With three home runs in four games, including a mammoth drive today, Eddie Murray has shoved into history his streak of 31 games without a home run, his worst such dry spell since his rookie year of 1977.
With rookie Mike Boddicker pitching seven shutout innings, Baltimore first baseman Murray's three-run drive into the third deck in the HHH Metrodome was the big hit today as the Orioles set down the Minnesota Twins, 6-1. It marked the fifth successive defeat for Minnesota since it rode away from Baltimore's Memorial Stadium last week with a 12-4, 6-1, 7-4 sweep.
Murray's fifth home run of the season, batting left-handed against right-hander Bobby Castillo, traveled 440 feet. It followed a walk to Al Bumbry and a double by Cal Ripken Jr. and provided Boddicker a 4-0 lead.
"They told me to start off each batter with a strike," Boddicker said in reviewing his performance.
Boddicker, making only his fifth major league start, took that advice from his coaches and gave up five harmless hits in seven innings. Sammy Stewart gave up the Twins' run in the eighth on a leadoff triple by Bobby Mitchell and a wild pitch.
"I'm still nervous, but I guess I feel a little more comfortable now," said Boddicker, 2-2 since his recall from Rochester to replace Jim Palmer in the pitching rotation.
Castillo (2-4) pitched the first three innings for the Twins, but wrenched his back covering first base on a double play attempt in the second.
"He couldn't keep his pitches down after that," said Twins Manager Billy Gardner. "That was the difference in the game."
John Lowenstein scored Baltimore's first run on the play on which Castillo was hurt, unsuccessfully trying to catch shortstop Ron Washington's relay throw to first.
The Orioles scored again in the fifth inning when Ripken hit a sacrifice fly after Dan Ford doubled and stole third. And in the eighth, Ripken hit homer No. 7 of the season.