- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2006

BALTIMORE — On a night when eight homers sailed out of Camden Yards, Ramon Hernandez picked a most opportune time to hit his first for the Baltimore Orioles.

Hernandez connected with one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Orioles past the Los Angeles Angels 6-5 last night.

Hernandez hit a solo shot on a 3-2 fastball from Scot Shields (1-1). The drive, which landed in the left-field seats, brought an appropriate conclusion to a game that featured four homers by each team.

“How the weather was today, the ball was flying,” Hernandez said. “I kind of figured it would go out. Lucky I hit it in a good spot.”

So did seven other players, including Baltimore’s Jay Gibbons.

“The ball was traveling well tonight. Usually in April it doesn’t go anywhere,” Gibbons said. “But 75 degrees, the ball was jumping.”

David Newhan and rookie Nick Markakis also homered for the Orioles, who trailed 4-0 before rallying for their fourth win in five games.

Los Angeles had gone five straight games without a homer and ranked last in the AL with seven overall before Garret Anderson, Juan Rivera and Adam Kennedy connected in the first two innings against Rodrigo Lopez.

The Angels’ final home run came in dramatic fashion. Los Angeles trailed 5-4 in the ninth when LaTroy Hawkins entered for Baltimore, seeking his first save. He struck out Tim Salmon and Casey Kotchman and went to 3-2 on Jeff Mathis before the rookie drove a fastball into the left-field seats for his first major league homer.

It was a redemptive hit for Mathis, whose passed ball helped Baltimore take the lead in the eighth.

Tim Byrdak (1-0) got the final out in the ninth. It was his first major league win and came in his 93rd appearance, ending the longest active winless streak in the big leagues.

Hernandez trumped Mathis’ homer in the bottom half.

“I went to 3-2 and tried not to walk the guy and he hit it out of the park,” Shields said. “A situation like that, I’ve got to give him something to hit.”

It was the Orioles’ second straight late-inning victory. Melvin Mora homered with two outs in the ninth inning Thursday to power Baltimore past Tampa Bay.

“It’s exciting to win two games in a row like that, let alone one in a month,” Gibbons said. “I love this. I hope we do it every night. It’s a lot more fun than winning 10-0.”

With the score 4-all in the eighth, Baltimore’s Brian Roberts hit a one-out single off J.C. Romero and advanced on Mathis’ passed ball. Shields then retired pinch-hitter Luis Matos on a fly ball before Mora hit an opposite-field single to right, scoring Roberts with an unearned run.

The lead wouldn’t last.

Lopez allowed four runs and six hits in eight innings. He retired his last seven batters, striking out four.

Los Angeles starter Ervin Santana, who went seven innings, also yielded four runs, six hits and three home runs.

The Angels went up 3-0 in the first inning. Anderson homered with a man on, and two pitches later Rivera hit a drive into the left-field seats.

Kennedy hit his first home run of the season in the second inning to make it 4-0.

“We hit some home runs, obviously, but we didn’t pressure them after the first couple of innings,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “Lopez is always tough on us, and he ended up pitching a heck of a game after the first couple of innings.”

Gibbons connected in the bottom of the second, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, and Newhan got Baltimore to 4-2 with a solo shot in the fourth.

Markakis tied it in the fifth, hitting his second major league homer with one out after Kevin Millar led off with a double.

Notes — World figure skating champion Kimmie Meissner threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Kennedy was 1-for-18 lifetime against Lopez before going 2-for-3 against the right-hander.

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