Orioles 4, Devil Rays 2 at Tropicana Field
Mike Mussina scattered nine hits over seven and two-thirds innings and struck out seven Devil Rays to win his fourteenth game of the season, as the troubled Orioles staved off their neighbors at the bottom of the A.L. East standings.
The Birds took an early lead on a third-inning single by the ageless Harold Baines; B. J. Surhoff scored the first run of the game. With Mussina having relatively little trouble on the mound, the offense gave him a bigger cushion in the top of the fifth. Surhoff and Albert Belle started off the inning with back-to-back home runs off of Tampa Bay starter and former Cuban defector Rolando Arrojo. Surhoff's roundtripper was his 22nd, tying a career high; he would finish with 28 home runs and 107 RBI (another career best).
After the Devil Rays loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs grounded into a fielder's choice to plate their first run. The O's would get that run back in the eighth on Brady Anderson's run-scoring double. The fourth Baltimore run proved helpful, as Mussina surrendered the Rays' second score on an RBI single by John Flaherty in the bottom of the inning. Fortunately, ancient lefty Jesse Orosco came out of the bullpen to strand Flaherty; the home team left a total of eight runners on base in the game. Closer Mike Timlin notched his fifteenth save, allowing a single and striking out one batter.
Will Clark was another misguided veteran signing in the late Nineties. He hit well when healthy, but those occasions were too few during his year-and-a-half in Charm City. In this game, they O's got a good effort from "The Thrill": three hits, including a double, in five trips to the plate. But he would play just one more game in 1999 before being shut down with another injury. On the bright side, he played well enough the following year to allow the Birds to trade him for Jose Leon! Oh...never mind, then.