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Mussina Again Shows He Is Worth His Stuff

Baseball: Oriole pitcher outduels Finley, and Bordick has key hit in 5-3 victory over Angels.

May 19, 1999|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BALTIMORE — Don't try to sell Angel Manager Terry Collins on all those Baltimore Oriole tales of woe. Sure, this may be the worst team money can buy, an $84-million lemon in need of a major overhaul, but Collins sees a few parts worth salvaging.

Like Oriole ace Mike Mussina, who continued his dominance of the Angels Tuesday night, giving up seven hits in eight innings to lead the Orioles to a 5-3 victory before 42,830 in Camden Yards.

And shortstop Mike Bordick, the little Angel killer who capped a game-clinching, three-run sixth inning with a two-run double off Angel ace Chuck Finley, knocking the left-hander out of the game.

"They're not playing well, but that is still a dangerous team, one that can win eight or 10 games in a row," said Collins, whose team has lost three in a row. "And we've always had problems in this park."

Angel pennant hopes haven't died in Camden Yards, but they have been knocked unconscious here the past two seasons.

The Angels took a half-game lead in the American League West into Baltimore in August 1997 and suffered three gut-wrenching, one-run losses to fall a game behind Seattle. They never held sole possession of first place the rest of that season.

The Angels took a two-game lead into Baltimore last Sept. 11 and were swept in a three-game series, with Bordick delivering the dagger in Game 2, a tying, two-run homer off Troy Percival in the ninth inning of a game the Orioles won in extra innings. Four days later, the Angel lead was gone.

Bordick, who bats eighth or ninth in the Baltimore lineup, was at it again Tuesday night. After Jeff Conine doubled with two out in the sixth, Cal Ripken walked and Rich Amaral singled Conine home, Bordick laced a two-run double off the wall in right field.

The clutch hit gave the Orioles a 5-1 lead and a cushion they eventually would need when Angel second baseman Randy Velarde hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth off Mussina (6-1).

Mussina's only other blemish was Todd Greene's bases-empty home run in the second. The right-hander with the vicious knuckle-curve struck out five and walked two, improving his career record against the Angels to 11-3 with a 3.24 earned-run average.

Finley, who threw eight shutout innings in a 1-0 victory over New York last Wednesday night, was nearly Mussina's equal, giving up four hits and two runs--B.J. Surhoff's RBI single in the first and Charles Johnson's homer in the third--but he couldn't put away the Orioles in the sixth.

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