Moyer fills in blanks in 8-0 win Four-hit shutout runs scoreless innings to 17

THE BALTIMORE SUN

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When he combined with Gregg Olson to pin a 1-0 loss on the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night, Jamie Moyer was the favorite subject of some not-too-subtle humor.

One newspaper account of the game suggested that an impostor, such as a rejuvenated Steve Carlton, must have been wearing Moyer's Orioles uniform.

But after last night's repeat performance maybe they should be investigating to see who was wearing Moyer's uniform for the past six years. Certainly that person could bear only a physical resemblance to the left-hander now mesmerizing hitters on behalf of the Orioles.

The "new" Jamie Moyer continued his masterful work last night, restricting the Kansas City Royals to four hits while pitching the Orioles to an 8-0 victory. It was his first solo major-league shutout since June 3, 1988, when he blanked the New York Mets, 5-0, for the Chicago Cubs.

"I throw the same now as I did 10 years ago," said Moyer. "The only difference is now I have 10 years of experience."

The Orioles are Moyer's fourth big-league team, but the organization that probably misses him the most is the one that had him last year and wouldn't guarantee him a job this season -- the Detroit Tigers.

He spent the entire 1992 season with the Tigers' Triple-A team in Toledo, compiling a 10-8 record with a 2.86 ERA. But when it came time to talk contract for this season, the Tigers had almost no interest.

"They said they'd invite me to spring training, but there was no guarantee if I didn't make it that I'd have a job at Toledo," said Moyer. "That's the same as it was the year before [1992] when I went to spring training with the Cubs.

"They offered me a coaching job, but I was still only 29 years old and felt like I could pitch," said Moyer. Ultimately he wound up Toledo for his first full season in the minor leagues since 1985.

ASigned as a free agent by the Orioles last winter, Moyer went 6-0 with a 1.67 ERA with Triple-A Rochester before being promoted on May 20 and promptly lost his first three starts. He's been on a roll ever since.

On a night the Orioles juggled their lineup in a continuing search for more offense, Moyer made it academic. He reeled off his fifth straight win, the longest single-season streak of his career. The only other time Moyer won five straight games in the big leagues was 1986 and 1987, while he was with the Cubs and Texas Rangers.

After losing his first three starts, Moyer had a 5.74 ERA. Since then he has gone 5-0 with a 2.22 ERA and the Orioles have won all seven of his starts. His overall ERA is down to 3.13, and with the exception of two innings when he allowed 12 runs (seven to the Angels, five to the Yankees), it is 1.38.

Last night Mark McLemore and Mike Devereaux each had a pair of hits to drive in two runs apiece and rookie sensation Jeffrey Hammonds drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and a double as the Orioles rebounded from Monday night's disheartening 7-1 loss.

It was the fifth time in six occasions this year that the Orioles have come back to win after suffering a loss by six or more runs. The win enabled them to remain 4 1/2 games behind the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays and a game behind the third-place Detroit Tigers.

As they did the night before, the Orioles put a run on the scoreboard in the first inning -- but this time they didn't stop at that point. Devereaux got a broken-bat single to drive in Harold Reynolds, who had doubled and advanced on McLemore's sacrifice bunt.

Two innings later Devereaux returned to last season's form with the bases loaded, lining another run-scoring single to right field. It was his first hit and RBI in 12 at-bats with the bases loaded this year -- after going 13-for-25 (38 RBI) a year ago.

The Orioles added three more runs in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Hammonds and a double by McLemore. That finished Kansas City starter Mark Gardner (4-6), who left not only the game, but also the active list. The right-hander was placed on the disabled list with a strained shoulder after the game and left-hander Dennis Rasmussen was summoned to take his place.

The Orioles also put a three-spot on the board against left-hander Frank DiPino in the eighth, when Hammonds delivered a two-run double and Leo Gomez hit a sacrifice fly.

But even with the luxury of eight runs on the board, Moyer was still the big story of the night. In his past two starts he has pitched 17 straight scoreless innings, and he and Fernando Valenzuela, the other veteran left-hander in the Orioles' rotation, have combined for 32 2/3 straight innings without allowing a run.

Moyer needed only 96 pitches to register his first complete game since Aug. 3, 1990, when he was pitching with the Rangers. He didn't walk anyone, facing only 31 batters, four over the minimum.

"He just made a lot of good pitches," said Orioles manager Johnny Oates. "That's all I can say. As I look back on that game, I don't remember him getting away with any pitches.

"Usually you throw some bad pitches that you get away with -- but I honestly don't remember any. As long as he throws with the kind of control he's had the last two times out, he'll get people out."

Last night's win enabled the Orioles to even the series against the Royals and balance their record for the road trip at 3-3, with the pivotal match for both coming tonight.

Orioles-Royals scoring Orioles first: Reynolds doubled to right. McLemore sacrificed, third baseman Gaetti to second baseman Rossy, Reynolds to third. Devereaux singled to center, Reynolds scored. Baines grounded into double play, shortstop Gagne to second baseman Rossy to first baseman Joyner, Devereaux forced at second. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on. Orioles 1, Royals 0.

Orioles third: Hammonds walked. Gomez struck out. Hammonds stole second. Reynolds walked. McLemore singled to second, Hammonds to third, Reynolds to second. Devereaux singled to right, Hammonds scored, Reynolds to third, McLemore to second. Baines struck out. Ripken flied to left fielder McReynolds. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 left on. Orioles 2, Royals 0.

Orioles fourth: Hoiles doubled down the left-field line. Segui singled to left-center, Hoiles to third. Hammonds hit sacrifice fly to center fielder McRae, Hoiles scored. Gomez reached on interference, Segui to second. Reynolds grounded into fielder's choice, second baseman Rossy to shortstop Gagne, Segui to third, Gomez forced at second. McLemore doubled down the left-field line, Segui and Reynolds scored. Devereaux flied to center fielder McRae. 3 runs, 3 hits, 1 error, 1 left on. Orioles 5, Royals 0.

Orioles eighth: DiPino pitching. Ripken struck out. Hoiles singled to left. Segui singled to center, Hoiles to second. Hammonds doubled to left, Hoiles and Segui scored, Hammonds to third on throw home. Gomez hit sacrifice fly to right fielder Brooks, Hammonds scored. Reynolds singled to right. McLemore grounded into fielder's choice, third baseman Gaetti to second baseman Rossy, Reynolds forced at second. 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Orioles 8, Royals 0.

ORIOLES TONIGHT

Site: Ewing Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

Time: 8:35

Orioles starter: Mike Mussina (9-4, 4.28)

Royals starter: Hipolito Pichardo (4-4, 4.05)

TV: HTS

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTOP (1500 AM)

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