- The Washington Times - Friday, August 13, 2004

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Melvin Mora does everything in bunches. After all, he’s the father of 3-year-old quintuplets.

The Baltimore Orioles third baseman homered and drove in three runs yesterday in a 6-1 victory over the Anaheim Angels. Mora has four homers in his last five games, and 20 RBI in his last 13 contests.

“It’s a huge bat in the middle of the lineup and he just makes us that much tougher,” teammate David Newhan said. “You’ve got to put him among the top five all-around hitters right now. He’s been incredible to watch.”

Rodrigo Lopez (10-7) pitched seven strong innings for the Orioles, who ended Bartolo Colon’s six-game winning streak with their ninth victory in 10 games.

Mora homered in the first inning against Colon (11-9) and added a two-run single in the sixth against Brendan Donnelly. He’s batting .346 with 21 homers and 71 RBI — all career highs. Since he came off the disabled list July18, Mora is hitting .344 with nine homers and 28 RBI.

“The way he’s hitting right now, it’s tough to pitch to him. But he’s been a tough out the last two years,” Colon said through a translator. “He’s a much more mature hitter and has much more coverage of home plate, which makes him a tough out on each pitch.”

Lopez won for the fourth time in his last five road starts, allowing a run and five hits while striking out five and walking one. The right-hander is 7-5 with a 4.44 ERA in his 14 starts, and 3-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 14 relief appearances.

“You know that he has the ability, and he’s done it before,” manager Lee Mazzilli said. “He was very successful and valuable to us when he was coming out of the pen early in the year, and now he’s definitely proved that he can pitch in our rotation.”

Colon got off to a rocky start and couldn’t recover. He gave up six runs, eight hits and walked a season-high six in 51/3 innings while striking out three. The right-hander had a 2.54 ERA during his winning streak, which matched the longest of his career.

“Anytime you can get to a guy like that, it says a lot for the way your team is playing offensively,” Baltimore’s Larry Bigbie said. “That isn’t easy to do against a guy like him, especially the way he’s been going lately.”

Colon surrendered extra-base hits to four of his first five batters, but the Orioles got only two runs.

Brian Roberts doubled, but was thrown out trying to steal third by catcher Jose Molina. Colon was a strike away from escaping the inning unscathed, but Mora homered to left-center on a 2-2 pitch. The Orioles scored their second run on doubles by Miguel Tejada and Jay Gibbons.

“I don’t have anything to blame it on. My location was bad and my mechanics were fine, I thought,” Colon said. “I just did not spot the ball where I wanted to.”

Baltimore increased its lead to 3-0 in the fourth with a pair of walks, an infield hit by Newhan and some daring baserunning by Bigbie. Newhan beat the throw to first from shortstop David Eckstein on a slow bouncer up the middle and Bigbie never broke stride, beating Darin Erstad’s relay throw to the plate.

“I knew the ball was hit softly and I knew that Newhan had good speed, so I was coming around the base regardless,” Bigbie said. “I didn’t think too much about Erstad napping. I just figured I was going to try and make him make a play on me if Newhan beat the throw, and I was able to get in there.”

Jose Guillen got the run back in the bottom half with his 22nd homer, but the Orioles broke it open with three in the sixth.

Robert Machado had an RBI single before a sacrifice bunt by Roberts put runners at second and third. Bigbie and Machado both scored on Mora’s single against Donnelly.

Matt Hensley escaped a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the ninth when Mercado struck out and Roberts lined into a double play at first base.

Notes — Orioles reliever Todd Williams plunked Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson with two outs in the eighth. It was the first time Anderson was hit by a pitch in 3,807 plate appearances and 891 games since Hideki Irabu plunked him on Aug.25, 1998. … Mora’s .394 average in day games in the best in the AL. … Colon, whose nine complete games last season tied Mark Mulder and Roy Halladay for the major league lead, has yet to go the distance in 24 starts with the Angels. He has allowed 30 homers, matching last season’s career-high total with the White Sox. … Molina has thrown out 17 of 35 potential basestealers this season, while his injury-plagued brother, Bengie, has erased only nine of 45.

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