TORONTO -- Mike Mussina got a win. Joe Carter got a productive homecoming party. The Orioles, labeled underachievers by publications everywhere, got another step closer to credibility.
Carter began the night by tipping his helmet to a standing
ovation. He ended it with a double, triple, three RBIs and two runs.
"It was a very good night," Carter said. "I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. But it took awhile to make sure I didn't go to the wrong dugout after the third out."
Mussina established the tone in the first inning. He trailed 1-0 after three hitters. But instead of allowing the rally to expand as he did last Saturday in a loss to the Atlanta Braves, he held the game for a reviving offense.
The win was Mussina's first since May 9, when he pitched a shutout against the expansion Devil Rays at Tampa Bay. Since, he had suffered a horrific beaning off the bat of Cleveland Indians catcher Sandy Alomar that left him on the disabled list for 19 days. Still admittedly rusty, Mussina prevented leadoff batters from reaching against him while spacing the Blue Jays' last four hits against him over 4 2/3 innings.
Mussina's reward came in the third inning, when the Orioles' lineup began to pound Blue Jays starter Juan Guzman (3-8).
With five hits, including a deflected infield double and a lost fly ball for a triple, the Orioles took a 3-1 lead. The rally began with Mike Bordick's leadoff single and escalated when Anderson drove a grounder that second baseman Fernandez deflected into short center. Bordick took third.
Carter then smoked a knuckling line drive at left fielder Jose Canseco, whose problems were compounded by losing it in the lights.
The Orioles were outhit 14-13 but it didn't matter. They led 9-2 by the time Stanley and Fernandez crashed three bases-empty home runs in a two-inning span.
Mussina's sixth-inning departure did not prevent him from gaining his third victory in as many road starts. The earned runs were his first allowed away from Camden Yards and gave him a road ERA of 0.81. Usually impatient, Mussina has discovered the art of waiting.
"I'm coming off a layoff with no rehab starts. Really, it's spring training," Mussina said. "When you're only throwing in the bullpen, that's spring training. For the hitters, it's June."
B. J. Surhoff bumped Mussina's lead to 5-1 with a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth inning. Surhoff, who also contributed a sliding catch, has five RBIs in the past four games.
The runs were timed well, as Mussina wilted in the sixth inning. He walked Carlos Delgado to begin the inning, then allowed a double to Stanley. He exchanged a run for an out on Fernandez's grounder to second. At that point, Miller had seen enough.
Alan Mills inherited a runner at third base with one out. Performing the role he has mastered all season, Mills stranded Stanley by getting a popout and a strikeout.
Mills has allowed only one of 19 inherited runners to score and has retired 23 of 29 first batters faced.
The Orioles kept coming for Guzman. In the seventh they made him pay for a leadoff walk of Carter with a double from Rafael Palmeiro and Roberto Alomar's sacrifice fly. Vilified by the SkyDome crowd he once played before, Alomar answered with two hits and the sacrifice fly. He is 18-for-51 the past two seasons against his former team.
With a seven-run cushion, the bullpen didn't need precision. Good thing. Not only did Jesse Orosco surrender back-to-back home runs to Stanley and Fernandez, but Anderson sagged to one knee after retreating on Fernandez's 404-foot blast. As Norm Charlton came on to replace Orosco, Anderson remained down as Surhoff waved for assistance.
Charlton got out of the inning with a 9-4 lead, but not before Toronto loaded the bases. Left to face Canseco, Charlton struck him out on three off-speed pitches.
Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
Site: SkyDome, Toronto
Time: 4: 05 p.m.
TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: O's Doug Drabek (5-6, 6.26) vs. Blue Jays' Chris Carpenter (2-2, 4.67)
Run ends with run
Orioles starter Mike Mussina gave up his first run on the road this season in three starts when Jose Canseco drove in a run with a first-inning single last night. How he's fared on the road:
Date .. .. Opponent ..IP H R
April 11 ..Detroit .. 8 2 0
May 9 .....Tampa Bay .9 5 0
June 12 ...Toronto ...5 1/3 7 2
Totals ........ .... .22 1/3 14 2
Pub Date: 6/13/98