ANAHEIM, Calif., May 23 (UPI) -- One day after he was recalled from the minors, Brian Roberts hit a
game-winning grand slam Thursday night as the Baltimore Orioles topped Anaheim, 7-4.
The slam came off ace Anaheim close Troy Percival in the top of the ninth inning as the Orioles rallied against a bullpen that suffered a rare breakdown.
In the bottom of the eighth, Roberts snagged a sharp one-hopper by Bengie Molina to second base and threw from his knees to start an inning-ending double play and keep Baltimore within 4-3.
Percival, who came on to start the ninth, walked Gary Matthews Jr., who raced to third on a hit-and-run single by Deivi Cruz. Geronimo Gil was hit by a 2-2 pitch before Roberts turned on a 3-2 offering and deposited it into the bullpen in the right field for his first home run since June 7, 2002.
"Willis Roberts got a ground ball and I'm supposed to make plays, and I did," said Roberts, who is filling in while Jerry Hairston Jr. is on the disabled list. "Maybe that play gave us a little momentum. That was the first grand slam of my life. I was looking fastball with a 3-2 count. I was just hoping for a sac fly. I've faced Percival and I have a couple of hits off of him. This game gives me a great confidence boost."
The Orioles' first grand slam of the season made a winner of Willis Roberts (3-1), who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings. It also helped the Orioles get their first victory of the season when trailing after eight innings. They now are 1-21 in that situation.
Jorge Julio worked around an infield hit and struck out two in the ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances.
Percival had been 7-for-7 in save situations, but retired just one of the six batters he faced.
"I hurt my hip the other day in the pen," he said. "I went to drop and drive and throw a pitch, and I felt it pop out. I thought I was fine to go out there. I am having a hard time pushing off my back leg. I had enough arm speed, I just didn't execute pitches."
Baltimore also became the first team this season to score an earned run off reliever Brendan Donnelly, climbing within 4-3 in the eighth on an RBI single by Jay Gibbons. Donnelly had an 0.00 ERA in his first 20 appearances.