- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 25, 2000


BALTIMORE John Parrish looked like a wily veteran when he took the mound in his major league debut last night at Camden Yards. The 23-year-old Baltimore Orioles left-hander struck out the side in the first inning, getting Chuck Knoblauch, Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams to whiff.

It was a promising start for Parrish, even if his teammates were ultimately unable to take advantage of a shaky Roger Clemens in a 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees before a sellout crowd of 47,450. Parrish, a spot starter, struck out nine and consistently fooled the two-time defending World Series champions, using a sweeping curveball as his out pitch.

Parrish allowed just three earned runs and two walks over seven innings as he did a nice job staying ahead of hitters. Unfortunately that was not enough for the Orioles (43-55) and their struggling offense. Five-time Cy Young Award winner Clemens (9-6) picked up the win despite walking five, hitting a batter and allowing six hits over six innings. Parrish (0-1) suffered the hard-luck defeat as Baltimore lost its second straight. Mariano Rivera notched his 23rd save for the Yankees (52-42) by pitching a scoreless ninth.

"The big thing with John, and we have talked about this, is if he stays down in the strike zone and ahead of hitters he is going to be OK," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said before the game. "He has good stuff, if he stays down. If it comes up, he's very average."

Parrish did his part, but his teammates failed to deliver the runs.

The Yankees took the lead by scoring three runs in the third. Ryan Thompson led off with the first walk given up by Parrish before Clay Bellinger doubled to left. Knoblauch's sacrifice fly scored Thompson, and Jeter's single through the box knocked in Bellinger.

After Williams grounded out and advanced Jeter to second, Glenallen Hill's hard grounder to third should have ended the inning. However, rookie third baseman Ivanon Coffie misplayed the ball and it went under his glove, and the error allowed Jeter to score and New York to take a 4-2 lead.

That was all the Yankees would need, making Parrish's final four scoreless innings irrelevant. Parrish, who had a 6-6 record with a 4.25 ERA for Class AAA Rochester before being called up last week, matched an Orioles' record for strikeouts in a major league debut. Sammy Stewart also had nine strikeouts in his first game in 1978 against the Chicago White Sox at Memorial Stadium.

Baltimore took the lead in the first inning when Brady Anderson led off with a single and Mike Bordick followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners. Delino DeShields' grounder scored Anderson. The Orioles could have done more damage after DeShields stole second, but with two outs, B.J. Surhoff's grounder down the third base line hit the bag and bounced right into the glove of Scott Brosius, who was standing some five feet inside the line. The third baseman easily threw across the diamond to retire the side.

New York evened the game in the second on the first hit allowed by Parrish. Cleanup hitter Hill launched a leadoff home run halfway up the lower deck in the left-field seats. The high fastball was sent 394 feet. The shot unhinged Parrish momentarily as he threw the next pitch well above the catcher Charles Johnson's head and into the screen behind home plate, but settled down to retire the next three batters.

The Orioles regained the lead at 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Johnson. The catcher sent a fastball into the gap in right-center to plate Will Clark, who was hit in the back by a pitch from Clemens.

Baltimore trimmed the margin to 4-3 in the third when DeShields led off with a single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Clark.

The Orioles blew several great scoring opportunities, most notably in the sixth when Clemens walked Clark and gave up a bloop single to Johnson with no outs. After retiring Harold Baines and Coffie, Clemens walked Anderson to load the bases. However, Bordick was unable to take advantage as he struck out on a fastball.

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