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  Friday, Apr. 28 7:05pm ET
Orioles edge Rangers on walk-off balk

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Call it the ultimate walk-off victory.

No, make that a balk-off victory.

Reliever Jeff Zimmerman balked home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 for their eighth straight home victory.

"Obviously, it was pretty blatant," said a dejected Zimmerman. "No one argued on it."

Cal Ripken led off the ninth with a single against Zimmerman (0-3). Pinch-runner Mark Lewis, playing his second game for the Orioles after being claimed off waivers from Cincinnati, moved to third on Will Clark's double.

With a 1-1 count on Greg Myers, Zimmerman was called for a balk by plate umpire Ian Lamplugh and second base umpire Dan Iassogna, and Lewis trotted home with no outs.

"Zimmerman started and stopped. He started his motion and stopped his motion and stepped off," Iassogna said.

After the game, there were few arguments in the Rangers locker room.

"There was no doubt in my mind. He got his sign, started up and then started to step off. I don't think there was any doubt in their minds either," Texas manager Johnny Oates said of the umpires.

Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove has seen his team blow enough games in the late innings to appreciate any decisive play in his favor.

"You have to like that situation with the people we had coming to the plate," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "It's a tough situation for the other club, ... but I'm glad it ended when it did."

Lamplugh ejected Baltimore left fielder B.J. Surhoff in the first inning for arguing a called third strike. Because he had played the field in the top half, Surhoff extended his consecutive games streak to 345 games, the longest current string in the majors.

Jeff Conine and Mike Bordick homered for the Orioles, who have not lost at Camden Yards since dropping their season opener to Cleveland on April 3. Bordick drove in two runs, increasing his league-leading RBI total to 29.

"Any time a guy is as hot as Mike, you don't want to miss his at-bat," Clark said. "And you want to do everything possible to get on for him." In the most intriguing at-bat of the evening, Albert Belle fouled off 13 pitches before popping out on a 3-2 pitch from Esteban Loaiza in the Orioles third.

Buddy Groom (1-1) pitched two perfect innings for the win.

Chad Curtis hit his third home run of the season for the Rangers, who have lost nine of 11.

"The mistakes don't pile up, but they become magnified," Oates said. "Everything becomes more important."

Texas took a 2-0 lead in the third off Jason Johnson. Royce Clayton doubled off the scoreboard in right field and Curtis homered.

Consecutive two-out doubles by Ruben Mateo and Gabe Kapler in the fourth made it 3-0.

Conine, who replaced Surhoff, hit Loaiza's first pitch of the sixth into the left-field bleachers for his fourth home run.

An inning later, Bordick followed with his team-high seventh home run, a two-run shot to left that tied it.

Game notes
Ripken played in his 2,809th career game, moving him past his former manager, Frank Robinson, and into sole possession of 15th place all-time. ... Surhoff's ejection was the first of the season by an Oriole and the fourth of his 14-year career. ... Before doubling in the fourth, Kapler was in a 2-for-22 slump in road games. ... Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro felt tightness in his left hamstring after stealing second in the fifth. He was removed as a precaution.

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