KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Baltimore Orioles had just spent eight hours on the field and several more in preparation for yesterday's doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals, but manager John Oates didn't look the least bit tired.
"We spent 15 hours at the ballpark, and it would have felt like 30 if we had lost those two games," Oates said, "but when you win, it's all worth it."
Then it was well worth it. The Orioles came from behind to score an 11-8 victory in 10 innings in the first game, then came from ahead before emerging with a 12-inning, 9-8 victory in the nightcap at Royals Stadium.
Relief pitcher Gregg Olson recorded the save in the opener, but blew a five-run lead in the ninth inning of the second game before settling down to pitch through the 11th and earn his first victory of 1991.
Right fielder Joe Orsulak finally put the Orioles over the top with a two-out RBI single in the 12th -- the club's 35th hit of the day.
Talk about a swing shift. The first game began at 2:05, and the last pitch was thrown at 10:47. In between, a handful of working-class heroes sent Royals fans scurrying for their score books. They really couldn't tell the players without a program.
Three guys who came into the doubleheader in a combined 0-for-41 slump did the most damage. Chris Hoiles (0-for-14) hit a game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning of the first game. Tim Hulett (0-for-15) broke that tie with a home run in the 10th. Utility infielder Juan Bell (0-for-12) was one of the major contributors in the nightcap with three hits and three RBI.
There were 36 runs and 65 hits in the two games.
The 17 hits in the first game were a season high. Then the Orioles had 18 hits in the nightcap. Cal Ripken started the day in a slump and ended up with a six-hit performance that boosted him back to the top of the league batting ranks (.350). Randy Milligan had four hits in the nightcap -- and he didn't enter the game until the seventh inning.
The Orioles took the four-game series, winning the last three in little more than 24 hours.
"It's good for us to come in here and win three ballgames," Oates said. "We're tying to build some momentum and be more consistent, so it was good to come in and beat a team that was playing as well as the Royals were earlier in the week."
The Orioles scored 10 runs after the seventh inning to win a wild opener, coming back from four runs down in the ninth and to score seven times in two innings against Royals relief stopper Jeff Montgomery.
How strange was it?
Well, how often does a pinch runner hit a game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning?
Hoiles entered the game to pinch-run for Sam Horn in the eighth inning, when the game still looked like a run-of-the-mill Orioles loss. He came to the plate with the bases loaded in the ninth and lined a 2-0 pitch over the 385-foot sign in left-center to force the game into extra innings.
"I wasn't trying to do that," Hoiles said. "The way I've been going lately, I just wanted to go up there and hit the ball hard. It just worked out."
How strange was it?
Three Orioles homered off Montgomery in the ninth and 10th, but not the ones you'd expect. Hoiles, Hulett and Brady Anderson came into the game with a combined total of seven this year -- five of them by Hulett, whose leadoff shot in the 10th decided the game.
Hoiles had two. Anderson hadn't homered since Aug. 28 of last year.
"I guess you wouldn't bet on us," said Hulett, who had his first three-hit game of 1991, "but sometimes, I think the pitchers think the same way. Maybe Cal or Sam or Randy Milligan wouldn't get the same pitches that we got in those situations."
Hulett would not even have been in the game if regular third baseman Leo Gomez had not sprained an ankle the night before.
How strange was it?
Montgomery came into the series with an 0.00 ERA in 18 career innings against the Orioles, but he blew a save opportunity Thursday night (in a game the Royals eventually won) and gave up seven runs oneight hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings to record his fourth loss in five 1991 decisions. He has blown his past three save opportunities.
"Any time you're down a bunch late in a ballgame and you battle back, it's great," Oates said. "There have been so many times we came back in the eighth and ninth innings and came up one hit short. This is the second time this week we've gotten that big hit."
The Orioles had fallen behind in the early innings again in the opener. Right-hander Roy Smith gave up four runs in the second inning and one more in the third as the Royals built a 5-0 lead for right-hander Kevin Appier.
Appier gave up just a run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings, but he tired early and the bullpen could not hold the lead.
Rookie Mike Magnante worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings, but Steve Crawford came on to give up three straight extra-base hits in the eighth and the Orioles scored three times to make it a one-run game.
The Royals answered with three runs in the bottom of the eighth off right-hander Mark Williamson, who struggled in his first appearance since he was struck on the pitching arm by a line drive on Thursday night.
Todd Frohwirth (2-1) pitched a scoreless ninth and was the pitcher of record when the Orioles scored three times in the 10th. Olson worked a perfect 10th to earn his 12th save of the year.