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It Takes a While, but Hoiles Is a Hit for Orioles

June 15, 1997|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — The Baltimore Orioles are making a convincing case for the superiority of the American League.

The Orioles won their second consecutive game in the historic interleague series between baseball's best teams, defeating the defending National League champion Atlanta Braves, 6-4, Saturday on Chris Hoiles' two-run double in the 12th inning.

After striking out in his first five at-bats--one short of the major-league record--Hoiles was glad to finally to make contact.

"When you have a day like that, not even getting your bat on the ball, then I'd be lying if I said six strikeouts wasn't on my mind," Hoiles said.

"What was probably one of my worst days turned awesome at the end. It felt great to finally hit the ball."

Arthur Rhodes (4-2) picked up the victory with three hitless innings in relief and Randy Myers earned his major league-leading 22nd save. Five Orioles relievers limited the Braves to one hit over six innings.

Rhodes struck out six in three hitless innings, extending his scoreless streak to 11 innings.

Baltimore, which has the best record in the majors at 44-19, fell behind twice by two runs before catching the Braves--the National League's winningest team--with the long ball. Brady Anderson hit a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh to tie the score, then Rafael Palmeiro put the Orioles ahead with a leadoff homer in the eighth.

Ryan Klesko tied the score for Atlanta with a run-scoring single in the eighth, but the Braves failed to score the go-ahead run after they loaded the bases with one out. That gave the Orioles a chance to win it in extra innings.

"Give them credit," said John Smoltz, the last year's National League Cy Young winner. "The Orioles are the best team in baseball today. They were fired up. They're playing with more emotion than we are. That needs to change."

Smoltz and Baltimore starter Mike Mussina had nearly identical pitching lines.

Both gave up seven hits and three earned runs while striking out eight, with Smoltz working one more inning. The teams combined for 32 strikeouts--16 each.

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