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Orosco's Record Leads Orioles


Jesse Orosco walked out of the bullpen and into baseball's record book, moving to the top of a prestigious list that features some of the finest relief pitchers in the history of the game.

Orosco pitched in his major-league record 1,072nd game Tuesday night, helping preserve Mike Mussina's 15th victory as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Minnesota Twins 8-3 Tuesday night.

Orosco, 42, broke a tie with Dennis Eckersley atop the career list. Hoyt Wilhelm is in third place, followed by Kent Tekulve and Lee Smith.

"It's a real nice milestone, being the guy with the most games pitched," Orosco said. .

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Game Summary

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  • As he left the bullpen with two outs in the seventh inning, bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks told him, "Let's go, have some fun."

    He tried, but it wasn't easy to keep his focus on the Orioles' one-run lead in the midst of a warm standing ovation from the Camden Yards crowd of 40,485.

    "Well, I didn't fall, so that was a good start," Orosco said. "It was overwhelming."

    Orosco waved his cap to the fans and went to work. His first pitch to Todd Walker, 6 years old when Orosco made his debut with the New York Mets in 1979, was extremely high and inside.

    "I'm sure the screen would have stopped it," Orosco joked.

    Walker then hit a fly to center on the second pitch. He was the only batter Orosco faced.

    After the out, Orosco again waved his cap to the crowd. As he walked off the field, his son, Jesse Jr., greeted him near the first-base line.

    "That was the greatest thing of my life, to see my boy come out," said Orosco, who then visited the rest of his family in the box seats before receiving the ball from Oriles center fielder Brady Anderson.

    "Congratulations to Jesse," Twins manager Tom Kelly said. "It's a tribute to him, his longevity and specializing in a certain area of the game. You've got to tip your hat to the guy for staying healthy and pitching as long as he has. It's a real feather in the cap."

    The two-pitch effort was typical, given that Orosco has been used for years primarily against left-handed batters. He hasn't started a game since 1982 and has pitched in more games than innings in every season since 1990.

    "This is my role right here," he said of his two-pitch stint. "I'm happy with it."

    Jeff Conine went 4-for-4 with a homer and Harold Baines homered and drove in two runs for the Orioles, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

    Mussina (15-7) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings to improve to 14-2 lifetime against the Twins. The victory also moved him one step closer to his first 20-win season.

    But on this night, the magic number was 1,072.

    "It's a thrill to be a part of it," Mussina said. "I think it's amazing. His job allows him to go out there every day and be effective."

    Baltimore took its first lead, 4-3, in the sixth. Conine hit a one-out double and Charles Johnson singled to chase Joe Mays (5-5). Travis Miller then threw a wild pitch, allowing Conine to score.

    Baines hit his 24th homer in the seventh off Hector Carrasco, and the Orioles added three in the eighth on a wild pickoff throw by Eddie Guardado and a two-run single by B.J. Surhoff.

    The Twins went up 1-0 in the second inning when Marty Cordova doubled and scored on a two-out single by Terry Steinbach.

    Ron Coomer led off the fourth with his team-high 14th homer, and Matt Lawton singled and scored on a two-out drag bunt by Cristian Guzman.

    Baltimore closed to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning. Albert Belle walked, stole second and scored on a single by Baines, who was cut down stealing before Conine hit his 10th homer.

    The Orioles tied it in the fifth when Ryan Minor doubled, took third on a grounder and tagged up on a long foul popup by Mike Bordick.

    Notes

  • Baines has 10 RBIs in his last eight games.
  • Lawton stole two bases, giving him a team-high 17 for the season, and Cordova grounded into his team-high 16th double play.
  • Belle's 13th steal gave him him three more than he had in the last two seasons combined. He also recorded his 14th assist, throwing out Brent Gates at third base on a perfect throw from right field.
  • Conine is the eighth Orioles player to reach double digits in homers.
  • Anderson went 1-for-4 with a walk to stretch his hitting streak to 13 games.

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