You'd have a hard time proving it by the box score, but by all accounts in the Orioles' clubhouse, Ben McDonald pitched well yesterday.
That's after nine hits and four runs in 2 2/3 innings, and with the realization it could have been a lot worse. "The one thing he shouldn't think about is changing anything off what happened out there today [yesterday]," Orioles manager Frank Robinson said after the 5-4 win.
"If he takes the same stuff out there 10 more times he'll be OK," said Robinson. "They hit at least three good curveballs in the third inning, and one in the first. You're not going to make a living swinging at those kind of pitches. But they hit them. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to them."
McDonald wasn't quite as enthusiastic about the way he performed, but the big righthander wasn't overly disappointed either. "It didn't show, but I thought I pitched decent," said McDonald. "They hit some good pitches.
"This is still kind of like spring training. I'm just missing those innings [in exhibition games]. My arm is probably a little dead right now. It doesn't hurt -- it's just that when it feels good, there's some extra pop. I don't feel like I have that right now."
Yesterday's game marked McDonald's second start since coming off the disabled list (sore elbow) and was his shortest stint in 17 major-league starts. He has worked 7 1/3 innings and allowed 10 earned runs for a 12.27 ERA.
* MOVE OVER MAGIC: Joe Orsulak is fast becoming the Magic Johnson of major-league baseball. He recorded his fifth assist of the season in the third inning yesterday, throwing out Frankin Stubbs, trying for a double, from deep in the rightfield corner.
Orsulak's total is even more impressive when you consider that he has played in only 10 of the first 16 games. Orsulak has 26 assists in his Orioles career. The other 26 players who have played the outfield for the Orioles during that time have combined for 62 assists.
While on the subject of assists, the Orioles have registered seven from the outfield -- all in the last six games.
* HITS, RUNS AND OUTS: During the aforementioned third inning yesterday, the Brewers had seven hits in as many at-bats. But when the inning was over the Brewers had as many outs as runs.
Jim Gantner's sacrifice bunt, which doesn't count as an official at-bat, was the first out of the inning. The other two were recorded on the bases. After Orsulak threw out Stubbs, Brady Anderson fielded B.J. Surhoff's single to left and caught Darryl Hamilton on a disputed play at home plate.
* THIS 'N THAT: Cal Ripken's four runs batted in yesterday gave him 20 for the season -- the second highest total he's ever accumulated in April. He had 23 in 1987.
Sam Horn's nine RBIs are still second best among the Orioles. They all came in a 96-hour period -- between April 14-18.
Leo Gomez made his first start, and third appearance, at first base yesterday.
Mike Devereaux had a big series against Milwaukee -- two home runs and two doubles in 10 at-bats. He scored three runs yesterday and now has a .352 career average against the Brewers.
Craig Worthington had two singles, his first multi-hit game of the year, and drove in the winning run in the eighth, following singles by Ripken and Gomez.
Daniel Boone, the lefthanded knuckleballer who was with the Orioles at the end of last year, has signed a Triple A contract with the Texas Rangers.