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Orioles hitters go on power-walk, rip Mariners, 15-1 Seattle walks 13, gives up 4 homers


The Orioles did their best last night to demolish the notion that their spacious new Camden Yards playpen is a pitchers' park, hitting four home runs on the way to a 15-1 pasting of the Seattle Mariners before 45,451.

Mike Devereaux led the barrage, driving in six runs, five of them with two homers, a fifth-inning grand slam and a seventh-inning bases-empty shot.

"I'd better not wake up," said Devereaux, who has driven in 14 runs in his past 11 games and is hitting .356 (21-for-59) over his past 14 games.

Chris Hoiles, Leo Gomez and Bill Ripken also homered to help run the Orioles' home record to 7-1, best in the American League and the best home start in team history.

The win kept the Orioles (14-8) tied with the New York Yankees for second place in the AL East. Both teams pulled within one game of the first-place Toronto Blue Jays, who lost last night.

The Orioles made the most of wildness by Seattle starter Randy Johnson. The 6-foot-10 left-hander walked 10, three of them with the bases loaded, in just 4 1/3 innings. Seattle pitchers walked 13 Orioles.

The 10 walks tied Johnson's career high for one game, which came last July in a game at Milwaukee.

Last night, Johnson, who has led the majors in walks the past two years, gave up singles to Hoiles, Ripken and David Segui, but he also walked in three runs.

Every batter in the Orioles starting lineup, save for Cal and Bill Ripken, got a base on balls from Johnson, who threw 103 pitches, 58 out of the strike zone.

Meanwhile, the Orioles' Ben McDonald (3-0) pitched a complete-game five-hitter, striking out five and walking none. The only blemish was a booming home run to left by Jay Buhner in the fifth.

"I felt like I had better control," said McDonald. "It was a confidence-builder. I felt better about my mechanics."

Orioles manager Johnny Oates said: "It's always easier to pitch with a big lead. Ben had a good fastball and good command of his pitches."

By the time Buhner hit his homer, the Orioles had scored four early runs, and in the bottom of the fifth, they combined Johnson's lack of control and Devereaux's power to put the game out of reach.

The center fielder had his second two-home run game of his career, and the grand slam, a 373-foot blast to left field, was also the second of his career. The six RBI tied a career high.

Randy Milligan led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Hoiles' single to left. Gomez then walked to load the bases, and after Segui struck out, Chito Martinez forced in a run with a walk, also forcing Johnson out of the game.

Reliever Jim Acker walked Bill Ripken for the sixth Baltimore run, and after Brady Anderson reached on a force play, Devereaux slammed his drive to left.

In the seventh, Devereaux, Hoiles and Gomez connected for home runs, and in the eighth, Bill Ripken hit the left-field foul pole for his first homer in 390 at-bats, dating back to a Sept. 15, 1990 game in Toronto.

The Orioles got their first scoring opportunity early when Johnson, who has been hampered by wildness throughout his career, was unable to find the plate in the second inning.

With one out, Johnson walked four straight -- Hoiles, Gomez, Segui and Martinez -- to force in the first Orioles run.

Bill Ripken followed with a bloop to right that eluded Buhner's dive for a single, driving in the second run.

Anderson walked to force in Segui with the third run, and Devereaux grounded to second to drive in Ripken.

Cal Ripken grounded to third to end the inning, but the Orioles had scored four runs on just one hit. Johnson, who has led the majors in walks for the past two seasons, gave up five walks, throwing 37 pitches, only 14 for strikes.

Johnson, who threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers in June 1990, averaged 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 1991, becoming one of only five pitchers in major-league history to average 10 or more strikeouts while pitching 200 or more innings in a season.

But he also walked 6.79 per nine innings last season, the highest mark among pitchers with at least 100 innings.

After the inning, Seattle manager Bill Plummer was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Larry Young about Johnson's pitch location.

"It was one of those night where he was just missing. His slider was just missing, his fast ball was just missing," said McDonald, who added, "He's a good enough pitcher and he'll come out of it."

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