TORONTO, JUNE 5 -- For a team leading the world in home runs, the Baltimore Orioles learned a little about the long ball from Toronto Blue Jays tonight.
The Blue Jays rode three home runs to a 6-2 victory over the Orioles, who didn't hit any -- for a change. As a matter of fact, the Orioles didn't hit much of anything. Four singles and a triple was the extent of their offense as they lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Orioles left-hander Eric Bell was seeing Toronto for the first time in his career and no doubt didn't like what he saw. He was pushed around early and left in the third, trailing, 5-1. Home runs by George Bell and Cecil Fielder did the most damage as Eric Bell's record fell to 5-3.
"I was all over the place," he said. "I didn't have any rhythm and I didn't know where the ball was going. I was pitching from behind all game and you can't do that at any level, against any lineup."
"If you can't or don't throw strikes, you aren't going to win," Manager Cal Ripken Sr. said. "Eric pitched behind and you can't get away with that. I've been trying to get it across to the young guys: That's the adjustment they have to make from the minor leagues to the big leagues."
Mark Williamson pitched 4 1/3 reasonably effective innings for Baltimore, allowing only for Jesse Barfield's 13th homer, and Scott McGregor pitched a 1-2-3 inning out of the bullpen to mop up.
Toronto starter Jim Key was the complete-game winner, improving to 7-3. After the first inning, when Baltimore got a cheap run, he was in control until the eighth. Mike Young's single and Lee Lacy's triple produced the second Baltimore run, but Key struck out Cal Ripken Jr. and got Eddie Murray on a bouncer.
In the first, Key walked Ripken and Murray with two out and Ripken scored as Manny Lee bobbled Fred Lynn's bouncer into the hole wide of first base. It was scored a hit and accounted for Lynn's 23rd RBI.
The Blue Jays used a single and a double to put across a run in the second to tie. Bell then walked Lee on four pitches and passed Tony Fernandez to load the bases with two out, setting the bullpen in motion. Bell avoided further trouble by getting Lloyd Moseby on an infield tap, but the omens were obvious: he was looking for trouble.
He found it the next inning, as Barfield legged out an infield hit and George Bell hit his 18th homer for a 3-1 edge. Fielder followed with a drive that hit three-fourths of the way up the left field foul pole. Both homers came on full counts.
Two outs later, Eric Bell walked Ernie Whitt and gave way to Williamson, who yielded singles to Lee and Fernandez for 5-1.
Eric Bell's evening showed six hits and five earned runs with three walks. He threw 74 pitches, exactly half for strikes.
"It was just me," he said. "It wasn't the hitters or anything like that, just the way I was throwing.
"We can't expect the hitters to go out and score eight runs every game."
Ripken Jr. last night marked the fifth anniversary of the beginning of his consecutive inning streak. He has played 817 consecutive games, ninth best streak ever, and 7,414 innings in a row . . . Toronto's Kelly Gruber sprained his right ankle in the fifth inning. He was taken to the hospital for X-rays which revealed no broken bones.