Jeff Ballard may have seemed in charge. But the Baltimore left
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Jeff Ballard may have seemed in charge. But the Baltimore left-hander felt he struggled throughout his seven innings against the California Angels Tuesday night.
So it was a good time for the Orioles hitters to erupt, which they did for four homers that carried them to an 8-1 victory over the Angels.
″I got by. It was one of those nights when a big lead came in handy,″ Ballard said after becoming the first Baltimore pitcher since Wally Bunker in 1964 to open a season by winning his first four starts.
″He’s had four good efforts. We made it easy for him with the offense,″ Baltimore manager Frank Robinson said of Ballard, who was removed after seven innings when his slight straight of the groin acted up.
″I felt fine. I felt it when I made my last pitch of the sixth inning and it started to tighten,″ said Ballard.
Solo shots by Mickey Tettleton and Jim Traber and Billy Ripken’s two-run homer, all off Mike Witt, were followed by rookie Steve Finley’s three-run homer off Willie Fraser in the sixth for Baltimore’s first four-homer game since last July 14.
″It’s not just giving up homers, but who hit them and in what situations,″ Witt said.
Baltimore, losers of its first 21 games last season, remained atop the American League East.
The final blow was delivered in the sixth by Finley. After Billy Ripken singled and Brady Anderson was hit by a pitch from Fraser, Finley lined his first major-league homer into the right-field seats.
The Angels’ run came with two outs in the fourth, when Lance Parrish singled and went home on Chili Davis’ double.