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Fernandez stops Angels Orioles take 9-2 victory


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Orioles left Anaheim Stadium last night unaware of their standing in the American League East but aware of one thing.

They are playing the way they want to play.

Orioles left-hander Sid Fernandez (6-4) allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings, Chris Sabo homered for the third time in four games, and Brady Anderson did a little bit of everything.

"It's exciting," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said. "I think they're having fun, and they should be. They're starting to feel they are in a pennant race."

So much so that the Orioles crowded around a television in the clubhouse to watch the New York Yankees game against the Seattle Mariners move into extra innings.

By the time the bus left for the team hotel, the outcome was in doubt and the Orioles didn't know whether the night would end with them trailing the Yankees by a half-game or leading them by the same margin and occupying first for the first time since April 19.

As it was, the Orioles remained in second place, as the Yankees scored two runs in the 11th to beat the Mariners, 10-8.

Earlier last night, Bo Jackson hit a baseball a long, long way and fireworks exploded. What was left of the crowd of 18,886 at Anaheim Stadium did pretty much the same.

They do that around here now. They overreact to positive moments because they have so few to celebrate.

Before Jackson crushed his eighth home run 441 feet into the right-field bleachers with one man on base in the eighth inning, Fernandez had a shutout and an eight-run lead.

The home run, a nice spectacle and a testament to the brute strength of a man playing baseball with an artificial hip, meant nothing to the Angels' chances of winning a game they lost in the first inning.

Fernandez delivered the pitch over the plate, allowing Jackson to extend his bat and use his power. Pitch him inside and he has trouble turning on the pitch.

It was a rare mistake by Fernandez, who made one of his best starts wearing an Orioles uniform.

Fernandez, pulled after allowing a leadoff single to Gary DiSarcina in the eighth, no-hit the Angels until J. T. Snow doubled with one out in the fifth.

It was the Angels' only hit until Chili Davis led off the seventh with a single to left. Jackson followed by hitting the 21st home run off Fernandez this season.

Fernandez struck out eight, walked two and threw 106 pitches.

Both walks came with one out in the first, when Fernandez walked Spike Owen on four pitches and Tim Salmon on five. He got out of the jam by striking out Davis and Jackson to start a run of 12 consecutive outs.

It was a lackluster effort by the Angels, who spent the afternoon at the funeral of Jimmie Reese, their 92-year-old conditioning coach who died Wednesday.

"I think Sid Fernandez had a lot to do with that," Angels shortstop Gary DiSarcina said. "He pitched great. He really had it on tonight. You can't go out there and have your mind on other things when a guy like that is on."

Anderson led the way offensively. He reached base in each of his first four trips to the plate, tripled, singled twice, walked, stole a base, scored three runs and drove in one.

Sabo contributed his ninth home run and second in as many nights with one on in the fifth, and Rafael Palmeiro doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs.

Anderson didn't cool off during the All-Star break.

He wasted no time in extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He led off the game against right-hander Phil Leftwich with a triple to the corner in right field.

Anderson scored on Palmeiro's sacrifice fly to right field.

Anderson was in the middle of the Orioles' three-run fifth as well, driving in a run with a bloop single to right that feel between right fielder Salmon and second baseman Damion Easley, scoring from second Jeffrey Hammonds, who had walked and stolen second base.

It was Anderson's eighth hit in his past 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position, raising his average in the clutch from .121 to .200.

Sabo followed Anderson's bloop single by driving a 1-0 pitch from Leftwich over the left-field fence to put the Orioles up 4-0.

Anderson also mixed in his 24th stolen base in 25 attempts after walking in the third inning.

The bottom of the order was responsible for chasing Leftwich in the sixth inning. Chris Hoiles doubled with one out and scored on Hammonds' two-out double, which pumped the score to 5-0 and brought left-hander Joe Magrane in from the bullpen.

The Orioles hammered Magrane in the seventh, and Anderson was the catalyst again.

He led off with a single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Palmeiro's double after Sabo walked. Sabo scored on Cal Ripken's 66th RBI, a single to right, and Palmeiro came home on Harold Baines' grounder as the Orioles took an 8-0 lead.

Fernandez didn't need all the support he received but could have used it in many of his previous starts.

Fernandez had allowed at least three earned runs in each of his previous 10 starts and had allowed 20 home runs in his 15 starts during the first half of the season.

The shorter fences of the American League and the presence of designated hitters contributed to the fat home run total.

A high-ball pitcher, Fernandez isn't about to change his approach.

"Sid's got to be Sid," pitching coach Dick Bosman said. "He's got to pitch his style, with the idea of always wanting to get better. Everyone has a little project here."

What is Fernandez's project?

"We've added a changeup and a slider that on some days are real good," Bosman said of Fernandez, who primarily mixes a fastball with a slow curveball.

The pitches are in the development stage.

"If you haven't used pitches in the past, the idea of using them doesn't enter your mind too often," Bosman said.


Opponent: California Angels

Site: Anaheim (Calif.) Stadium

Time: 8:05

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Mike Mussina (13-4, 2.96) vs. Angels' Chuck Finley (7-8, 4.18)

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