OAKLAND -- Dave Stewart, the iron man of the Oakland A's pitching staff, pulled a rib cage muscle yesterday and will likely be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The righthander suffered the injury while striking out Sam Horn in the second inning and was forced to leave after throwing one pitch to Dwight Evans. "It felt just like I'd been stabbed," said Stewart, who is off to his slowest start with the A's, a 2-2 record and a 5.58 earned run average.
In a little less than five years with the A's, Stewart has never missed a start, answering the bell 166 straight times.
But the preliminary report is that he'll miss at least two starts, and most likely be sidelined for two weeks. The end of the streak is not insignificant to Stewart.
"It's what I stand for -- consistency," he said before leaving the park yesterday. "It [the streak] means a great deal to me."
* DAMAGED ERA GOODS: Mike Flanagan didn't exactly prosper yesterday, but the lefthander's earned run average wasn't bruised as much as that of Mark Williamson.
Williamson faced four hitters after replacing Flanagan in the fifth inning. The righthander went into the game with a sparkling 1.88 ERA. When he left his ERA had pumped up faster than a balloon, rising to 4.40.
Flanagan, whose previous long outing this year was 3 1/2 innings, was charged with five earned runs in four innings. His ERA jumped from 1.50 to 3.27. The loss yesterday was only the second for Flanagan in 13 career decisions at the Oakland Coliseum.
* WHO'S NEXT? First it was Harold Baines who feasted against the Orioles, then came Mark McGwire.
Going into the two-game series, Baines had one home run and 14 runs batted in. He hit three homers and drove in seven runs in Tuesday night's 11-3 win.
McGwire, off to the slowest start of his career, had one home run and seven RBIs before yesterday's game. When the Orioles left he had tripled his home run output and almost doubled his RBI total.
Two three-run homers by McGwire put the A's on easy street in yesterday's 9-3 win.
* EARLY EXIT FOR HOILES: Chris Hoiles left the game yesterday with a bruised right shoulder and will have precautionary X-rays taken today. He was injured when a wild pitch from Williamson bounced in front of the plate and deflected off the top of his shoulder.
Hoiles tried to talk his way into staying in the game, but manager Frank Robinson pulled him anyhow. "I figured it was 7-0 and they wouldn't be running anywhere," said Hoiles, "and at least I could stay in and hit."
* THIS 'N THAT: Cal Ripken had a five-game hit streak and two-game homer streak stopped yesterday, when he was excused after the sixth inning.
Will the last runner home please turn out the lights: The last four games at the Oakland Coliseum have produced 73 runs.