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BASEBALL EXTRA / INTERLEAGUE PLAY

Another Side to Orioles

Baseball: Power-hitting Baltimore scratches out a 4-3 victory over Atlanta as Key bests Maddux.

June 14, 1997|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Jimmy Key put down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Cal Ripken drove in a run with a hit-and-run single. The Baltimore Orioles would probably do all right in the National League too.

In a game between the winningest teams in the American and National leagues, the Orioles defeated the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, on Friday night in a game that showed all the fine points that interleague play is expected to produce.

"If someone was trying to sell the concept of interleague play, all they have to do is look at this series," said Ripken, who received a standing ovation in his first regular-season appearance in an National League park. "You could not pick two better teams to start off with."

The Orioles scored four runs in the sixth to break a scoreless tie, then held on when the Braves, showed off some American League-type power.

"They were hitting home runs and we were bunting runners up," said Key (11-1), who outdueled Greg Maddux (7-3) in a game reminiscent of their matchup in the deciding game of last year's World Series between the Yankees and Braves. "We got the National League runs."

Baltimore put together five singles, including Ripken's run-scoring blooper to right on a perfect hit-and-run play. Key, whose had never batted in a regular-season game, contributed a sacrifice bunt during the rally.

"That's what we've been practicing," said Key, whose only previous at-bat came during the 1992 World Series. "We knew [the pitchers] weren't going to get any hits, but a bunt might make the difference, especially against Greg."

Maddux faced only one batter over the minimum through the first five innings before the Orioles pulled ahead. Mike Bordick led off with a single and Key bunted him to second.

Anderson drove in the first run with a line drive to right, beginning a streak of four singles off Maddux. Rafael Palmiero had an RBI and Ripken poked a run-scoring hit into short right while Atlanta's Mark Lemke was covering second on the hit-and-run. B.J. Surhoff drove in the fourth run with a sacrifice fly.

"They didn't hit me hard, but they did the job," Maddux said.

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