Mussina, O's Jay-walk to first SkyDome sweep

TORONTO — TORONTO -- The Orioles barely broke a sweat in completing their first series sweep in Toronto since 1982 and their first ever at SkyDome, which opened in 1989.

Mike Mussina (11-4, 2.67) pitched a complete-game, five-hitter to defeat the Blue Jays, 7-1, last night, putting the finishing touches a three-game sweep.


The Blue Jays, in the midst of their first eight-game losing streak since 1981, scored just three runs in the series and have scored eight runs against the Orioles in six games this season, all losses.

Mussina didn't do it alone last night, though he almost could have.


Center fielder Brady Anderson lent a hand with his powerful bat. Anderson had more hits (three) in one night than he had in his 29 previous at-bats. Two of those hits were home runs off losing pitcher Todd Stottlemyre (5-5, 3.90), who used to own the Orioles.

Mussina added to his strong case to become the All-Star Game starter and did it in front of Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, the man who will make that decision.

Mussina struck out six, walked one, retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced and faced three above the minimum 27 batters.

The numbers suggest no starter in the American League is having a better season than Mussina.

Even if Oriole Park fans didn't get to see Mussina pitch anywhere but in the bullpen in last summer's All-Star Game, the baseball fans of Pittsburgh figure to see plenty of him this time.

Mussina leads the league in innings pitched and ERA, and has as many wins as New York Yankees left-hander Jimmy Key and more wins than Seattle Mariners left-hander Randy Johnson. Kansas City right-hander David Cone is close to Mussina in every category.

As if Mussina and Anderson didn't combine to make it a long enough night for the Blue Jays, for the final kick in the face, the Orioles scored three runs on one play without the aid of a hit or an RBI. Jeffrey Hammonds, coming up with the bases loaded in the ninth, grounded to third baseman Ed Sprague for what looked to be a 5-2-3 double play.

Instead, the Orioles scored 1-2-3 runs on the play.


Sprague's throw to the plate hit base runner Lonnie Smith on the helmet and ricocheted up the first base line. Pitcher Tony Castillo picked it up and threw wide of catcher Pat Borders, enabling Jack Voigt to score the second run. Mark McLemore also scored when Borders dropped Sprague's second throw to the plate.

The Orioles outscored the Blue Jays 16-3 in the series and 11-0 in the eighth and ninth innings.

The defining moment of Mussina's night came in the second inning.

The Blue Jays had runners on second and third and one out after John Olerud singled to right with one out and took third on Mike Huff's double to left.

Four pitches later, the unemotional competitor was walking off the mound toward the dugout the game still scoreless.

Mussina struck out Sprague on three pitches and Borders hit a come-backer on Mussina's first pitch. Mussina's final pitch to Sprague rode the inside corner of the plate and settled in catcher Chris Hoiles' glove as umpire Dan Morrison made the strike call.


Mussina enjoyed watching the Orioles hit in the top of the next inning as much as his teammates enjoyed watching him get out of the jam.

Homering for the first time as an Oriole and the sixth time this season, Dwight Smith broke a scoreless tie by hitting a Stottlemyre pitch over the fence in left-center and off the lower concrete facade.

Hammonds kept it going with a one-out single and took an extra base on Anderson's single to right, which put runners on the corners for Chris Sabo. Hammonds scored when Sabo grounded out to second.

Sabo, making his first start at third base since May 6, picked up his 18th RBI in 20 games since coming off the disabled list.

It gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead, which considering Mussina was on the mound for the Orioles and the Blue Jays have not scored more than two runs in a game in a week, might as well have been a 10-0 lead.

Mussina allowed an unearned run in the third, when Domingo Cedeno led off with a line single to right and took second when Hammonds bobbled the ball. Devon White sacrificed Cedeno to third and Roberto Alomar drove him home with a fly ball to the track in left, trimming the Orioles' lead to 2-1.


Anderson's first home run of the evening, to right-center with one out in the fifth, increased the Orioles' lead to 3-1. His second of the night and ninth of the season, leading off the eighth, made it 4-1.


Opponent: Cleveland Indians

Site: Jacobs Field, Cleveland

Time: 7:05

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)


Starters: Orioles' Ben McDonald (10-5, 4.69) vs. Indians' Charles Nagy (6-3, 3.06)