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O's, Reds meet for first time since '70 Series

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Melvin Mora outshined one of baseball's
greatest collections of power hitters.

Mora's three-run homer Friday night sent the Baltimore Orioles
to a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and stole the spotlight
from three of the best home run hitters of all time -- Sammy Sosa,
Rafael Palmeiro and Ken Griffey Jr.

"Oh my God," Mora said, contemplating what he'd done. "That's
a good feeling when you've got a lot of guys who hit home runs like
that. I don't consider myself a home run hitter. I just try to hit
it hard somewhere."

The Orioles are visiting Cincinnati for the first time since the
1970 World Series, which third baseman Brooks Robinson turned into
his showcase. Baltimore won the series, 4-1.

The focus was on the long ball, not leather, in their return.

The interleague matchup marked the first time that three
500-homer players appeared in the same game -- Sosa (580), Palmeiro
(559) and Griffey, who hit a solo shot in the eighth for No. 511.

"To have two other guys on the field who've done it ... they're
not just good players, but they're good people as well," Griffey
said. "They've done it. You want to try to keep them off the
bases, or at least keep them on the bases and not circling them.

"It's weird. It's exciting to be out there with two other guys
like that."

The trio went 3-for-11, with Griffey providing the only hit of
any note. Sosa, who hit No. 500 at Great American Ball Park two
years ago, had a particularly rough time, striking out in his three
at-bats.

Instead, Mora made the difference with his 89th career homer, a
shot off Aaron Harang (4-4) that put the Orioles ahead to stay in
the third. Mora also doubled and scored in the eighth.

Rodrigo Lopez (5-2) rebounded from his shortest outing of the
season, a three-inning start against Detroit last Saturday. The
right-hander gave up Felipe Lopez's solo homer in the third, and
narrowly avoided worse trouble.

Cincinnati failed to score after loading the bases with none out
in the fifth. Griffey's bunt single against a shifted infield and
Palmeiro's fielding error loaded the bases again in the sixth with
one out. Left-hander Steve Kline let in a run with a wild pitch
before preserving a 3-2 lead.

"Without question, that was the key to the game," Reds manager
Dave Miley said. "With the way Harang was pitching, getting one or
two could have been key there. The opportunities were there. We
just didn't get it done."

Mora doubled off Kent Mercker in the eighth and came around when
left fielder Adam Dunn took the wrong angle on Miguel Tejada's line
drive, which fell for a double.

Griffey's 10th homer of the season off John Parrish in the
eighth tied Mel Ott for 18th on the career list. B.J. Ryan struck
out the side in the ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.

The Reds were coming off a sweep of the AL's worst road team,
the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Cincinnati scored 34 runs during the
sweep, its highest total for a three-game home series since 1898.

The Orioles were another matter entirely.

Baltimore is the AL's best offensive team on the road, leading
the league in hitting and homers while averaging 6.5 runs per game.
Mora drove the point home in the third inning with an impressive
at-bat.

After Geronimo Gil singled and David Newhan walked, Mora came up
with two outs and worked Harang to a full count. He fouled off
three pitches with two strikes, then homered to left field on the
ninth pitch -- a knee-high fastball -- for a 3-0 lead.

"I thought I threw some good pitches at 1-2 and 2-2," said
Harang, who matched his career high with 10 strikeouts in seven
innings. "He did a good job. I threw some good sliders and he
fought them off."

Game notes
Before this season, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati were the only
teams that the Orioles had not faced in interleague play. ...
Baltimore improved to 6-5 on a four-city, 13-game trip that is its
longest of the season. ... 2B Brian Roberts (strained right
shoulder) was back in the Orioles' lineup for the first time since
May 31. ... C/1B Eli Marrero joined the team two days after he was
acquired from Kansas City in a trade. He pinch hit and drew a walk.
... LF B.J. Surhoff had his 12-game hitting streak snapped. ...
Griffey extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... INF Anderson
Machado (rebuilt left knee) started a rehab assignment with
Triple-A Louisville on Friday and left the game with pain in the
knee. He'll be examined again.