Palmeiro's 37th homer gave the Orioles a 7-4

By Ken Berger Associated Press Published:

Palmeiro's 37th homer gave the Orioles a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians Thursday night, Baltimore's eighth victory in 10 games and 25th in 32 games since the All-Star break.

"What can I say about Raffy?" Baltimore manager Ray Miller said. "He's done that for us four or five times this season. That shows you what kind of hitter he is. It was a pretty darn good changeup and he just flicked it with that beautiful swing of his and hit it out."

The Orioles are only 7-17 at Jacobs Field, but remain eight games behind Boston in the AL wild-card chase. They are six games above .500 for the first time since April 18.

Brady Anderson, who hit his 14th homer in the sixth off starter Dwight Gooden, led off the 12th with a single against Reed (1-1). He's the sinkerballer acquired from San Francisco who introduced himself to catcher Pat Borders this way in his first appearance for the Indians: "Hi. I'm Steve Reed. I throw 80 mph. Let's go get 'em."

Reed had done just that until coming up against Palmeiro, who hit the first homer off the right-hander since he joined the Indians.

"There's no room for errors in extra innings," Reed said.

Eric Davis, who extended his hitting streak to 28 games with a double in the sixth, lined a single before Palmeiro hit a 388-foot homer to right.

"He got the changeup up in the zone," said Palmeiro, who has 102 RBIs, joining Eddie Murray as the only Orioles to have four straight 100-RBI seasons.

Baltimore's bullpen allowed no runs and two hits in 8 1-3 innings. Since the All-Star break, Orioles relievers are 9-1 with 12 saves and a 2.41 ERA.

"I'm really proud of our bullpen," Miller said. "We really got beaten up with our pitching early in the year, but we tried to keep from blowing out our bullpen. Our relievers are probably as fresh as anybody's."

Whenever these teams get together, get ready for a wild ride. Remember last year's AL championship series, when Cleveland scored a game-winning run on a botched squeeze play and the teams set a record with four one-run games in a seven-game series?

"It's just the rivalry going between two quality teams," said Davis, who tied Garret Anderson for the longest hitting streak in the majors this season.

Baltimore's winning rally came after Cleveland missed an opportunity in the 11th against Pete Smith (2-3), the Orioles' sixth pitcher. He walked Brian Giles with one out and allowed a single by Travis Fryman, but then Smith caught a soft liner from Richie Sexson and doubled off Fryman to end the inning.

"We had two chances," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "We only had six hits, but twice we had runners on third and less than two outs and didn't get them in."

Doug Jones backed Gooden's strong outing with 1 2-3 scoreless innings and three strikeouts, but Paul Assenmacher and Paul Shuey squandered Cleveland's 4-2 lead in the eighth.

Assenmacher started the eighth but gave up singles to Palmeiro and Harold Baines. Cal Ripken hit the first pitch from Shuey through the hole at short, and Palmeiro slid home as Giles' throw bounced away from catcher Sandy Alomar for an error, cutting it to 4-3.

After B.J. Surhoff struck out, Lenny Webster tied it at 4 with a single to center scoring pinch-runner Rich Becker. Ripken, the go-ahead run, was stranded at third when Roberto Alomar bounced out to the mound. Alomar didn't run to first, arguing with plate umpire Dale Scott that it was a foul ball.

Starter Sidney Ponson was knocked out in the fourth. Doug Johns kept the Orioles in the game with 3 1-3 innings of one-hit relief.

Armando Benitez got three outs for his 17th save.

Gooden allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings, throwing 49 of 79 pitches for strikes and walking off to a warm ovation.

Notes: The Indians will decide today whether right-hander Chad Ogea will come off the disabled list, but there are fears that he's not ready. Ogea has tendinitis in his right middle finger. When he is ready, Hargrove wants him to go to Triple-A Buffalo for rehab. ... Jeff Reboulet's bat flew into the third-base dugout on a groundout to short in the 11th, hitting Cleveland pitching coach Mark Wiley. He was OK. .. Baltimore's Roberto Alomar was 0-for-6.

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