Phillies 9, Orioles 5

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BALTIMORE (AP)—The stadium was packed, the fans were boisterous and the atmosphere was electric.

How appropriate that the Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies wore throwback uniforms to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1983 World Series, because the game had the feel of a playoff encounter between two intense rivals.

Jim Thome homered, doubled and scored two runs as the Phillies defeated Baltimore 9-5 Saturday night before the largest crowd in the 12-year history of Camden Yards.

The interleague game attracted 49,549 fans—the most ever to see a game at Camden Yards. The old record was 49,137, for Game 3 of the 1997 AL division series against Seattle.

Many in the crowd drove down from Philadelphia, and they were not disappointed. Although the Phillies let an early seven-run lead dwindle to 7-5, they pulled away to move nine games over .500 (43-34) for the first time this year.

“It sounded like it was a home game for us. It was pretty nice,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “A lot of people coming from Philly, it was pretty good. Our young guys like the crowd. They see a lot of red out there, so they know a lot of them are on our side.”

Ricky Ledee and Tomas Perez also homered, and Placido Polanco had four hits and three RBIs to help the Phillies to their seventh win in eight games.

“The Baltimore fans are good and so are the Philly fans, and they’re so close,” Thome said. “It was a great turnout and it was exciting to see all those people, but it didn’t surprise me. There were a lot of cheers, and the way they showed their support was great.”

Brett Myers (7-6) earned the win despite giving up five runs and 10 hits in six innings.

Jay Gibbons and Tony Batista homered for the Orioles, who slipped a season-high eight games under .500 (35-43).

Orioles starter Pat Hentgen (1-5) pitched five innings, allowing seven runs, nine hits and five walks in his career-high fifth straight loss. The right-hander is 1-9 since returning from elbow ligament replacement surgery last September.

“His motor was running a tick too fast tonight. He just couldn’t get his stuff in sync,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.

Hentgen threw 95 pitches, only 54 for strikes.

“My location was terrible. It was a battle to hit my spots, and you can’t do that at this level,” he said. “I just pitched really poorly.”

After Ledee hit a two-run drive in the fourth to put the Phillies up 7-0, Gibbons hit a solo shot in the bottom half that traveled an estimated 420 feet. It was the 30th homer in Camden Yards history to land on Eutaw Street, well beyond the 25-foot scoreboard in right field.

Luis Matos made it 7-3 with a two-run triple in the fifth, and Batista brought the Orioles within two by connecting in the sixth after Gibbons reached on an infield hit.

But Perez gave the Phillies a three-run cushion in the seventh with his first homer of the season. The drive came one pitch after Matos robbed Pat Burrell of a home run with a leaping catch at the wall in center.

Thome doubled in the eighth and scored on Mike Lieberthal’s third hit, a single to right.

“We started out real well and kind of kept the pressure on,” Thome said. “Hopefully this can be a turning point in our offense. We’ve struggled to have games like this, and to do it against a guy like Hentgen is good.”

The game was nothing like the five pitching duels the teams staged during the Orioles’ last Series appearance in 1983.

Thome got the Phillies started in the first inning, following a walk to David Bell with his 19th homer on an 0-2 pitch. Polanco hit an RBI double in the third to make it 3-0.

Philadelphia loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth before Hentgen struck out Perez and Marlon Byrd. But Polanco followed with a two-run singlefor a 5-0 lead.

Notes

The two largest regular-season crowds to see a game at Camden Yards were both for games against Philadelphia. The crowd Saturday night surpassed the old record of 49,072, set in July 2001. … Orioles DH David Segui was rested because of a sore knee; he’s also in a 6-for-42 slump. … Philadelphia is 10-1 on Saturdays. … Phillies rookie Nick Punto entered as a pinch-runnerin the ninth and recorded his first major league steal.

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