BALTIMORE On Thursday, Baltimore blew a 4-0 lead and lost 5-4 to Seattle. Last night the Orioles turned the tables, rallying from a 5-0 deficit against nemesis/former Oriole Jamie Moyer to beat the powerful Mariners 8-7 on Geronimo Gil’s 10th-inning sacrifice fly before 32,353 at Camden Yards.
The Baltimore 10th began with a single by Jeff Conine. Marty Cordova bunted Conine to second and reached himself when reliever John Halama threw the ball past second baseman Bret Boone, covering first. Brian Roberts ran for Conine. Tony Batista was walked intentionally to load the bases for Gill, who lofted a fly to medium right field.
It was just the third victory in their last 21 games against the Mariners (34-19) for the Orioles (24-28), but their fifth in five extra-inning games this season.
Even after the Orioles knocked Moyer out in the sixth, cutting the deficit to 5-3, the Mariners seemed to have the game in hand when they scored twice in the seventh on Conine’s throwing error and Ruben Sierra’s double off reliever B.J. Ryan.
However, Baltimore’s Chris Singleton homered to right off Julio Mateo with two out in the bottom of the inning, scoring Melvin Mora and Gary Matthews, Jr. ahead of him. Singleton had left Thursday’s game in the third inning with heat exhaustion and dehydration.
So it was 7-6 when Batista singled to center with one out in the eighth and Gill followed with a game-tying double to right. Gill was thrown out trying for third base, rendering Mike Bordick’s subsequent single to center inconsequential.
Despite not getting the victory last night, Moyer has won 13 decisions in a row against the Orioles. That ties the streak by Arizona’s Randy Johnson against Milwaukee for the longest since Oakland’s Dave Stewart beat Seattle 14 straight from 1986-1991. And Moyer’s only victory in his last seven starts came against the Orioles last Sunday. But Moyer, who had the major’s top winning percentage (.692) from 1996-2001 was shaky last night, surrendering three runs and seven hits in 5⅔ innings.
After breezing through the first in typically efficient fashion, Moyer got into trouble with one down in the second. Cordova singled to center and Batista doubled to left on the next pitch. Gil then fell behind 0-2 but battled to a 10th pitch which he meekly lofted to second. Bordick then bounced out to end the threat.
Jerry Hairston led off the Baltimore third with a double and then stole third, but the next three batters all ripped pitches at Seattle fielders and Hairston stayed put.
Baltimore right-hander Travis Driskill, who had allowed Seattle just one run and four hits in six innings in his first start last Saturday, didn’t fare as well last night. Driskill gave up an infield hit to Ichiro Suzuki on the game’s first pitch and fell behind 2-0 when John Olerud followed with a two-out, 391-foot home run to right-center.
That was nothing compared to the top of the third after when Driskill fanned major league batting leader Suzuki.