OAKLAND, Calif. -- It was the morning after his most notable pitching performance, and the Baltimore Orioles' Bob Milacki still was hurting both inside and out.
His right index finger remained sore and swollen from the Willie Wilson comebacker that cost him a chance to go the distance in Saturday's four-man no-hitter against the Oakland Athletics. His ego still was bruised after coming out of the game early, though he blamed no one but himself.
He should have been basking in the glory of it all, but he couldn't help but feel like he got shortchanged.
"I felt more disappointed, more ashamed that I didn't go out and just try," said Milacki, who closed out the sixth inning after the injury occurred, then gave way to left-hander Mike Flanagan.
Manager John Oates made the decision on the advice of trainer Richie Bancells. Milacki is angry at himself for not fighting for the chance to finish.
"I think he probably would have let me go out if I had pushed it," Milacki said, "but it was a 2-0 game, so if I walk a guy, they can get right back in the game with one swing."
Milacki said he knows that an injured pitcher would have had a tougher time completing the no-hitter than three fresh relievers, but he also knows that the opportunity to pitch a nine-inning no-hitter doesn't come along every day.
"You want to see if you can do it," he said. "Hopefully, I'll get that chance again."
The closest he had come to throwing a no-hitter was in a game during the 1987 season with the Class AA Charlotte Orioles. He )) didn't allow a hit in the first 11 innings, then gave one up in the 12th and gave way to a relief pitcher.
This time, he had to give in to an injury, which didn't sit well overnight. Precautionary X-rays proved negative, but he strained the ligaments around the knuckle of his right index finger and might miss his next start.
"It depends on how I feel tomorrow when I throw on the side," Milacki said. "The ball feels a little more comfortable in my hand today. When you're a pitcher, if the ball doesn't feel comfortable, you don't know where it's going to go."
More pitching facts
* The shutout Saturday was the sixth of the year for the Orioles, who had only five in 1990.
* Only one of the six was a complete game -- Jose Mesa's 7-0 victory over the California Angels on May 6.
* When the A's scored in the fourth inning yesterday, they had gone 15 innings without getting a runner past first base.
* Left-hander Mike Flanagan has not allowed an earned run in his past eight appearances (15 2/3 innings).
Twilight zone dept.
Talk about coincidences. Not only was Saturday's no-hitter broadcast by Jim Palmer, who had pitched the most recent Orioles no-hitter, but it also was broadcast by A's announcer Ray Fosse, who caught four innings of the only other four-man no-hitter in major-league history, the Athletics' 5-0 victory over the Angels on Sept. 28, 1975.
Gregg Olson's next save will make him the first Orioles pitcher to have have 20 or more for 3 straight seasons under the latest interpretation of the save rule. Stu Miller had 20 or more 3 years in a row (1963-65) under the old rules.
When the Orioles pitched the no-hitter Saturday, it was their first in 22 years. Only 4 teams had gone longer withour one. Here is a list ot the longest no-hit dtoughts in the major leagues:
Team .. .. Droutht .. .. Last no-hitter
Mets .. .. 29 years .. .. None
Red Sox .. 26 years .. .. Dave Morehead
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . Sept. 16, 1965
Twins .. . 24 years .. .. Dean Chance
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . Aug. 25, 1967
Padres .. . 22 years .. . None