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Mora's home run in ninth gives O's win over Indians



Published: Thu, April 17, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cleveland dropped a 4-3 decision after blowing a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Melvin Mora put Baltimore ahead for good but felt bad that it took him nine innings to do it.

Mora led off the ninth inning with his first home run of the season to give the Baltimore Orioles a 4-3 comeback win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.

"I felt a little guilty because I only got one run in earlier with the bases loaded," Mora said of a groundout that gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead in the second. "We're supposed to score more than one in that situation."

Mora, batting .118 as he opened the ninth, hit a 2-1 pitch from Danys Baez 400 feet into the seats in left-center. Baez (0-1) had blown a 3-2 lead in the eighth by walking in the tying run.

"When you have Baez on the mound, it makes me nervous because he throws so hard," Mora said. "You have to jump on a fastball."

Baez said that is exactly what happened.

"It was a mistake, a fastball over the middle," he said. "It was down, but was supposed to be inside."

Good pitching

Buddy Groom (1-0) pitched 12/3 perfect innings, striking out two. Jorge Julio struck out pinch-hitter Bill Selby for the final out and his second save.

Milton Bradley singled in the first inning for Cleveland, extending his season-opening hitting streak to 14 games -- the longest by an Indians player since Toby Harrah hit in 14 straight to open 1982.

Cleveland shortstop Omar Vizquel made a rare error that led to an unearned run in the second inning. He atoned by homering in the fifth into a brisk wind off Orioles starter Rick Helling for a 3-1 lead.

"That pitch was basically middle middle," Helling said. "You make mistakes like that to big-league hitters and they hit it out no matter what the wind is doing."

O's tie it

The Orioles tied it 3-all in the eighth off rookie Billy Traber and Baez.

"They dumped two or three hits in there and we had some tough luck," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

Geronimo Gil looped a leadoff single down the left-field line. Pinch-runner Jose Morban moved up on a wild pitch and took third on a one-out bloop single to center by Gary Matthews.

Morban ignored third-base coach Tom Trebelhorn's signal to keep running on that play, but scored when David Segui followed with a single to center.

"Hits are hits, I don't want to cheapen them," Traber said. "I have to get those guys out. I put a lot of pressure on Danys to come into a real tough situation."

Baez came on and walked Jeff Conine to load the bases and got Jay Gibbons to fly to left. Matthews tagged up but slipped as he began to attempt to score on the play and held third.

Baez then walked Tony Batista, forcing in the tying run.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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