Moyer, hits right on time in 5-2 win

If the worst one can say about a club is that it wins predictably, then it's time to say bad things about the Orioles.

Once again, the Orioles combined timely hitting, home runs and effective pitching for their ninth win in their last 12 games, a 5-2 effort over the Seattle Mariners before 47,845 at Camden Yards.


Brady Anderson homered, the 20th game in the past 21 that an Oriole has gone deep.

The team collected 10 hits, the eighth game in the past 10 in which the Orioles have posted double-digit hits.


Most importantly, the Orioles gained another game on the New York Yankees, who lost, 8-7, to Oakland, reducing their American League East deficit to 1 1/2 games.


Of course, the best thing to say about the Orioles is that they are playing their best baseball of the year at just the right time.

"You keep waiting all year for the roll that we're on. You want to ride it while you're on it," said Orioles manager Johnny Oates. "It really doesn't matter who I put in the lineup. It just seems like it's somebody different every time we play."

This roll has come against admittedly the weakest opposition, the American League West, whose leader, Texas, is the only club to lead a division on July 4 with a losing record, but you can't win a division or qualify for the postseason without beating the teams you're supposed to beat.

"As long as we keep winning, we're putting pressure on the Yankees and that's the important thing right now," said starter Jamie Moyer.

Moyer turned in his third consecutive strong performance, allowing just two runs and six hits, while striking out five and walking two in 6 1/3 innings.

However, this time, Moyer, who took a no-decision in a 4-1 Orioles win over Toronto two weeks ago, and a 4-2 loss to Cleveland last week, got a win, beating Seattle's Jim Converse.


"It would have been very easy to give up, but when I don't enjoy it [the game], I'm going to get out of it," said Moyer (3-6). "If I continue to work hard, good things are going to happen."

Said Oates: "You'll get the same thing every time from Jamie. He's going to pitch around some guys. They'll hit some balls. If we score a couple of runs, we have a chance to win."

Moyer, who struck out eight last Thursday at Cleveland, was never in trouble, retiring the first eight Seattle batters before catcher Dan Wilson singled in the third.

"He threw strikes and he pitched inside. He moved the ball around," said Seattle manager Lou Pinella. "We had a couple of chances. We didn't take advantage of them."

Said Seattle's Mike Blowers: "I've faced him probably five times and that's the first time I've seen him throw a cut fastball the way he did. That set up his changeup."

And in contrast to his six starts in June, where he gave up 11 first-inning earned runs (15 overall) to an ERA of 16.50, Moyer retired the Mariners in the first without a peep.


"You guys standing on the outside made a great deal about it [his first innings]. There was no reason for it. It was a little funk, but the way I look at it, it's behind me," said Moyer. "If it's the third or fifth inning, nobody mentions it."

But the way Orioles batters are hitting these days, Moyer could have been a little more lenient.

All but one starter rapped out at least one hit, and Mike Devereaux, the only hitter who didn't, drove in a run with a grounder that should have been a hit.

"We're getting eight, nine and 10 hits a game now. Early in the season, we'd get that many, but we'd leave runners," said Moyer. "All it takes is one hitter in a clutch situation. We're doing it and doing it successfully and it's showing up."

For a change , the Orioles (47-34) didn't pound a pitcher into submission, but ground down the 22-year-old Converse, making his second start of the year.

The Orioles tapped out runs in four of the first five innings, knocking out Converse with timely hits.


Cal Ripken, for example, moved into the top 10 in the American League in RBIs, driving in two in the first with a single up the middle to give Moyer a two-run cushion.

"He [Ripken] has been consistent as anything," said Oates. "If you look at that whole part of our lineup, maybe it's not the most impressive 3-4-5 in the league, but it's no one I would want to pitch to."

Ripken and Dwight Smith each collected two hits, and Anderson hit his 10th homer of the year into the flag court in right in the fourth.

Alan Mills pitched well, shutting down the Mariners for 1 2/3 innings when Moyer, who threw 116 pitches, ran out of gas in the seventh.

Lee Smith earned his major-league-leading 28th save with a perfect ninth before the second-largest crowd in Oriole Park history.

G; A crowd no doubt bored by the predictability of it all.



Opponent: Seattle Mariners

Site: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Time: 7:35

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Mariners' Roger Salkeld (2-4, 6.71) vs. Orioles' Mike Oquist (2-2, 5.76)


Tickets: Several hundred scattered singles remain, not including bleacher and 275 standing-room tickets that go on sale when the gates open.