Streaking Anderson fuels Orioles' challenge for top spot


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Brady Anderson opened Friday night's game with a triple and it only got better from there for the Orioles, who have been leaning heavily on their leadoff hitter of late.

Anderson went 3-for-4, scored three runs, drove in a run, walked and stole a base, leading the Orioles to a 9-2 victory over the California Angels.

Anderson extended his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he has batted .476 with 12 runs, four doubles, two triples, two home runs, 12 RBIs and six stolen bases.

Anderson pushed his season total to 24 stolen bases in 25 attempts, making it 20 consecutive steals without getting caught.

During the 10-game stretch, Anderson has raised his batting average with runners in scoring position from .121 to .200, by going 8-for-14 in the clutch.

It was not a perfect night for Anderson, who jammed the middle finger of his left hand sliding into second on his third-inning steal. Anderson's status last night was in jeopardy until close to game time, when he determined he could play.

"I think going head-first is a little quicker for me," Anderson said.

Obviously it works.

Anderson, who took a .270 batting average and .368 on-base percentage out of Friday's game, reached base in each of his first four trips to the plate.

He had plenty of help offensively. Chris Sabo contributed his ninth home run with Anderson on in the fifth and Rafael Palmeiro doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs. Sabo homered for the third time in four games.

Orioles left-hander Sid Fernandez (6-4) allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings, and did not allow a hit until one out into the fifth inning.

The victory was the Orioles' 14th in 19 games.

"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."

And it's a different feeling than in the previous two seasons.

"Sure it is, now that we've got a better ballclub," he said. "There's not Toronto out there 10 games in front with their reputation. There is no doubt in my mind and no doubt in their minds that there is no comparing the club we have this year to the club we had the last two years."

More outings such as Friday night's from Fernandez would greatly improve the Orioles' chances of making the postseason, provided there is a postseason.

Fernandez lost a shutout bid in the seventh inning when Bo Jackson crushed his eighth home run 441 feet into the right-field bleachers with one man on base.

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 of Fernandez this season.

Fernandez struck out eight, walked two and threw 107 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 Chili Davis and Jackson to start a run of 12 consecutive outs.


Opponent: California Angels

Site: Anaheim (Calif.) Stadium

Time: 4:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Jamie Moyer (3-6, 5.10) vs. Angels' Russ Springer (2-1, 6.91)


Last night's Orioles-Angels game in Anaheim, Calif., did not end in time to be included in this edition. A complete report can be found in later editions of The Sun. For a report on last night's game and other Orioles information, call Sundial at (410) 783-1800, ext. 5023 (in Anne Arundel County, call [410] 268-7736, ext. 5023).

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