- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 21, 2002

BALTIMORE Brook Fordyce didn't let a second chance to be a hero pass him by.
After making the final out with the bases loaded in the 12th inning, Fordyce redeemed himself in the 14th. The backup catcher lined a single to right field that scored Tony Batista to give the Orioles a 4-3 win in front of 39,257 at Camden Yards.
Fordyce's heroics made sure Melvin Mora's game-tying single in the ninth inning didn't go to waste. The Baltimore shortstop's hit up the middle scored pinch hitter Luis Lopez, who led off the inning with a double down the left-field line and was bunted him to third by second baseman Jerry Hairston.
Except for one hit and two harmless walks, Baltimore's bullpen was perfect in extra innings. Jorge Julio worked the 10th and 11th, striking out three and clocking in at 100 mph with one fastball. Yorkis Perez retired two batters in the 12th before giving way to Rick Bauer (5-4), who went the rest of the way to earn the win.
Mora's ninth-inning single negated Chicago's go-ahead score in the seventh, when shortstop Royce Clayton's double scored catcher Sandy Alomar, chasing Baltimore starter Sidney Ponson from the game. Up until that point, the Orioles' resourceful defense had kept Ponson out of trouble.
Through six innings, the right-hander had surrendered just two runs despite allowing 11 of the 25 batters he faced to reach base. At some points he helped himself, picking off Clayton at first to end the third inning and racing over to cover first base in time to get Jose Valentin on a grounder to end the sixth.
But the rest of time it was his infield, which turned two timely double plays, and catcher Geronimo Gil, who cut down two would-be base stealers, that saved him.
By the seventh, however, Ponson's luck had run out. After Alomar walked, Clayton smacked a deep fly that bounced off the left-field wall. Outfielder Marty Cordova stumbled before picking up the ball, enabling Alomar to score from first.
Ponson was then lifted for B.J. Ryan, having given up 10 hits and three runs, all of them earned.
The Orioles staked Ponson to a 2-0 lead in the third. After Gary Matthews Jr. singled and stole second, Batista singled up the middle for his team-leading 58th RBI. Clark, the Orioles' 29-year-old rookie, then doubled off the right-field scoreboard, scoring Batista.
With his 3-for-7 performance last night, the career minor leaguer raised his batting average to .409 since being called up Monday from Class AAA Rochester.
The White Sox trimmed the lead to 2-1 with two out in the fourth when Paul Konerko singled in Ray Durham, who started the inning with a double. After doubling and homering Friday, Durham reached base three times last night.
He scored the tying run for Chicago in the sixth when the White Sox collected three straight singles off Ponson. The damage could have been worse, but the Orioles' defense came to the rescue when Konerko hit a bouncer to third.
Batista, ranging toward shortstop, fielded it on two hops and threw to second baseman Hairston, who hesitated for a split-second. But Batista pointed to first, where Lopez, a bench player thrust into the starting lineup when Jay Gibbons was scratched before the game with a sore right wrist, made a nice stretch to catch Hairston's relay throw.
After a walk to Thomas, Ponson beat Valentin to the bag on a 3-1 putout that ended the inning.
The Orioles flashed more leather in the seventh as Gil recorded two assists from behind the plate. The first came when he gunned out Clayton, who was trying to move from second to third on a bunt by Kenny Lofton. Moments later, he threw Lofton out trying to steal second.
Notes Frank Thomas' liner in the fourth inning caught Ponson's right leg as he completed his delivery, but Ponson stayed in the game and retired Jose Valentin on a fly to left to end the inning.
Hargrove said he thought Hairston's ejection Friday by umpire Joe West came a bit quickly, or at least too quickly for him to race out of the dugout in time to intervene.
"Jerry's spontaneous and animated," Hargrove said. "That's not a bad thing. He just needs to channel [his energy] a little bit."

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