Mesa finds what was missing: a few runs to work with

Orioles notebook

May 07, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Catcher Chris Hoiles said there was only one thing different about Jose Mesa last night than in his other five starts this year.

"The only thing different about him tonight was that we scored runs," Hoiles said after Mesa recorded his first shutout and complete game as the Orioles beat the California Angels, 7-0.

In a rare burst of power, the Orioles clubbed four home runs to back the seven-hit, no-walk effort of Mesa (3-3). The righthander has gone two straight games without issuing a walk (the Orioles as a team haven't walked a hitter in 24 innings).

"I just tried to go after them," said Mesa, whose biggest anxiety came in the first inning, when Wally Joyner lined a shot off the outside of his right ankle. "He hit it back at me 95 mph," said Mesa.

Shutout or no, pitching coach Al Jackson still sees room for improvement. "He still sprays the ball around too much," said Jackson. "He's still using too many pitches. He's still got some ways to go."

Mesa's earned run average dipped to 2.43, tied for eighth best in the American League. There's no telling how effective he might be, according to Jackson, if he learns to better ration his pitches.

"The thing about Jose is that he can throw fastballs [the Angels clocked him at 94 mph] in fastball situations and get away with them," said Jackson. "But he still gets ahead of a lot of hitters and then lets them back into the count. He used 126 pitches, and how many did he strike out (two)? That tells you something."

Not that anybody is going to argue with last night's results.

* DAVIS UPDATE: Glenn Davis had his fourth, and hopefully final, examination yesterday, but there was nothing new to report. "Everything is staying consistent," said Davis, meaning that club orthopedic specialist Dr. Charles Silberstein will reveal the results of the examination by Dr. Robert Watkins today. Davis spent most of yesterday undergoing extensive tests in Watkins' Los Angeles office.

* HOT HOILES: When Hoiles threw out Luis Polonia in the third inning last night, it was the third straight runner he caught attempting to steal. The rookie catcher's defensive ability has been one of the few bright spots for the Orioles in the first month of the season.

* RARE START FOR HULETT: With Bill Ripken on a day-to-day basis because of a sprained ring finger on his throwing hand, Tim Hulett started at second last night.

It was Hulett's first start of the year in the field and he celebrated by hitting his second home run of the season. He also picked up an error on a wide throw trying to complete a double play.

* THIS 'N THAT: The Orioles' April 21 rainout with Texas has been rescheduled as part of a twi-night double-header Aug. 13, starting at 5:05 p.m.

The Orioles have not come from behind to win after the sixth inning yet this year (0-13). They have lost only once when leading after six innings (7-1).

Mike Devereaux had two more hits last night and eight in the four-game series to raise his batting average to .264 and his on-base percentage to .364.

Dwight Evans' pinch-hit single raised his average with men in scoring position to .417.

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