- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2001


BALTIMORE A 12-10 baseball game usually conjures up images of a slugfest that sees two teams matching each other blow for blow, but yesterday at Camden Yards the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox spent much of the game matching each other mistake for mistake.
In a game that saw five errors and 13 unearned runs, it was the Red Sox, thanks to a solid relief effort by Tim Wakefield, that made fewer mistakes and earned the victory before a sellout crowd of 48,037.
Wakefield, who pitched five innings and allowed one hit and no runs while striking out six and walking one, knuckled down and the Orioles knuckled under as the Red Sox ended a four-game skid.
Baltimore had seemingly self-destructed in the first inning, allowing six unearned runs on three errors two of them coming on run-of-the-mill infield throws that first baseman David Segui failed to catch.
But Boston was nearly as pathetic, allowing three unearned runs in the bottom of the first in what turned out to be a 37-minute inning. The Red Sox added another run in the second, but the Orioles responded with two more runs in the third to pull within 7-5. That prompted Red Sox manager Jimy Williams to lift starter Rolando Arrojo and bring in Wakefield.
The Orioles couldn't handle Wakefield's knuckleball and, after a four-run eighth by Boston, the reliever left with what seemed like an insurmountable 12-5 lead.
"[Wakefield's knuckleball] was dancing like crazy," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "He got out some pretty good hitters today."
Wakefield (8-7) said it was simply a matter of doing his job.
"My job was to come in and keep us in the game as long as I could," he said. "I mixed up my pitches pretty good."
For Orioles starter Jason Johnson (10-7), it wasn't a job it was an adventure.
"I've never seen six unearned runs scored in an inning in my entire life," Johnson said. "That's something that you have to put behind you, but it was tough, because I felt like I was throwing the ball well."
The Orioles were trying to stay on a roll, having won four of their last five games before yesterday and seemed to have forgotten their 6-21 July.
The two facets on the game the Orioles needed to be competent in order to compete pitching and defense fell apart yesterday.
And yet the Orioles nearly recovered from the first-inning debacle.
The Red Sox were nearly as inept as the Orioles after Wakefield was lifted for Rod Beck to start the eighth. Second baseman Mike Lansing had two errors and Beck couldn't overcome those miscues, as the Orioles scored five runs only one of them earned on four hits in just 1 2/3 innings pitched.
Two of those hits were home runs by Tony Batista, a solo in the eighth and a two-run shot in the ninth, his 20th and 21st of the season. That cut the lead to 12-10, but Boston closer Derek Lowe came in with two outs in the ninth and got pinch hitter Brady Anderson to fly out to center.
It was just one more loss for Baltimore (49-69), a team falling deeper and deeper toward its worst season since owner Peter Angelos took over the team after the 1993 season, it was an important win for Boston (65-51). The Red Sox are just three games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East and just two games behind the Oakland Athletics in the wild-card race.
Boston's visit to Camden Yards was a box office success for the Orioles, with the two-day total setting a new two-game record of 96,785. And the drawing card to the park these days put on another show for the fans. Cal Ripken drove in four runs and moved into 14th place on the all-time hits list, with his 3,153rd hit, a two-run double that moved him ahead of Paul Waner (he is just one behind George Brett).
However, six runs was just too much of a lead to spot the Red Sox.
Johnson got Nomar Garciaparra (2-for-5) to hit a fly ball to center for the first out on one pitch to open the game, which started 11 minutes late because of rain. The pitcher struck out Trot Nixon and appeared to be settling down for a typical Johnson start at Camden Yards 7-1 with a 2.05 ERA.
But Carl Everett doubled to left and Manny Ramirez walked. Dante Bichette reached first on shortstop Melvin Mora's throwing error (though the replays appeared to show that Segui's foot was on the bag and not pulled off, as umpire Ed Rapuano called it). Chris Stynes reached first when Segui failed to handle a throw from Ripken on an infield hit, allowing Everett to score to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
Jose Offerman followed with a single to center, scoring Ramirez and Bichette. Stynes scored when Segui committed his second error, failing to handle a pickoff toss by Johnson, to make it 4-0.
After the game, Segui couldn't explain his defensive breakdown.
"Those are plays you make in your sleep," he said. "I take full blame for it."
Lansing followed with a home run to left center to make it 6-0 and staking Arrojo to a 6-0 lead. Every run in the inning was unearned.
"We certainly didn't do ourselves any good in that first inning," Hargrove said. "But I thought our guys did a tremendous job coming back and getting into the game."
Arrojo then allowed five runs (just two of them earned) on three hits and four walks. But Wakefield shut down the Orioles, while Baltimore's bullpen couldn't do the same to Boston. Reliever Alan Mills surrendered four runs for a change, all earned on back-to-back home runs. Everett hit a 430-foot three-run blast and Ramirez hit a solo shot, his 37th, in the top of the eighth inning.

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