Mike Young hit two home runs -- including a game-winning two-run shot to left-center field in the eighth inning -- to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 8-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians tonight before 18,272.
"It was a nice evening for me," said Young. "I know the team has been down and struggling, but you can't let those things bother you." Obviously, Young hasn't. Since July 6, he has hit .374, and in his last 12 games, he has six home runs.
Young's game-winner off Rich Thompson, who had replaced reliever Vern Ruhle (2-9) after pinch hitter Jim Dwyer drew a one-out walk, made it 6-4. Alan Wiggins hit a two-run triple later in the inning.
The victory, combined with Boston's loss to Kansas City, moved the Orioles into fourth place in the American League East.
Cleveland -- which had trailed, 4-1 -- tied it, 4-4, in the eighth when Joe Carter, pinch-running for Andre Thornton, scored from third on a one-out double by George Vukovich. Thornton had singled, and Carter moved to third on Mike Hargrove's hit-and-run single to right.
Don Aase (7-5), who relieved starter Mike Boddicker after 6 1/3 innings, intentionally walked Brook Jacoby to load the bases. Cleveland was unable to take the lead as Chris Bando popped up to catcher Rick Dempsey and Otis Nixon lined out to Wiggins at second base.
Young wasn't even assured of a job when he went to spring training this year. Under former manager Joe Altobelli, he had played left field only against right-handed pitchers. Now, under Manager Earl Weaver, he's in the lineup almost full-time -- in left field against right-handers and as the designated hitter against left-handers. On June 8, he was batting .216 with four homers. Now, he is hitting .276 with 17 homers.
"He's proven himself," Weaver said.
"I'm getting a chance to play," Young said. "I'm getting my at bats in . . . The last two or three weeks or month, I feel like every time I go up, I'm going to hit the ball hard."
Young's first home run, and the Orioles' first hit, came off starter Ramon Romero leading off the third inning. Floyd Rayford followed with a double to the wall in right center. Rayford went to third on Wiggins' single and made it 2-0 on Lee Lacy's fielder's choice
Boddicker, who had lost his last three starts and got a no-decision tonight, didn't allow a hit until there were two out in the third, when Jerry Willard singled.
Boddicker gave up his first base on balls with one out in the fifth, walking Tony Bernazard on a 3-2 pitch. Vukovich doubled to the gap in left-center, but shortstop Cal Ripken's relay chased Bernazard back to third after he had started for home. Jacoby hit a soft grounder to second, but Wiggins, charging, only had a play at first as Bernazard scored, to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Orioles scored two in a fifth-inning rally marked by two batters hit by a pitch and an error by Bernazard. Dempsey went to first when Romero hit him with a pitch and to second on Wiggins' single to left. Lacy then singled up the middle. Brett Butler threw to second as Dempsey scored, making it 3-1. Wiggins should have been caught in a rundown, but second baseman Bernazard botched the throw to third, and Lacy took second on the error.
With runners on second and third, it looked as if Romero threw a wild pitch with Ripken at bat. Wiggins headed for home but the umpire ruled that Ripken was hit by the pitch, thus loading the bases. Eddie Murray got an RBI with a fielder's choice when Jacoby fielded his grounder, stepped on third for the force and then overthrew first as he went for the double play. Wiggins scored to make it 4-1.
Cleveland got back into it in the sixth. Nixon singled, then Boddicker walked Butler. Rayford mishandled Julio Franco's grounder and made a second error with a bad throw to second, Nixon scoring. With runners on first and second, Thornton singled in Butler to make it 4-3.
Second baseman Lenn Sakata, taken off the Baltimore Orioles' roster last week, has decided to play for Class AAA Rochester rather than take his release, officials announced today. He will be brought back up in September.