REVERSING THE CURSE,
THE NOMAR ERA BEGINS
Tom Gordon holds down
the first place Orioles
1997 ... Twice
stung in a matter of hours by on- and off-field adversity, the Red
Sox stopped short of the trifecta with a rousing 10-1 victory over
the Baltimore Orioles before 26,479 fans tonight at Fenway Park. In
the wake of Tuesday's doubleheader debacle against Baltimore and
yesterday's arrest of left fielder Wilfredo Cordero on domestic
assault charges, the Sox arrived downcast at Fenway.
Gordon, who had suffered a pair of no-decisions and a loss in his last three
starts after tipping his pitches, played it close to the vest. He was a study in
efficiency in going the distance as he improved his record to 4-6 and lowered
his ERA from 4.00 to 3.67. Gordon, who threw 104 pitches (71 for strikes),
retired the first 10 batters before Roberto Alomar singled to right in the
fourth. Gordon was one out away from recording his second shutout of the season
-- he'd blanked Minnesota, 4-0, May 17 -- before Dellucci struck with his first
major league hit and RBI.
The Red Sox
supported Gordon with some timely hitting, erupting for 14 hits against a trio
of Baltimore pitchers, including six hits and eight runs against Mike Johnson
(0-1, 7.43), who was making only his fourth major league start. Designated
hitter Reggie Jefferson sparked the hit parade by going 4 for 5 with two RBIs,
marking the second time this season he's tied his career high with four hits in
against the American League East-leading Orioles, who belied their status by
getting little in the way of hitting, pitching, or fielding. Their misfortunes
were evidenced by three errors, including two by sure-handed center fielder
Brady Anderson, as the last-place Sox whittled their division deficit to a
slightly less staggering 18 games.
jumped on Johnson from the outset by sending nine men to the plate in the first
and erupting for three runs on three hits, highlighted by Jefferson's RBI
single, Tim Naehring's run-scoring double off The Wall, and John Valentin's
sacrifice fly to center. After Johnson struck out the side in the second, the
Sox sent the Oriole starter packing when they blew the game wide open with a
five-run third. Jefferson led off with a line single to right, and Tim Naehring
followed by drawing a walk. O'Leary singled to shallow center and advanced to
second when Anderson overran the ball. Anderson's second error of the night (the
last time that happened was six years ago in Kansas City) enabled Boston to take
a 4-0 lead. Valentin then drilled a line drive past third baseman Cal Ripken,
who was charged with an error for his feeble stab at the ball, giving the Sox a
Hatteberg chased Johnson with an RBI single to right, scoring O'Leary for a 6-0
lead, which prompted Oriole manager Davey Johnson to summon right-hander Brian
Williams from the bullpen. Williams hardly fared better, surrendering two runs
on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Stanley, who entered for Mo Vaughn in the fourth as a precaution after the first
baseman locked up his left knee in a third-inning at-bat, and Jefferson
delivered a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on RBI doubles to left.
but there's a whole lot of season left for the Sox.