One day into their last and longest road trip of the season, it already has been too eventful and exhausting for the Baltimore Orioles' tastes. In the past 36 hours, after riding out a hurricane at home, they have dealt with a scheduling nightmare, a hair-raising aborted takeoff and finally, today, a five-hour morning flight followed by a night game.
A 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Angels in front of 28,865 at Edison International Field tonight, launching the Orioles' 11-day road trip, helped cushion their landing. It also ended a long, hectic day and stretched the Orioles' season-high winning streak to nine games.
"Obviously, it's been a long day for us," said Orioles closer Mike Timlin, who pitched the ninth inning and earned his 22nd save. "It can test your limits doing what we did today, but it shows a lot to be able to play that well."
Scott Erickson (14-11) went 6 2/3 innings to win his fourth straight start. Shortstop Mike Bordick broke open a scoreless tie with a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning.
Orioles third baseman Cal Ripken went 3 for 4, pulling him within 13 hits of 3,000 for his career, with 16 games remaining this season.
Right fielder Albert Belle hit his 34th homer. Catcher Charles Johnson went 4 for 4 for the second straight game and came a homer shy of hitting for the cycle. With nine straight hits, he is one shy of the team record set by Ken Singleton in 1981.
"I just want to finish strong," Johnson said. "I'm seeing the ball really well and just try to put the ball in play."
Also today, the weary Orioles (70-76) found out their off-day next Thursday -- between games with Texas and Boston -- is no more. It has been replaced by a doubleheader in Baltimore against the Oakland A's, making up for the two games that were lost this week to Hurricane Floyd. But after surviving today -- even coming away with a victory, no less -- the Orioles probably feel they can survive anything.
After Wednesday's announcement that the games that night and Thursday would be postponed because of Hurricane Floyd, the Orioles first attempted to leave Baltimore late Wednesday night, but could not arrange for a chartered plane.
Next, they tried to fly out Thursday morning in the midst of the storm. Their takeoff had to be aborted when the plane, loaded down with 11 days' worth of stuff, could not attain a high enough speed. With braking difficult because of the water on the ground, the plane finally came to rest frighteningly close to the end of the runway.
After several hours of sitting around, the team finally was sent home and told to reassemble at the airport this morning. At about 8:15 a.m. Eastern time (5:15 a.m. Pacific time), the Orioles finally got airborne. They made it to Southern California at around 10:30 a.m. Pacific time, rested for a few hours and reported to the ballpark.
Erickson appeared to have no ill effects from the long day. He held the Angels scoreless for the first six innings, getting eight of his first nine outs on ground balls. Tonight marked the ninth straight start in which he has pitched into the seventh inning, and he lowered his ERA to a season-best 4.76.
A walk and a two-out infield single by Darin Erstad in the seventh ended Erickson's night and began the managerial chess game. With a 4-0 lead, Orioles rookie left-hander B.J. Ryan walked Jim Edmonds to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate in Tim Salmon.
The Orioles countered with right-hander Al Reyes, who served up a single to left on a 1-2 pitch, scoring two runs. Finally, Jesse Orosco struck out Mo Vaughn to end the inning.
Orioles Notes: Second baseman Delino DeShields remained in Baltimore, where he will have an outpatient procedure early next week to release an "entrapped" nerve in his right quadriceps. DeShields has not played since Sept. 10. He could return before the end of the season. . . . Left-hander Arthur Rhodes (bruised left index finger), who has not pitched since Aug. 27, also remained in Baltimore to be re-examined by a hand specialist.
Data: Orioles at Anaheim Angels.
Time: 10:05 p.m.
Site: Edison Field.
Radio: WTOP-1500, WBAL-1090, WTOP-FM-107.7, WMJS-FM-92.7.
This Season: Baltimore was 6-3 against Anaheim before last night's game and has outscored the Angels 40-34.
Orioles Makeup Games
Wednesday and Thursday's Baltimore Orioles games, which were postponed because of Hurricane Floyd, will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sept. 23. The two games against the Oakland Athletics begin at 4:05 p.m.
Fans who hold tickets for Wednesday's postponed game may use them for the doubleheader.
Fans holding tickets for Thursday's postponed game may either use them for the doubleheader or exchange them for tickets to one home game during the team's final homestand of the season, Sept. 28 to Oct. 3. The homestand includes three games against the New York Yankees and three against the Boston Red Sox.
Fans living outside a 75-mile radius of Camden Yards who cannot attend those games may request a refund by writing to: Rain Out Exchanges, Baltimore Orioles, 333 West Camden St., Baltimore, Md. 21201.