NEW YORK -- The Orioles needed an emotional rescue last night, and Mike Devereaux showed up just in time.
His two-out RBI single in the top of the 10th inning salvaged a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees and saved the Orioles from one of the most deflating defeats of a discouraging season.
How deflating? The club held a one-run lead in the ninth inning and was two outs away from taking three out of four games from the contending Yankees at Yankee Stadium when Gregg Olson gave up three straight hits to tie the game.
How deflating? Right-hander Ben McDonald took a one-hitter into the seventh inning, but a bid for his first win since April 30 was spoiled by a Wade Boggs single.
How deflating? Manager Johnny Oates was all smiles before the game because Devereaux and designated hitter Harold Baines had returned from the disabled list to bolster his lineup, but there again was not enough offensive punch to put the game away early.
Devereaux made it all better with the soft single that he lifted over the left side of the infield to score Brady Anderson and defeat Yankees closer Steve Farr. The Orioles took the series and took off for California with a chance to turn a grueling, 10-game road trip into the beginning of a turnaround.
"That was nice," Devereaux said. "Before the game -- during batting practice -- you could see that there was a whole new out look. People were ragging on each other and having fun. Hopefully with this series, we can start turning things around."
It should have happened a little earlier, but Olson could not get by the heart of the Yankees' order. He gave up a one-out double to Randy Velarde and gave up the lead on a high 2-0 fastball to Boggs. When Jim Leyritz followed with a single to put the winning run in scoring position, Oates turned the game over to left-hander Brad Pennington, who got out of the inning and went on to record his first major-league win.
Nothing deflating about that. Oates was so upbeat that he disputed the notion that the club would have taken the loss all that hard.
"I don't think it would have been as deflating as earlier in the year," he said. "I can't put my finger on it and I don't know what will happen over the next 10 days, but I've been coming to the ballpark with a whole new feeling about our ballclub."
If only it had not been the same old story for McDonald, who has made four solid starts in a row without benefit of a victory. He pitched to the minimum number of batters through five innings and took a one-hitter into the seventh. He was throwing so well, in fact, he was disappointed when Oates came to get him with a run in and a runner on in the seventh.
"I had plenty left," McDonald said. "I would have liked to have stayed in there, but that's not my decision. I'd just like to get a chance to get myself out of a jam a couple of times."
He also would like to get himself into the win column again sometime soon, especially if he keeps leaving with a lead.
"I could easily have six wins right now, but I've got a black cat following me around," he said. "[Rick] Sutcliffe gave up six the other day and won his fifth game, so I figure it's got to turn around for me soon."
The Orioles had been shut out three times in games started by McDonald and had scored a total of five runs in his previous three appearances, but they had better luck against Mike Witt last night.
Witt is doing in New York what Fernando Valenzuela is doing in Baltimore, trying to re-establish himself as a premier pitcher after spending two years out of the major leagues, but he got no cooperation from the Orioles. Chris Hoiles lined a one-out home run to left-center in the second inning and delivered a big hit in a two-run rally in the fourth.
The home run was the seventh of the year for Hoiles, who has four homers in his past 11 games. He has hit safely in seven of the past eight games he has started to raise his batting average from .222 to .270.
Witt contributed to his own problems in the fourth. He walked Leo Gomez before Hoiles drove a double into right-center to bring home the second run. David Segui followed with a single to put runners at first and third before Harold Reynolds bounced into a force play to score Hoiles and give McDonald a 3-0 lead.
Witt further complicated the situation with a walk to Anderson, but Mark McLemore hit a line drive right at shortstop Spike Owen for an inning-ending double play.
McDonald cruised into the seventh, but he gave up back-to-back singles to Velarde and Boggs and then moved both runners up with a wild pitch to hasten his exit.
KEEPING IT IN PARK
After reverting to his form of last season a month ago, the Orioles' Ben McDonald has given up no homers in past two starts:
Date .. .. Opp. .. HR .. .. IP .. .. O's result
4/30 .. .. K.C. .. 2 .. ... 6.0 .. . Won, 12-5
5/6 .. ... Tor. .. 4 .. ... 4.0 .. . Lost, 10-8
5/11.. ... Bos. .. 1 .. ... 6.2 .. . Lost, 4-0
5/17 .. .. Cle. .. 1 .. ... 8.1 .. . Lost, 2-0
5/22 .. .. Mil. .. 0 .. ... 5.1 .. . Won, 5-4
5/27 .. .. N.Y. .. 0 .. ... 6.1 .. . Won, 4-3