- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2002

BALTIMORE Baltimore shorstop Mike Bordick scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the eighth inning to rally the Orioles to a 4-3 victory over the Royals before 31,792 last night at Camden Yards.

The Orioles (14-15) have beaten the Royals (8-19) five straight times this season and nine out of the last 11. With two more games against the lowly Royals left in this homestand, there's no reason to believe that the Orioles won't go over .500 for the second time this season.

"When you win it is exciting. It doesn't matter how you win," Melvin Mora said. "We did the right things to win the game. It's not because they are Kansas City. When you do the right things you win a lot of games."

Orioles left fielder Marty Cordova was the Orioles' hitting star, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Reliever Willis Roberts (1-1) got the win by facing one batter in the seventh. Orioles right-hander Jorge Julio picked up his fifth save of the season.

Bordick, who entered the game batting .139, doubled off the top of the left-field wall to lead off the eighth inning.

Brook Fordyce sacrificed Bordick to third with a perfect bunt down the first baseline. With the game tied 3-3, Royals reliever Cory Bailey's pitch got by catcher Juan Brito to bring home the winning run.

"It was good to see everyone stay on top of things," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "We had some great plays late. We did enough things tonight to win, and speed had something to do with our win."

Though he didn't start the game smoothly, Orioles ace Scott Erickson pitched well enough to win but received a no-decision.

The Royals, the worst-hitting team in the American League, took a 2-0 first-inning lead off Erickson on four hits. Royals leadoff batter Chuck Knoblauch opened the game with a liner to left. Right fielder Michael Tucker moved Knoblauch to third with a double down the right-field line.

With nobody out, first baseman Mike Sweeney hit a chopper through the middle that Bordick knocked down at the edge of the outfield grass behind second base. Knoblauch scored on Sweeney's infield single to make it 1-0.

Sweeney's bouncer pushed Tucker to third. With one out, Royals third baseman Joe Randa, a .303 hitter, lofted a deep fly to right that drove in Tucker to give the Royals an early 2-0 lead.

For the next three innings, Erickson retired the Royals in order. Erickson's bad first inning could be attributed to the weather. Game-time temperature was 65 degrees, but the mercury plummeted into the 40s as the game wore on.

Erickson, who missed all of last season while rehabbing from ligament replacement surgery, ran into trouble in the fifth inning. However, two defensive gems prevented the Royals from adding to their lead.

Two leadoff singles and a throwing error by Tony Batista put runners on the corners with no outs in the fifth. Knoblauch hit a slow hopper to Orioles second baseman Jerry Hairston. Hairston charged Knoblauch's grounder and executed a perfect off-balance throw to catcher Fordyce, who tagged Brito for the first out of the inning.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Royals cleanup hitter Carlos Beltran drilled a sinking liner into center. Orioles center fielder Mora got a good jump on Beltran's liner and made a spectacular diving catch to get the Orioles out of the inning.

The Orioles tied the game 2-2 in the fifth inning off Royals reliever Blake Stein and courtesy of Cordova's hot bat. Orioles right fielder Gary Matthews Jr. beat out a slow roller to third. With one out and Matthews on second after a walk to Jeff Conine, Cordova belted a single to the gap in center that scored Matthews.

Erickson went 6⅔ innings and allowed three runs on six hits, although only two runs were earned. Erickson walked three and struck out two.

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