- The Washington Times - Friday, July 21, 2000


BALTIMORE Nothing gained, nothing lost.

The Baltimore Orioles split adoubleheader against divisional rival Boston Red Sox Thursday to conclude an eight-game homestand coming out of the All-Star break.

The Orioles went 3-5 during the homestand. They begin a three-game series tonight at the Toronto Blue Jays before returning home for another nine games.

The Orioles pitching staff, especially the bullpen, tightened up in the second game and salvaged a split of a day-night doubleheader as the Orioles defeated the Red Sox 9-4 last night before 46,167 at Camden Yards.

But that was only after bad pitching in the first game led to the Orioles coming up the short end of an 11-7 decision.

Relievers Alan Mills, Buddy Groom and Mike Timlin pitched the final 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in the second game to preserve the Orioles' win and gave starter Scott Erickson the victory.

The Orioles (41-53) broke open the game early by scoring six runs in the first three innings. Right fielder Brady Anderson led off the Orioles' half of the first with a single to center.

Shortstop Mike Bordick pushed Anderson to second with a perfectly executed bunt single down the third-base line. Anderson went to third when first baseman Will Clark grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Albert Belle, the Orioles' designated hitter, drove in his team-leading 74th RBI with a line-drive single to center that scored Anderson, and the Orioles had a 1-0 lead.

Red Sox starter Pete Schourek, who grew up in Falls Church, Va., and attended Marshall High School, walked the next three Orioles batters to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Schourek (2-9) lasted only 2 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on five hits, walking five and striking out two.

The Red Sox (49-43) grabbed a 3-2 lead in the second inning when Red Sox catcher Scott Hatteberg belted a three-run homer 385 feet off Erickson. Erickson walked left fielder Troy O'Leary and DH Morgan Burkhart to set up Hatteberg's three-run blast.

The Orioles opened the third with consecutive singles to left by Belle and third baseman Jeff Conine. Left fielder B.J. Surhoff hit into a fielder's choice that advanced Belle to third. Schourek walked catcher Charles Johnson to load the bases.

Mark Lewis, the Orioles' reserve second baseman, delivered the game-winning RBI with a bases-clearing double to left field that gave the Orioles a 6-3 lead. Clark led off the fourth inning with a solo home run his eighth of the season and second of the night that extended the Orioles lead to 7-3.

Erickson (5-7) didn't have his best stuff last night, but it was good enough for the win. Erickson, who won for only the third time in his last seven starts, went 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on three hits. Erickson walked six, struck out three and hit a batter.

"Scotty struggled with his command and got behind a couple of batters," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "[The relievers] were rested and came in and threw like it. Groom coming in and sitting them down in the eighth inning was really big."

The Red Sox collected 17 hits the most the Orioles have allowed this season in the afternoon game.

Orioles starter Sidney Ponson (5-6) continued his midseason slide by matching his season highs in hits (11) and earned runs (eight) allowed in his second consecutive loss and second of the season to the Red Sox.

Every player in the Red Sox order except Burkhart collected a hit in Ponson's five innings. The right-hander was shelled despite matching a career high with nine strikeouts.

Ponson pulled himself from the game after the fifth inning complaining of a stiff neck.

"Sidney had trouble getting his off-speed stuff over the plate, and when he did, he hung it and they hit it," Hargrove said. "It's tough to defense that."

Ponson also allowed his team-leading 20th and 21st home runs. With one out and a runner on first in the first inning, Carl Everett, the Red Sox All-Star outfielder who was suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball Thursday for head-butting an umpire, hit an 0-1 pitch 362 feet over the right-field scoreboard to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Jason Varitek homered in the fifth to give the Red Sox an 8-4 lead.

The Orioles actually led after Clark's fourth career grand slam in the first inning.

O'Leary went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Varitek was 3-for-4 with a home run, double and three RBI. Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra went 3-for-5 with a triple, double and three runs scored.

Garciaparra came into the day batting .399 and finished the first game with a .403 average. But he went 0-for-5 in the night game and dropped back to .396.

"I don't think there has ever been a hitter in the game that's not pitchable," Hargrove said about Garciaparra. "[But] you don't hit .400 this late in the season by being lucky."

Notes The Orioles' rained-out game against the Oakland Athletics on May 28 has been rescheduled for Sept. 19, beginning at 1:35 p.m., as the first game of a day-night doubleheader… . In addition, the Orioles announced two time changes for upcoming games. Wednesday's road game against the New York Yankees will start at 7:05 p.m. The Sept. 20 game against the A's at Camden Yards will start at 6:05 p.m… .

John Parrish, who was called up from Class AAA Rochester on Wednesday when reliever Darren Holmes was waived, was in uniform but unavailable to pitch.

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