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Orioles hitters go on power-walk, rip Mariners, 15-1 Seattle walks 13, gives up 5 homers


Pitchers understand each other.

Just as a place-kicker can empathize with the opponent who shanks the chip shot that would have won the game, a pitcher doesn't gloat over the other's struggles.

The reason: It's probably either happened to him or will happen down the line.

So, the Orioles' Ben McDonald, who had control of his pitches during a 15-1 pasting of the Seattle Mariners last night at Oriole Park, could feel for Randy Johnson, who didn't.

McDonald got a lot of help from his teammates, especially Mike Devereaux, who hit a grand slam in a six-run fifth inning and a bases-empty shot in a three-homer, four-run seventh. Chris Hoiles, Leo Gomez and Bill Ripken also homered, the Orioles' first five-homer game in five years.

McDonald (3-0) struck out five and walked none in his five-hit complete game. Johnson walked 10 in 4 1/3 innings and gave up eight runs despite allowing only three hits.

And McDonald could understand.

"I walked six guys against Boston once, so I know what he feels," said McDonald. "It was one of those nights where he was just missing. His slider was just missing, his fastball was just missing."

But Johnson, who tied his single-game career high for walks, wanted no compassion, for he felt plate umpire Larry Young was inconsistent with ball-and-strike calls.

Asked whether there was a particular area in which Young was deficient, Johnson replied: "The strike zone. The whole strike zone. He was calling balls strikes and strikes balls. I was disappointed the game had to go that way."

Johnson's wildness began in the Orioles' four-run second, when he walked four straight batters with one out, then gave up an RBI single to Bill Ripken before walking home another run. After the inning, Mariners manager Bill Plummer was ejected by Young for arguing balls and strikes.

But the way the Orioles in general, and Devereaux in particular, were slapping the ball around and out of Camden Yards, it didn't matter.

The crowd of 45,451 yelled itself nearly hoarse applauding Devereaux, who drove in six runs.

In his past two home games, Devereaux has gone 5-for-10 with three homers and a triple.

"I hope I don't wake up," said Devereaux, who is 21-for-59 (.356) during his past 14 games, and has driven in 14 runs in his past 11.

Devereaux said he thought the grand slam, which put the game out of reach in the fifth, wouldn't clear the wall, though it traveled 373 feet to left.

"The ball got into the jet current out there, and it took the ball with it," said Devereaux.

His second shot, which came in the homer-happy seventh, where Hoiles and Gomez also went deep, landed about halfway up in the left-center-field seats.

One inning later, Ripken, who hadn't hit a homer in 390 at-bats, dating to Sept. 15, 1990, in Toronto, joined the homer parade, clanking one off the left-field foul pole.

It was the Orioles' best display of power since a July 31, 1987, game in Texas where they hit five home runs.

And it all happened at Oriole Park, where the Orioles, who along with New York trail the Toronto Blue Jays by one game in the AL East, look like the 1927 Yankees.

The Orioles have won seven of their first eight games here, the best home mark in the American League and the best eight-game start at home in club history.

In addition, the Orioles have outscored the opposition 48-12 at home.

"We've got the capability to do that [score runs]," said manager Johnny Oates. "I said coming out of spring training that our season depends on our pitching because we can score runs."

The pitching, with the league's second lowest ERA (2.96), has more than held up at home, where it is 1.38.

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