled the most runs the Orioles had scored in any of their past 17 games.

Lost to the Orioles when the Blue Jays placed him on waivers June 25, Batista homered in his first two games against his former team, then hit his most dramatic home run as an Oriole to beat them last night.

"It's not revenge. If it was revenge, it would come in the first game or the second game," Batista said. "This is just another game."

The 13-hit win contrasted with a 17-game stretch in which the Orioles had been outscored 106-29 and hit only .176.

"It's a huge emotional lift for everybody," Roberts said. "It makes you realize you're right back in it. You have to overcome the mental part. For the most part, this game has always been a test of your mental strength. In times like this, you try to be as positive as you can be, hoping today's the day everything turns around."

A loss would have left the Orioles with their longest losing streak since opening 1988 with an 0-21 run. It also put on hold their first 90-loss season since 1991. More positively, last night's reversal rewarded what has been a solid second-half performance by a bullpen usually summoned to manage lost causes.

John Parrish (1-1) celebrated his first win since Aug. 17, 2000 by getting one out in the sixth inning after following Josh Towers. Buddy Groom, Jorge Julio and Willis Roberts covered an inning apiece. The bullpen entered the game with a 3.86 ERA since the All-Star break, though it still waits for its first save since Aug. 23.

"It was different," Groom said of pitching with a lead. " ... I think this bullpen's better [than last season]. Losing [Mike] Trombley hurt us. But overall, I think we've got a nucleus with these young guys."

Until the breakout, the Orioles had stumbled for six innings against Blue Jays starter Carpenter, who had only allowed a fourth-inning run on Cal Ripken's one-out single after Richard's double.

Carpenter entered the seventh inning having retired his last seven hitters. He got the first out of the inning before walking Brady Anderson then created a problem by allowing a single to catcher Brook Fordyce and hitting Jerry Hairston with a pitch.

Center fielder and new-look leadoff hitter Luis Matos brought the Orioles to within 5-3 and chased Carpenter with a double to right field. Martinez then began his left-right-left procession.

The Orioles resumed their beating against the Jays bullpen by loading the bases after two outs in the eighth inning then watching Roberts line a three-run triple.

Cheered in the seventh inning as if it might be his final at-bat at SkyDome, Ripken returned in the eighth to hammer an RBI double, giving him his first multi-RBI game since Aug. 19.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: New York Yankees

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 7:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Yankees' Mike Mussina (15-11, 3.29) vs. Orioles' Rick Bauer (0-2, 4.00)

Security changes

Beginning tonight, the following procedures will be in place for fans entering Camden Yards:

No backpacks, coolers or other container or package will be permitted into the ballpark.

No containers or packages will be claim-checked at the entrance gates.

Purses and camera bags will be permitted into the ballpark, but will be inspected at the entrance gates.

Re-entry to the ballpark will no longer be permitted. Once a fan leaves the ballpark, he/she will not be permitted to re-enter the facility, so fans are asked to make sure they have brought everything with them before entering.

Only vehicles dropping off or picking up disabled guests will be permitted to stop curbside at the ballpark. No other vehicles will be permitted curbside, nor will people be able to stand and wait with their vehicles.

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