BALTIMORE, JULY 30 -- On the last weekend of the 1989 season, the Baltimore Orioles visited Toronto with a shot at the American League East title. The Blue Jays won the first two games and popped champagne.
Tonight the streaking Orioles were only four games behind first-place Toronto as the teams began a three-game series. Once again the Blue Jays backed their claim as the best in the East, pounding out a 9-2 victory.
George Bell, Pat Borders and Kelly Gruber exploited three pitchers for 395-foot home runs as the Blue Jays quited the crowd of 43,638 at Memorial Stadium. Gruber and Mookie Wilson each collected three hits as the Blue Jays amassed 12 in the first six innings.
The losing pitcher was Bob Milacki, who departed in the third inning. Milacki celebrated his 26th birthday Saturday, but it was his only significant milestone in July. In six starts this month he was 0-4 with an earned run average of 5.60.
Right-hander Todd Stottlemyre earned his 10th victory with a 101-pitch effort over six innings. Stottelmyre allowed two runs; brother Mel of Kansas City blanked the Orioles for six innings Sunday.
The game was so one-sided -- 9-1 by the middle of the sixth -- that the managers substituted freely, each replacing four position players. One of the Orioles' substitutes was newcomer Ron Kittle, who played first base the last three innings and was hitless in two at-bats.
The Orioles' first two pitchers, Milacki and Brian Holton, established a pattern. Each struck out the first two batters he faced and yielded a home run to the fourth.
Milacki struck out Wilson and Tony Fernandez. His other five outs came on long drives to the outfield, three to the warning track.
Bell's 395-foot blast to left field on a 2-0 fastball to lead off the second inning was his 200th career homer, and 20th against Baltimore.
Fred McGriff walked, and John Olerud followed a screaming foul to right with a long out to left. When the count reached 2-0 on Borders, Manager Frank Robinson stopped squirming and strolled to the mound.
Milacki then retired Borders and Manny Lee on long flies. In the third, though, his luck ran out.
Glenallen Hill, a .231 hitter, lined a single to left. Hill stole second, took third on Wilson's bloop single to left and scored on Fernandez's fly. Wilson scored from first on Gruber's double to left-center field and Milacki was through.
Holton got Bell on a disputed called third strike, then fanned McGriff.
But the Blue Jays increased their lead to 5-0 in the fourth. Holton walked Olerud, and Borders lined a 3-1 fastball to left for his 12th homer.
It became 6-0 in the fifth. Gruber singled to center, took second on an infield out and scored on Olerud's single to right-center. It was the 37th RBI for Olerud, a rookie who wears a batting helmet when he plays first base following brain surgery 18 months ago.
Meanwhile, Cal Ripken's second-inning single was the only blip on Stottlemyre's performance until the fourth, when the 25-year-old righthander worked his way out of a mild hole.
Mike Devereaux stretched his hitting streak to seven games with a leadoff single to center. He stayed put as Randy Milligan backed Wilson to the center field fence on a long out. After Sam Horn struck out, Stottlemyre walked Cal Ripken, then retired Joe Orsulak on a foul pop to end the threat.
With two out in the fifth, the Orioles scratched out a run. Bill Ripken narrowly beat Stottlemyre's throw on a roller down the third-base line. Brady Anderson followed with a high bouncer on which third baseman Gruber had no play. Then Devereaux's grounder slid under Gruber's glove for an error, Ripken scoring. Wilson ran down Milligan's long fly to center, cutting off the rally.
The Blue Jays got that back in the sixth, with interest. Holton left after yielding a single to Hill and it was Mark Williamson's turn to surrender the long ball.
Wilson doubled to left center for his third hit. Hill crossed on Fernandez's second sacrifice fly and Gruber followed with another 395-foot homer, his 22nd, to make it 9-1.
Doubles by Horn and Orsulak produced Baltimore's second run in the sixth. Bell chased both of them in vain, but he was able to grab Craig Worthington's drive while leaning against the left field fence.
That was the end for Stottlemyre, with Ward making his 47th relief appearance. Singles by Anderson and Devereaux created a threat in the seventh, but Tim Hulett grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Orioles Notes: Devereaux was named American League Player of the Week for his efforts last week, when he batted .423 and drove in 10 runs.