Had Randy Milligan not been able to play last night, the saga of the Orioles' "Band-Aid" lineup would have taken a new twist.
Before the 3-2 loss to Toronto, coach Curt Motton was hitting fly balls to infielder Juan Bell -- in leftfield. That was one of two options available to manager John Oates.
The other was to play David Segui in leftfield and catcher Ernie Whitt at first base.
"Fortunately Randy's healthy now, so I don't have to worry about that," said Oates. Milligan sprained his left thumb while diving for a ball Thursday night and missed the next two games.
Compounding the situation was that Dwight Evans had a tender Achilles' tendon, and was used only as a pinch-hitter. Oates is hoping that today's off-day will be sufficient to allow Evans to return to the starting lineup tomorrow night against Kansas City.
* STOTTLEMYRE STIFLES O'S: Todd Stottlemyre is on the verge of moving into the category of pitchers who dominate the Orioles. The righthander is now 3-0 with a 1.37 earned run average in five lifetime starts against the Orioles.
One of those no-decisions, it should be noted, came on the final weekend of the 1989 season -- in the game the Blue Jays won 2-1 in 11 innings to clinch a tie for the division title. The only run Stottlemyre gave up that day came on his first pitch -- a home run by Phil Bradley. The only run he gave up last night came on a home run by Leo Gomez.
"From what I've seen of him, he's gotten better each year I've been here," said Oates. "He uses both sides of the plate and he made some good pitches with his slider."
Going into last night's game, Stottlemyre was 0-2 in his previous four starts.
* CLOSE, BUT ...: The Orioles are now 7-10 under Oates and seven of those losses have been by one run. The Orioles are 4-12 in games decided by the slimmest of margins, the worst record in one-run games in the majors.
* CAL BLANKED: Cal Ripken went 0-for-4 last night, dropping his average seven points to .352. He is still leading the American League in hitting.
* THIS 'N THAT: The Blue Jays increased their division lead to 1 1/2 games as Boston lost to Oakland yesterday.
Of the last 11 games between the Orioles and Blue Jays, nine have been decided by one or two runs.
Tom Henke got his eighth save in as many opportunities by getting Evans to pop up for the final out. Roberto Alomar extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
The Orioles were 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position before Milligan's ninth-inning single drove in the final run last night.
Mark Williamson pitched the final three innings -- his seventh straight scoreless appearance.
Jeff Ballard (3-7) went six-plus innings, giving up seven hits. He is 0-5 at Memorial Stadium this year.
Orioles attendance of 771,204 is the highest ever at this point in the season (26 dates). In case you hadn't noticed -- last night's game was the 54th for the Orioles, marking the one-third point in the season.
Kansas City, the only team the Orioles haven't faced this year, opens a three-game series at Memorial Stadium tomorrow night. The teams will meet nine times between now and July 18.