Randy Milligan has given the Orioles just what they needed -- somebody to ride Cal Ripken's coattails.
fTC And "The Moose" is doing a lot more than just going along for the ride. In his last seven games he has 17 hits and has driven in at least one run in each game.
Milligan has raised his average 49 points (to .279) in a little more than a week. He is hitting .359 since June 5, which is actually 12 points higher than Ripken has hit during the same period.
"I've been working on a lot of different stances, a lot of different things, just trying to relax," said Milligan, who had three hits and drove in two runs in yesterday's 6-4 win over the Red Sox. "I don't really want to talk about what I'm doing because I try not to think about it."
Between the two of them, Ripken and Milligan have driven in 19 runs in the last seven games. Ripken, who leads the American League with a .355 average, hit his 17th home run yesterday, a two-run shot that gave the Orioles a temporary 3-2 lead, and Milligan promptly followed with his ninth of the year.
That was in the fifth inning. Two innings earlier, Ripken had been given an intentional walk (one of two he received yesterday) and Milligan followed with a single that drove in the game's first run.
Milligan has been the beneficiary of a few of the intentional walks (eight) issued to Ripken. "I never think it's disrespectful," he said. "If I'm the manager and the best hitter in the league is up in that situation, I'm going to walk him, too. It never irks me when I've got an opportunity to drive in a run," said Milligan.
* ROBBY STYMIED AGAIN: Jeff Robinson turned in another strong effort yesterday, but all he had to show for it was a second straight no-decision. The righthander left with a 4-2 lead with two outs in the sixth after Jack Clark grounded a single to leftfield.
It was almost identical to the situation lefthander Kevin Hickey faced the day before in relief of Roy Smith, but the results weren't the same. Mike Greenwell homered off the lefthander to tie the game and Mark Williamson pitched the next two innings to get credit for the win, with Gregg Olson recording his 15th save.
The Orioles got the winning runs when rightfielder Carlos Quintana, switched from first base to make room for Mo Vaughn, dropped Ripken's fly ball with two runners on and two outs in the sixth.
* D.J. TO HAGERSTOWN: Dave Johnson will make his first rehabilitation start in Hagerstown tomorrow night, when the Suns meet the Williamsport Mets.
Johnson, who has been on the disabled list since May 19, will make at least two minor-league starts and probably won't be reactivated until after the All-Star break.
* WORTHINGTON OPTIONED: As expected, Craig Worthington has been reactivated after his 20-day rehabilitation assignment in Rochester and optioned to the Red Wings.
Although Leo Gomez is hitless in his last 14 at-bats and only 2-for-24 in his last eight games, his overall performance has, at least temporarily, put the clamps on the Orioles' third base job. Ultimately the situation will be resolved with a trade, but for now the Orioles will wait for the market value to rise.
* TURNSTILES CLICKING: Yesterday's crowd of 47,274 brought the attendance count for the weekend series to 139,634. That's the third highest three-game count in club history.
The Orioles went over the million mark Saturday on the 34th date, matching last year for the earliest that figure has ever been reached. For the season, the attendance count is 1,085,432, an average of 31,012 for 35 dates.
* THIS 'N THAT: When Hickey gave up a two-run homer to Greenwell in the sixth inning it was the first time this year the lefthander allowed an inherited runner to score. He had stranded the previous 13.
Mike Devereaux went hitless (0-for-12) in the Red Sox series. The centerfielder is only 2-for-21 in his last five games, but has reached base via a hit or walk in 13 of the last 15 games.
David Segui made two good catches in leftfield yesterday, and suffered a slightly sprained ankle after bouncing off the wall on a drive by Wade Boggs in the sixth. Both players left the game the next inning -- Boggs leaving with a sore back.
Dwight Evans, who is making slow progress from an Achilles' tendon injury, was scheduled to have further tests last night or today. Lefthander Brian DuBois, who is on the 60-day disabled list, is working out with the Orioles on this homestand.
The Orioles have won seven of their last nine and 10 of 15 while the Red Sox have lost six of seven and nine of 13. Boston is only the second visiting team (Cleveland is the other) to lose a series at Memorial Stadium this season.
The Orioles' revamped pitching rotation for the series against the Tigers: Ben McDonald tonight, Jeff Ballard tomorrow night and Bob Milacki Wednesday.