OAKLAND, Calif. -- For the second start in a row, Roy Smith was a pitcher without a support group here yesterday.
The righthander deserved more than a pat on the back and a "nice game" after pitching 8 2/3 innings and giving up only one run against the Oakland A's. Smith's only consolation, and it was a small one, was that he didn't get charged with the loss, as he did in a 3-2 defeat last weekend in New York.
"He was excellent," said Orioles manager John Oates. "He had a good game plan -- a definite idea of what he wanted to do and he went out and did it."
It wasn't enough, however, as the Orioles could do no better than match the A's on the scoreboard until the 11th inning, when they eventually lost 3-2.
"They're struggling a little bit right now," Smith said of the A's, "but I've pitched some good games against them before."
It's doubtful, though, if any were better than this one. The lone run Smith gave up scored on a sacrifice fly by Harold Baines
following a pop fly single by Jose Canseco.
* NO-HITTER REVIEW: There were several ironies involved in the Orioles' combined no-hitter over the A's in Saturday's 2-0 win. The last Orioles' no-hitter also came against the A's, Aug. 13, 1969, and the man who pitched it, Jim Palmer, was working the telecast of this one, along with Brooks Robinson, who was the third baseman in the most recent no-no.
Overall it was the fifth no-hitter and the second combined no-hitter in club history. Steve Barber and Stu Miller combined against Detroit April 30, 1967, but the Tigers won 2-1.
There have been only six combined no-hitters in history, and the A's have been involved in half of them. They lost two and won the only other one that involved four pitchers (Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers), Sept. 28, 1975.
The no-hitter was the first ever seen at the major-league level by Oates, and the first ever called as a professional by home plate umpire Chuck Meriwether. It was also the first career win for Bob Milacki against the A's.
Incredibly, Saturday's no-hitter was the seventh pitched against the A's since they moved to Oakland in 1968. Five of the seven have come during the month of July.
* ONE HOT CHITO: Chito Martinez, whose streak ended when he struck out as a pinch-hitter yesterday, is the first player in Orioles' history to hit safely in his first six games. He had been tied with Glenn Gulliver, who hit in his first five games in 1982.
Oates was among those who hit safely in their first four games with the Orioles. He did it in 1970.
* MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE LAB: Almost lost in the post no-hitter fuss was the condition of Milacki, who had to leave the game after being hit on the hand by a sharp grounder in the sixth inning.
X-rays taken after the game Saturday proved negative and Milacki (5-3) is expected to be ready to take his regular turn, which comes up Thursday night in Kansas City.
* THIS 'N THAT: Almost as rare as a no-hitter: Dennis Eckersley, who had issued only one base on balls all year and just three last season, gave up back-to-back walks in Saturday's game.
Department of statistical oddities: A's first baseman Mark McGwire has a .196 batting average and 64 walks.
Cal Ripken went hitless for the second straight game yesterday and was only 3-for-17 in the four-game series against the A's.
Canseco's two-run single in the 11th yesterday denied Chris Hoiles his third straight game-winning hit. He homered to put the Orioles ahead for good Friday night, singled in the game's first run Saturday and got a base hit to drive in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th yesterday.