CLEVELAND -- The Orioles got mad last night. They showed emotion. What a difference.
David Wells, furious at some bad luck, fired his glove into the dugout. Cal Ripken chewed out home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom. B.J. Surhoff barrelled into second base breaking up a double play. Jeffrey Hammonds and Chris Hoiles pumped their fists after crucial hits. Rafael Palmeiro threw his gum.
And the Orioles won a big game, against a good team, on the road, beating Cleveland, 13-10. With the victory, the Orioles pulled out a split of the four-game series, and they've won four out of the first seven in the current 13-game road trip.
The Orioles totaled 21 hits, three by Bobby Bonilla (including his third homer in three days), four each from Jeffrey Hammonds and Roberto Alomar and three apiece from Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken.
It was the sort of game they've lost time and again this year. They botched several scoring chances early and fell behind; all year, when they've met resistance, they've tended to fold. This time, they came back from a 3-2 seventh-inning deficit and hammered the Indians.
They played angry most of the night. Ripken yelled at home-plate ump Cederstrom about a called strike during an at-bat and resumed the argument while talking with Wells on the mound, screaming at Cedarstrom; Orioles manager Davey Johnson had to intercede after the bottom of the third.
The Indians scored their first three runs on a series of groundballs through the left side -- seven of their first 10 hits bounced between third baseman B.J. Surhoff and Ripken. Jeff Kent made the final out for Cleveland in the fifth and, as Wells reached the top step of the dugout, he fired his glove against the wall, grabbed his jacket and stalked off to the clubhouse to think about all the rotten luck.
But the anger evolved into intense joy in the sixth. Ripken lined a double to open the inning and, with two outs, Hammonds singled up the middle, scoring Ripken to tie the game at 3. As Hammonds rounded first, he pumped a fist in celebration.
There was more of that in the seventh, when the Orioles broke open the game against Paul Assenmacher and Danny Graves. Ripken blooped a broken-bat single over second, scoring Bonilla with the lead run, and the Orioles piled it on. Three more runs that inning, six more in the eighth. The 21 hits matched a season high.
The Orioles had enough opportunities in the first four innings to ,, score five or six runs. They scored two, on a night when Cleveland right-hander Charles Nagy, who started the All-Star Game for the AL last month, didn't have his good stuff.
First inning. Roberto Alomar and Brady Anderson each singled for the Orioles. But first baseman Rafael Palmeiro whiffed. Bobby Bonilla walked, loading the bases. They could've put the hammer to Nagy right then, giving left-hander David Wells an early lead. B.J. Surhoff was safe at first on a fielder's choice, and Alomar scored. But Ripken struck out. One run, no hits in three at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Second inning. Eddie Murray doubled to the very top of the 19-foot wall in center field (Orioles assistant general manager Kevin Malone offered dryly: "We finally found a place where Kenny Lofton can't catch it."). But Chris Hoiles bounced back to the pitcher -- again, a failure to advance the runner with the first out. Jeffrey Hammonds struck out and Alomar grounded to first. No runs, no hits in three at-bats with a runner in scoring position.
Third inning. Anderson doubled, the second of his three hits, Palmeiro walked and Bonilla ripped a run-scoring single up the middle. Nobody out. Nagy on the ropes. Surhoff bounced into a fielder's choice, leaving runner at first and third. Ripken hit roller to third and ran all out going down the first-base line; Surhoff obliterated second baseman Jose Vizcaino as he made the pivot at second, but the Indians still turned a 5-4-3 double play. One run, one hit in three chances with runners in scoring position.
Fourth inning. The Orioles had runners at first and second and one out, but Alomar bounced to Vizcaino, who started a 4-6-3 double play, with Alomar virtually stopping halfway to first. No runs, no hits in one opportunity with runners in scoring position.
The tally for the Orioles in the first four innings: two runs on six hits (three lead-off hits), and a single hit in 10 chances with runners in scoring position. This is how you lose games.
What was particularly galling for the team was Cleveland's incredible ability to bounce singles between shortstop Ripken and third baseman Surhoff. It had nothing to do with range or poor positioning, just good fortune. Jim Thome singled through the hole leading off the third and, in order, Lofton, Vizcaino and Mark Carreon hit singles through the same spot, resulting in two runs.
Albert Belle and Carreon singled with two outs in the fifth, and Manny Ramirez pulled a curve ball through the hole, Belle scoring to give Cleveland a 3-2 lead.
Then the Orioles got mad, and they got even in the final series of the year against the Indians.
It didn't come easy. The Indians scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth, prompting Orioles manager Davey Johnson to bring in Randy Myers.
Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers
Site: County Stadium, Milwaukee
Time: 8: 05
TV/Radio: Chs. 13, 50/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Orioles' Mike Mussina (12-8, 5.06) vs. Brewers' Ben McDonald (10-5, 3.81)
Pub Date: 8/06/96