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Mussina Shuts Down Tampa


Mike Mussina finally got some help from his teammates, and that makes him tough to beat.

Mussina stopped his three-game losing streak and B.J. Surhoff and Albert Belle hit back-to-back homers Wednesday night as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-2.

"Considering the way things were going, I'll take it any way I can get it," Mussina said. "We had some big hits, played solid defensively again and had good relief pitching. This is the way we kind of hoped to play every day."

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Game Summary

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  • Mussina (14-7) rebounded from losing three consecutive starts for the first time in his career. He gave up two runs and nine hits in 7 2-3 innings, striking out seven and walking one.

    In his previous two starts, Mussina allowed seven runs six earned over 15 1-3 innings.

    "I was just glad to give Moose some runs," Baltimore manager Ray Miller said. "He's pitched great and we haven't really been doing much for him."

    Tampa Bay was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position through four innings.

    "Like a lot of good pitchers, you have to get them early," Tampa Bay manager Larry Rothschild said. "We had our chances and let him off the hook. He's one of the guys when you get a chance early, you have to get him."

    Surhoff and Belle hit solo homers in the fifth off Rolando Arrojo (2-8). It was the seventh time Baltimore has hit consecutive home runs this season.

    Mike Timlin pitched the ninth for his 15th save.

    "We're just being aggressive," said Timlin, who as six saves in his last seven outings. "We're going at people."

    Tampa Bay's Wade Boggs went 2-for-4 with an RBI, increasing his career hits total to 3,003. Boggs had a second-inning single, a fourth-inning double and a sixth-inning fielder's choice to drive in a run.

    Brady Anderson added an RBI double in the eighth as Baltimore won for the fifth time in eight games.

    Surhoff, who was 4-for-5, had gone 24 games without a homer before hitting his 22nd. Belle hit his 28th to put the Orioles up 3-0.

    Harold Baines' run-scoring single gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead in the third. Baines has eight RBIs in his last four games after driving in just one run in 16 games.

    Baines also tied Willie McCovey for 30th place on the career RBIs list with 1,555.

    Arrojo went six innings, allowing three runs and nine hits. He hasn't won at home since Sept. 15, 1998.

    Notes

  • Tampa Bay designated hitter Jose Canseco took batting practice and hopes to return around Aug. 20. "He's human, I think," Tampa Bay manager Larry Rothschild said. "He's quite a bit ahead of schedule. I'm not going to put a date on it. I'll see when we get closer to that point." Canseco had back surgery July 10. Team officials are aiming for a Sept. 1 return.
  • The Orioles are 20-for-40 in save opportunities this season. Baltimore's 20 blown saves lead the majors
  • Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick, who went 6-for-10 with seven RBIs in the first two games of the series, didn't start and came in a defensive replacement in the ninth.
  • The Devil Rays activated second baseman Miguel Cairo (left hamstring strain) from the 15-day disabled list and optioned pitcher Mickey Callaway to Triple-A Durham.
  • Tampa Bay's Fred McGriff, limited to DH duties the last nine games following a left quad injury, may play first base Thursday.
  • Surhoff came in 6-for-38 (.158) over the previous nine games.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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