Nomar Garciaparra homered off Orioles reliever Terry Mathews last night with two outs in the 12th inning to send the Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 victory at Camden Yards.
Orioles center field Brady Anderson was hurt in the fifth inning when he raced back on a fly ball from Boston rookie Garciaparra, leaped to make the catch and rammed his left shoulder into the padding.
Anderson went down on the warning track, flipped the ball toward right fielder Eric Davis without looking and began rolling back and forth in pain. Johnson and trainer Richie Bancells rushed from the dugout, and as the replay was shown on the video scoreboard, the crowd at Camden Yards gave a collective groan.
Anderson, who served as the designated hitter through the first 14 games, rose to his feet after a couple minutes and drew a loud ovation as it became apparent that he was staying in the game. The collision didn't seem to affect his swing. He led off the sixth by flying out to deep center, but after drawing a walk in the eighth, he was replaced in center by Jeffrey Hammonds.
The Orioles said that Anderson aggravated the cracked rib and X-rays were taken.
Scott Kamieniecki started for the Orioles. Kamieniecki's style has been consistently daredevil and he wasted little time before enhancing the reputation against the Red Sox, a team that had previously blasted him.
After getting the game's first two hitters, Kamieniecki allowed back-to-back singles to Mo Vaughn and Reggie Jefferson. Tim Naehring walked to load the bases, bringing up a left-handed bat, right fielder Troy O' Leary, who entered riding an eight-game streak in which he had batted .484 with 10 RBIs. Kamieniecki jacked the degree of difficulty by falling behind 2-0 and 3-1 but salvaged the inning by getting O'Leary to fly weakly to left field.
The pattern is now familiar to pitching coach Ray Miller. Kamieniecki barely survived in his previous start April 15 after walking the bases loaded in the fourth inning. A two-walk sixth inning in Kansas City April 9 contributed to a no-decision in his best outing of the season.
History said this game could hurt him. Kamieniecki was only 1-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 career starts against the Red Sox.
Kamieniecki steadied after the first inning but became a victim of circumstance in the fourth inning when the Red Sox exploited Roberto Alomar's absence for a two-out run.
Having hit in seven of his last eight games, Naehring initiated the threat by doubling into the left-center field gap. Kamieniecki struck out O'Leary and Wilfredo Cordero to bring up No. 8 hitter Bill Haselman. The catcher dribbled a grounder between first and second, an area owned by Alomar but on this night leased to Jeff Reboulet, himself bothered by a sore left ankle. Reboulet appeared to reach the play with a dive but could not cover the ball. Naehring scored easily for the 1-0 lead.
Such a lead seemed inconsequential against Hammond, whose career has floundered the last two seasons.
Hammond earned $1.6 million in 1995 with the Florida Marlins before collapsing last season. He was 2-6 in nine starts and in one 12-day span covering three starts survived only 4 1/3 innings, allowing 18 hits, 19 earned runs and five home runs. "Those were the worst three starts anybody in the history of baseball ever made," was Hammond's description after signing a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Red Sox last winter.
The Red Sox lured Hammond with the opportunity to start again. That opportunity never arrived this spring. Only concern over Wakefield's elbow pushed him into last night's start, his first after eight relief appearances.
Whatever the left-hander carried to the mound overwhelmed the Orioles early. They put one runner into scoring position through five innings and managed only three balls out of the infield the first two times through the lineup.
The Orioles took a shot in the second only to be snuffed by indecision. Eric Davis doubled for his fifth hit in eight at-bats to begin the inning. He went nowhere. Cal Ripken grounded to third and Pete Incaviglia was hit by a pitch. The rally ended when Chris Hoiles' half-swing began a 6-4-3 double play.
The rash of outfield injuries that have plagued the Orioles this month nearly claimed another victim earlier in the inning when center fielder Brady Anderson crashed into the wall to bring down Nomar Garciaparra's leadoff blast. Anderson, playing only his fourth game at the position after serving for 13 games as designated hitter. Anderson fell heavily after making the catch.
However, his left shoulder appeared to absorb most of the impact instead of his still sore left ribs. The incident was just the thing manager Davey Johnson had feared. Regardless of injury, Anderson has proven himself a thrillseeker both on the bases and in the outfield. Laid out on the warning track while Johnson and trainer Richie Bancells ran to him, Anderson eventually rose to his feet and remained in the game.
Opponent: Boston Red Sox
Site: Oriole Park
TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Red Sox's Tom Gordon (1-2, 3.42) vs. O's Jimmy Key (3-0, 1.35) or Scott Erickson (2-1, 4.19)
Tickets: 4,500 available
Pub Date: 4/25/97