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Against friend Clemens, Evans has standout day


BOSTON -- Dwight Evans got more standing ovations than hits during his homecoming weekend at Fenway Park.

He came into yesterday's game with two singles in his first 11 at-bats in the series, but turned in a big performance at the plate to help the Baltimore Orioles defeat Roger Clemens and the Boston Red Sox, 5-1, and take three of four games here.

In his first career at-bat against Clemens, Evans sliced an RBI triple into the right-field corner to put the Orioles on top and then scored on an errant relay throw by right fielder Tom Brunansky.

The next time up, Evans blooped a double into right field, bringing Clemens within earshot of second base for a friendly reprimand.

"After the second one," Clemens said, "I went over and said, 'We've seen enough of that.' "

No hard feelings. Clemens wore No. 24 during spring training in honor of Evans, who became a free agent and signed with the Orioles after his contract option was not renewed by the Red Sox.

"I'm just happy to see he's doing well, he's healthy and he's playing right field," Clemens said.

Evans got a standing ovation when he went to the plate for his first at-bat in each of the four games. He also got one when he took the field in the first inning Thursday night in his first game as an opposing player at Fenway Park. He had a moderately successful series at the plate, with four hits and two walks, but he came back a winner in more ways than one.

"To me, it [the fan response] is the ultimate way of them saying, 'You did a good job for us,' " Evans said. "I love the fans here. I played for the fans here. I appreciated them, and they appreciated me."

Evans appreciated the gesture that Clemens made during spring training, though that didn't stop him from aiding in Clemens' third defeat of the season. The Orioles might have found him beatable yesterday, but Evans said Clemens has no equal in baseball.

"He's the best pitcher in the game," Evans said. "He's so aggressive, and the heart that he has. Not only does he have great stuff, but he has great control, and he uses both sides of the plate. He doesn't use the middle of the plate."

Milligan returns with a bang

First baseman Randy Milligan returned to the starting lineup after missing a game with a jammed right foot and quickly made up for lost time with a tremendous home run in the ninth inning.

The shot off reliever Jeff Reardon cleared the Green Monster in left-center field and missed clearing the screen above it by only a few feet.

Oates explains choice of Smith

Manager John Oates said the club pondered several options before recalling Roy Smith to join the starting rotation.

"Mike Mussina was mentioned, but the situation and the fact that his arm was a little tender had an effect," Oates said. "Roy was a veteran major-league pitcher, and he had pitched well enough to make the club in spring training. Why shouldn't he have gotten the chance?"

Why not, indeed. Smith has played an important role in the Orioles' resurgence, winning twice in the past six games.


Mike Devereaux was hitless in 13 career at-bats against Clemens before he singled in the eighth inning yesterday. . . . Cal Ripken played in his 1,458th consecutive game yesterday, on the 50th anniversary of the death of Lou Gehrig, who played in 2,130 consecutive games. . . . The Red Sox finally have signed P Frankie Rodriguez, their first-round pick in last year's June draft. Yesterday was the last day that clubs could sign last year's draft choices.

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