Orioles Complete Perfect Homestand

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Stevens, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

BALTIMORE - Melvin Mora isn't slowing down, and neither are the Baltimore Orioles.

Mora slugged two home runs as the Orioles capped a perfect seven-game homestand with a 7-3 defeat of Texas before 39,850 at Camden Yards.

Dave Borkowski pitched six strong innings for the Orioles (53-57), who moved within four games of .500 for the first time since they were 27-31 on June 13. Baltimore finished its first 7-0 homestand since Sept. 9-14, 1969, and is on its first seven-game winning streak since taking 13 straight in 1999.

"I think the guys see the light," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "They're doing the things that we know they're capable of doing. We're going to ride the wave."

Mora has been a first-half player much of his career, with a career average of .302 before the All-Star break and .236 afterward. His on-base and slugging percentages reflect a similar chasm, though injuries ruined much of his second half last season.

Things have changed this year for Mora, who has hit safely in 18 of 22 games since being activated from the disabled list July 18. The third baseman is batting .361 with eight home runs in that stretch, with impressive on-base (.442) and slugging (.735) percentages as well.

"I don't try to hit a home run," Mora said. "When you go up there and get take a good swing, things can happen."

He had plenty of good swings yesterday. Mora got a green light on 3-0 and smacked starter Mike Bacsik's fastball to deep left for a two-run homer in the first inning to put the Orioles ahead 2-1. Four innings later, Mora greeted reliever Joaquin Benoit with another homer to left-center. It was his career-high 20th of the season, besting his total of 19 in 2002.

"He's a kid who has great, quiet hands," Mazzilli said. "He has an idea of exactly what he's looking for and what he wants to do."

The Rangers didn't give him another chance to cause more havoc. …