McDonald back to his old self


Sure, Ben McDonald's numbers were good in his first start after coming off the disabled list with a sore shoulder, but his delivery was better.

When McDonald -- who had eight strikeouts and one earned run in six innings Friday -- had shoulder pain, he had to drop his release point to compensate for the soreness. Now, his shoulder feels better and he is once again coming over the ball when he releases.

"Before my arm hurt so much I had to drop down," McDonald said. "It didn't happen [Friday] night. I had my split finger diving down more in the strike zone. The plane of the ball was better for me and I got better velocity and more movement on the ball."

Manager Phil Regan was impressed by McDonald's ability to go six innings so soon after coming off the DL. Regan was also glad to see McDonald's mechanics return to normal.

"It was a big lift for us having him throw like that. I think he looked a lot better," Regan said. "He was getting a better angle and his split finger was better than it had been. He said he feels much better."

Making the most of it

Leo Gomez got a rare start last night in place of Jeff Manto. Manto, who returned from the disabled list on Thursday, is healthy, but Gomez owns yesterday's Royals starter, Kevin Appier.

Gomez was 9-for-22 (.409) in his career against the All-Star pitcher entering last night. Two of those hits were home runs and one was a double.

"You want to see your name in the lineup," Gomez said. "I knew sooner or later my chance was coming, and I just wanted to get out there and play."

Gomez struck out in his only at-bat against Appier, but homered in the third off Mike Magnante.

He was later hit by a pitch on his left knee in the eighth inning, and approached the mound before taking first base. One inning earlier, the Royals' Edgar Caceres was hit on his right knee by a Scott Erickson pitch.

Heating up vs. Baltimore

Royals slugger Bob Hamelin has been battering Orioles pitching. Hamelin, the 1994 American League Rookie of the Year, entered the Baltimore series hitting below .200 with only three home runs.

He nearly doubled his homer total in the first two games of the series by hitting an eighth-inning homer in Thursday's 9-8 Royals victory and blasting a three-run homer off Mark Lee on Friday to put the Royals up 5-2 in a game they won 7-2.

"It doesn't come any better than this place," said Hamelin, who hit 24 homers last season. "Nothing is as pretty as Camden Yards. The ball carries well, it's a great hitters park."

Fund-raiser set

The Brady Anderson Fund of the Baltimore Community

Foundation is sponsoring a card and autograph show on July 24 at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel. Anderson and teammates Curtis Goodwin and Jeffrey Hammonds are scheduled to appear. For more information call (410) 461-8664.

A little relief

Bret Barberie pinch hit for Cal Ripken in the sixth inning last night. It was the fifth time during Ripken's consecutive games streak that someone has pinch hit for Ripken. The last time was June 13, when Manny Alexander batted for him.

Around the horn

Royals left fielder Vince Coleman was pulled from the lineup last night with a strained right rib cage. . . . Bob Tewksbury will start for the Texas Rangers against the Orioles tomorrow. The Rangers have not decided on a starter for Tuesday. . . . Last night's game-time temperature: 101 degrees. Due to the severe heat expected for today's series finale, the Orioles will provide complimentary ice and ice water at all souvenir stands on the first and third floors. . . . The Orioles spend all of this week on the road (Texas, Minnesota and Kansas City) but play 17 of their next 24 at home after the road trip. . . . Orioles general manager Roland Hemond's granddaughter, Taylor, caught foul balls Friday and Saturday night. Former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms also caught a foul ball last night while in owner Peter Angelos' sky box.


On the field: Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles, who was batting .400 over an eight-game stretch, pulled up lame on his way around first base after a run-scoring hit in the second inning. He strained a hamstring and left the game for pinch runner Greg Zaun.

In the dugout: Manager Phil Regan inserted Leo Gomez into the starting lineup for the first time in eight days; Gomez responded with a game-breaking three-run homer in the third inning. It was his first home run since July 30, 1994. Gomez went on to drive in four runs, one shy of his previous total for the entire season.

In the clubhouse: Regan announced that Kevin Brown would return to the starting rotation on Monday in Texas and Scott Erickson would make his next start on Thursday in Minnesota. "They'll just have to go back and beat their old ballclubs," Regan said. "That's the way to motivate them."

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