- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2000


BALTIMORE After getting handcuffed by one of the better pitching staffs in baseball and having the Atlanta Braves sweep a three-game series, the Baltimore Orioles took out their frustrations on a new opponent the Florida Marlins.

In a 9-5 victory yesterday at Camden Yards, which began after a 1-hour, 17-minute rain delay, the Orioles tied a season high for hits (16) and feasted on less quality pitchers than Greg Maddux, Andy Ashby and Tom Glavine. It was the Orioles first win since the All-Star break.

However, the Marlins have not been patsies against American League teams. Heading into yesterday's game, Florida had a 38-25 record against the AL since the inception of interleague play in 1997.

"[Atlanta] is the type of team that you really don't want to see all the time," said Charles Johnson, who doubled and scored two runs. "We kind of plugged away here and there and battled and got some hits."

The Orioles scored multiple runs in the third, sixth and eighth innings; every starter recorded at least one hit and Mike Bordick and B.J. Surhoff led the way with three hits apiece. Surhoff and Delino DeShields belted homers.

The Orioles might have scored more if five runners hadn't been thrown out on the bases two Orioles were caught stealing, two trying to stretch singles into doubles and one was doubled off first.

Marlins right fielder Mark Kotsay recorded three assists in the game, including two in the fifth inning to tie a major league record.

Orioles manager Mike Hargrove didn't second-guess the decisions to send the runners.

"Those are good baserunning plays," Hargrove said. "If you don't take chances … you're going to sit back and wait for something else to happen and it never happens."

Orioles relievers all five of them finished the job for starter Pat Rapp, who went 5 1/3 innings, gave up four earned runs but stayed away from the big inning. The bullpen surrendered three hits in 4 2/3 innings of work, although the relievers did combine to walk four batters and hit a fifth.

Mike Timlin came on with two on and one out in the eighth but preserved a three-run lead. He allowed a run in the ninth and picked up his 10th save. Alan Mills (2-0) got the win.

"I'm just glad I'm back going where I should be," Timlin said. "I know I can close."

"We used a few more pitchers than we anticipated," Hargrove said. "It was a little tougher than probably it should have been."

With the Orioles trailing 4-3 in the sixth, the bottom half of the lineup sparked a rally. Surhoff tied the game when he led off with a home run off Vic Darensbourg, one of the top middle relievers in the National League this season. Will Clark then reached on an error and Harold Baines singled to set the stage for run-scoring hits by Charles Johnson and Ivanon Coffie. Brady Anderson's sacrifice fly capped the scoring burst, and the Orioles led 7-4. Coffie, who started at third base after being called up from Bowie Saturday, collected his first major-league hit.

The Orioles added insurance in the eighth on RBI singles by Bordick and Albert Belle.

The Marlins have a payroll of about $20 million; with starter Alex Fernandez, who makes about $7 million, on the disabled list, the 25 players on the Marlins' roster yesterday make about as much as the Orioles' Belle. Because they lack star power, literally, the Marlins are forced to create runs as opposed to waiting for homers.

The Marlins' team speed, like Atlanta's, presented problems for the Orioles. Florida is a fundamentally sound team that leads the majors in stolen bases; in the first three innings, the Marlins executed a hit-and-run, hit behind two runners and stole a base to manufacture two runs.

DeShields erased the 2-0 deficit in the third inning with a first-pitch, three-run home run to left, his fourth homer of the season. Florida answered with a single run in the fifth, and Rapp pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam to prevent further damage.

"We got some big hits which we didn't get in the Atlanta series and we got big outs for our pitchers when we needed them," Hargrove said.

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