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Orioles Beat Braves... Again

The Baltimore Orioles once again beat the Atlanta Braves, and this time the victory was both short and sweet.

Scott Erickson pitched a seven-hitter and the Orioles hit three home runs off Danny Neagle in a 3-2 victory Friday night, Baltimore's fourth straight win over Atlanta since interleague play was introduced last season.

The Orioles, who swept three games in Atlanta last year, made quick work of the Braves the game was played in a brisk 1:53, the shortest game in the majors this season.

"That's what it's all about, I guess. Do it precision-like," said manager Bobby Cox, who was seeking his 1,000th victory with the Braves. "It was a good ballgame, a fast ballgame."

Erickson (6-6) and Neagle (7-3) both went the distance. All the runs came via the home run Eric Davis, Lenny Webster and Joe Carter connected for the Orioles; the Braves got homers from Tony Graffanino and Ryan Klesko.

"It's refreshing to play a fast-paced game," Baltimore manager Ray Miller said. "Both guys were throwing first-pitch strikes the whole game. The caliber of pitching is what makes for quick ballgames."

It was the first game at Camden Yards to be played under 2 hours and the Orioles' shortest game since a 1:48 contest against Toronto in 1983.

Erickson, who had won only two of his last eight decisions, walked two and struck out four. The right-hander allowed only three flyball outs in his fourth complete game of the year.

"It's fun to go fast. You can really enjoy the game," Erickson said. "The crowd was really into it the last couple of innings and that makes it very exciting."

It was an important win for the Orioles, who are trying to escape fourth place in the AL East. Baltimore brought a little extra incentive into a game against a team that entered with an NL-best 42-18 record.

"They're the horses of the National League. If you can't get up for these guys, they're going to bury you," Webster said.

"When you play them, it brings a lot out of you because you want to compete with them," Miller said.

Neagle, who had allowed only one homer in his previous five games, gave up three for the first time this season all in the first four innings. He yielded six hits and three walks in absorbing a second straight loss for the first time this year.

"Unfortunately I was a little too hitter-friendly in the first couple innings," he said.

Davis gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead in the first with his 10th homer, but Graffanino tied it in the third with his second home run of the season.

The Orioles regained the lead in their half when Webster pulled a pitch deep into the left-field seats, his fourth home run of the season. He had three homers in his first 10 at-bats, then went 98 mre before connecting again.

Carter led off the fourth with a home run for a 3-1 lead. All five of his homers have been solo shots.

Klesko completed the scoring with a one-out homer in the ninth.

Notes: Atlanta's Andres Galarraga went 2-for-4, his 23rd multi-hit game this season. ... The Orioles have won four of five and nine of 13. ... Baltimore has won four straight one-run games and is now 8-8 in those games. ... Davis was picked off for the third time this year. ... It was Neagle's third complete game of the season. ... Klesko's homer snapped a 1-for-12 skid.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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