Fittingly, only a home run mars Johnson's final effort of season

Orioles notebook

October 03, 1990|By Ken Rosenthal | Ken Rosenthal,Evening Sun Staff

Dave Johnson ended the season as the Orioles' leading winner, but it was typical of his year that he pitched a marvelous game last night, only to lose on a home run.

Johnson held Toronto to one run in eight innings before giving up Fred McGriff's 35th homer on a 2-2 changeup with two outs in the ninth. It was the 30th homer he allowed this season, most in the majors.

McGriff had gone 18 games without a homer, but he was the logical candidate to deliver the final blow, for he was the only one of the league's top five home-run hitters who had not connected off Johnson.

Cecil Fielder hit the first of his 49 homers off the 30-year-old righthander, and Mark McGwire (39), Jose Canseco (37) and Kelly Gruber (31) also padded their totals against him.

Of the 83 runs given up by Johnson, 40 came on home runs (48 percent). He allowed the most homers by an Orioles pitcher since 1987, the year Eric Bell gave up 32, Ken Dixon 31 and Mike Boddicker 29.

None of it sounds good, but Johnson also finished 13-9 with a 4.10 ERA, the second-highest victory total of his career. He led the American Association with 15 wins for Triple A Buffalo in 1988.

* OH, BROTHER: Toronto leftfielder George Bell had a chance to nail his brother Juan at the plate in Monday night's game, but he didn't throw home. Juan, a pinch runner, scored from second on Bill Ripken's single to increase the Orioles' lead to 5-3.

What happened?

George said he didn't take the ball out of his glove cleanly. "If I get a good grip on it," he said, smiling, "I throw him out." Juan laughed when informed of his remarks. "I don't know," he said. "I just ran."

Maybe next time.

"I'll get him," George promised.

* LINEUP SHUFFLE: For the second straight game, Orioles manager Frank Robinson changed his lineup after a late injury to one of his players. Monday night he replaced rookie first baseman David Segui with Jeff McKnight. Last night he replaced leftfielder Dave Gallagher with Brady Anderson.

Gallagher, a righthanded hitter, was scheduled to play against lefthander Bud Black, but he re-injured his right hamstring Monday night. It's the same problem that forced him to miss six weeks with the Chicago White Sox last season.

"It's just a twinge," Gallagher said. "Normally, I would be happy to play, but under the circumstances, I don't think there's any reason to rush, then have to start the offseason rehabilitating."

* CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH: Segui was relieved to learn the results of his Magnetic Imaging Resonance test he underwent Monday night. His injury is merely a strained right knee, and he still plans to play the first half of the winter season for Estrellas in the Dominican Republic.

Segui, 24, suffered his injury running into a tarp on Aug. 29. The problem originally was just under his knee, and he became concerned when it spread to the side. "This is great news," he said. "The last two days I was really afraid I hurt something inside of my knee."

McKnight replaced Segui for the second straight night and went 1-for-2 with a hit-and-run single that led to the Orioles' only run.

* DEVO-LUTION: Mike Devereaux has hit home runs in four of his last 11 games to increase his season total to 12, high among Orioles outfielders. Robinson said he is capable of producing 20 homers and 75 RBIs if healthy and playing to full potential.

Devereaux missed a month with a pulled right hamstring, and he has only 364 at-bats, 27 fewer than last season. He also suffered a minor elbow injury after he began swinging a heavier bat, and said he plans to lift weights this winter to increase his strength.

* AROUND THE HORN: The Blue Jays defeated the Orioles in the ninth inning for the fourth time in their last five meetings. They've now won six of their last 15 games against the Orioles in their final at-bat.

General Orioles stuff: They were 4-0 in games rescheduled by the lockout before last night. Their ERA in the last 14 games is 2.75. And they're 15-10 since Sept. 6; the only team hotter in that stretch is Oakland (19-9).

The Orioles re-signed righthander Oswald Peraza and outfielder Tony Chance to Rochester contracts. Both players would have been eligible to become seven-year minor-league free agents. Peraza was the pitcher acquired with Jose Mesa for Mike Flanagan on Aug. 31, 1987.

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