- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2000


BALTIMORE The younger, cheaper Baltimore Orioles are looking a lot better than the older, expensive version.

Baltimore won its third straight game last night, beating the Minnesota Twins 6-5 before 32,261 at Camden Yards. Carlos Casimiro had a two-run double in his first major league at-bat, and newcomer Melvin Mora had two hits and scored twice.

Yesterday continued a long rebuilding process for Baltimore. The Orioles traded away B.J. Surhoff to the Atlanta Braves and Will Clark to the St. Louis Cardinals after dealing four other high-priced players over the weekend.

The suddenly young Orioles provided plenty of runs for starting pitcher Sidney Ponson (6-7), something that hadn't been happening earlier this season. The 23-year-old had a strong outing, allowing only two earned runs over seven innings plus two batters to get the win. Mike Trombley finished the game to pick up his third save.

And while the unknowns did their share of the damage, the recently quiet bat of Albert Belle finally came through. Belle, one of the few high-salaried veterans not traded, broke the longest homerless drought of his career with a two-run homer on top of the scoreboard in right to give Baltimore a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Belle ended his streak of 109 at-bats without a homer by crushing a first-pitch fastball off Juan Romero (0-1). It ended a stretch of 27 games in which he did not hit a home run. Belle's last homer was June 29.

His home run came after Delino DeShields singled up the middle with two outs. Baltimore (46-68) is now 3-1 since it traded Mike Bordick to the New York Mets on Friday, setting off the series of deals.

After Ron Coomer's solo home run in the second, the Orioles added two in the third on Casimiro's double to take a 4-1 advantage. Casimiro, who was added to the club from Class AA Bowie earlier in the day, hit a 2-2 fastball to right-center with Mora and DeShields on base.

The 23-year-old Casimiro hit .262 with six home runs and 32 RBI with Bowie. He tipped his capped to an appreciative audience after the standup double.

The Twins (48-60) cut the lead to 4-2 in the fifth when Jay Canizaro's groundout to first scored Cordel Koskie. The Orioles countered in the bottom of the inning when Mora singled, stole second, went to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch.

Minnesota again closed the gap to 5-3 in the seventh when Koskie's single to right scored Ortiz. However, the Orioles answered with some hustle from Luis Matos. The center fielder beat out an infield hit with a head-first slide, stole second and later scored on a sacrifice fly from DeShields.

The Twins cut the lead to 6-4 in the eighth on a RBI single by Ron Coomer after Canizaro led off the inning with a double.

Minnesota nearly completed the comeback, cutting the lead to 6-5 in the ninth when Denny Hocking scored on an error by third baseman Ryan Minor. However, Trombley settled down and got Christian Guzman to ground out to second with two on to end the game.

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