Orioles 6, Angels 5

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BALTIMORE (AP)—Tony Batista ended his longest slump of the season with an offensive display that justified his stature as one of the game’s streakiest hitters.

Batista hit a grand slam in the first inning, then the tiebreaking homer in the eighth to lead the Baltimore Orioles past the Anaheim Angels 6-5 Friday night.

Batista was 0-for-14 over a four-game span before his sixth career slam put the Orioles up 5-0. Then, after Anaheim rallied to tie it, he homered on an 0-2 pitch from Francisco Rodriguez (5-2) to put Baltimore ahead to stay.

“It was a great moment for myself and the team,” Batista said.

Before the game, Orioles manager Mike Hargrove was asked if he considered giving his slumping third baseman a day off.

“Tony is kind of a streaky hitter,” Hargrove said. “To get to the good streaks, you’ve got to ride the bad ones out.”

Afterward, Hargrove said, “He certainly busted out.”

Batista entered in an 18-for-91 (.184) funk over his past 24 games, but broke out with his 11th career multihomer game. The five RBIs tied a career high.

“Like the manager says, sometimes I get cold and sometimes I get hot,” Batista said.

Kerry Ligtenberg (1-1) got three outs in the eighth and Jorge Julio pitched the ninth for his 20th save, and second in two nights.

Garret Anderson hit his 23rd homer and had three RBIs for Anaheim, which trailed 5-0 after six innings before rallying to tie. But the Angels, who took a five-game winning streak into the All-Star break, lost their second straight to Baltimore.

“The bottom line is that it’s a loss,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “But there are positives we can take out of the game tonight.”

Anderson started the Angels’ comeback with a solo homer in the seventh. Jeff DaVanon then hit a two-out double and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Deivi Cruz.

Anaheim tied it in the eighth, scoring three runs against four Baltimore pitchers. Anderson hit a two-run double off B.J. Ryan and Bengie Molina completed the uprising with an RBI double against Ligtenberg.

“I can’t remember the last time I went out and needed four pitchers to get three outs,” Hargrove said.

But Batista made things right for the Orioles with his homer off Rodriguez, who had allowed only two earned runs in his last 18 appearances.

“Frankie missed his spot and Batista was ready for it,” Scioscia said.

The Orioles batted around in the first against Jarrod Washburn, who needed 32 pitches to retire the side. The left-hander walked leadoff hitter Brian Roberts, but picked him off first. Baltimore then sandwiched two walks around a single to load the bases for Jay Gibbons, who drove in a run with an infield hit.

Batista sent the next pitch deep into the left-field seats for his 17th homer of the season—the first with more than one runner on base.

“The first spot I hit the whole first inning was the grand slam pitch,” Washburn said. “I put us in a big hole and to the guys’ credit, they didn’t give up. They kept fighting back and just came up a little short.”

Baltimore starter Rick Helling allowed only two hits through six shutout innings, but the Angels chased the right-hander in the seventh.

“A lot of times you see a guy like that you can’t wait to see him out of the game because he’s doing so well,” Washburn said. “You hope that when you get to the bullpen you can turn it around—and the guys did.”

But Batista’s shot to left ruined the comeback.

“Batista,” Scioscia said, “had a heck of a night, to say the least.”

Notes

Anderson has a season-high 10-game hitting streak. His 59 extra-base hits lead the majors. … The Orioles are 6-1 against Anaheim after going 2-7against the Angels in 2002.

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