Tigers add insult to Orioles injuries in 11-5 victory

May 21, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

DETROIT -- The Baltimore Orioles spent their first night in the Motor City on a disassembly line.

Dwight Evans went down with a groin injury, Craig Worthington left with a strained hamstring and the club continued to fall apart as the Detroit Tigers hammered out an 11-5 victory last night at Tiger Stadium.

Evans and Worthington joined a growing list of Orioles who could be headed to the disabled list during the next few days. Bill Ripken (slightly strained hamstring) and Brady Anderson (sore left knee) also emerged from last night's game hurting, which prompted manager Frank Robinson to announce that at least one player would be placed on the disabled list today.

It probably will be Worthington, whose injury was described as the worst of the Orioles' walking wounded. Leo Gomez figures to re-join the club today. Robinson tried to get just-optioned Jeff McKnight back in case another move is necessary, but he already had boarded a flight for Baltimore.

"We have to get some healthy bodies up here," Robinson said. "I wouldn't say there are going to be any mass moves, but one of these guys will go on the disabled list."

The team is on the critical list already. The Orioles dropped 11 games below .500 (12-23) and nine games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox with their third straight loss, despite a 14-hit performance that, at one point, almost pulled them back from a six-run deficit.

But the Tigers, who had scored five times off starter Bob Milacki in the first inning, scored five more off reliever Mark Williamson to break the game open again in the fifth.

Pete Incaviglia hit a grand slam in the first inning and former Orioles catcher Mickey Tettleton added insult to the string of injuries with two hits and two RBI, as the Tigers continued to pull out of a lengthy slump. Everyone in the Detroit lineup except No. 9 hitter Milt Cuyler either scored a run or drove one home.

How bad was it? Left-hander Jeff Ballard had to pitch the final 3 2/3 innings after starting Sunday's game.

"It's the most puzzling thing I've been through as a manager," Robinson said. "Whatever can happen bad is happening. I don't know where it's going to end."

Milacki probably could have thought of less painful ways to spend last night, like maybe bobbing for french fries.

In his return to the starting rotation, he walked four of the first five batters he faced and gave up a grand slam to left fielder Pete Incaviglia. Milacki got one more out and gave out one more walk before Robinson turned the game over to left-hander Kevin Hickey.

"It wasn't the right time to have an outing like that," Milacki said, "especially with the bullpen as tired as it is right now. We needed me to get us into the sixth inning, and we end up bringing in the starting pitcher from yesterday's game."

It was the third time in the past five games that an Orioles starter put the team at a significant disadvantage in the first two innings. Right-hander Jose Mesa gave up five runs on one hit and five walks in a 1 1/3 -inning performance against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night. Jeff Ballard gave up four runs (three of them unearned) in the first inning of Sunday's 10-2 loss to the California Angels.

Milacki was making his first big-league start since Sept. 30. He opened the season with the Class AA Hagerstown Suns and made his first five major-league appearances out of the bullpen, going 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA.

Robinson moved him back into the starting rotation, no doubt hoping to take advantage of his solid career numbers against the Tigers (5-2, 2.47 ERA). But instead, the Orioles spent the evening trying to recover from the first inning.

"I just couldn't find the strike zone," Milacki said. "I was aroun the plate, but I was up or down. I thought some of the pitches were questionable, but you're not going to get any close calls when you're behind on the count all the time."

The Orioles showed surprising resilience, considering how hopeless the situation seemed. Tigers right-hander Walt Terrell gave up one hit through the first two innings, but the Orioles

scored twice in the third and knocked him out of the game in a three-run fourth.

Orioles tonight


Site: Tiger Stadium, Detroit

Time: 7:35

Orioles starter: Jose Mesa (4-4, 3.67)

Tigers starter: John Cerutti (0-1, 3.33)

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTOP (1500 AM)

TV: Channels 2, 20

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