Johnson makes best of a bad situation Orioles notebook

August 01, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

SEATTLE -- It wasn't exactly an ideal situation for Dave Johnson. He was making his first start since April 29 against his least favorite team, the Seattle Mariners, in his least favorite park, the Kingdome.

Johnson went into last night's game with a career 9.67 earnerun average against the Mariners, and came out of it unscathed. He didn't get credit for the Orioles' 4-2 win in 11 innings, but he had a lot to do with it.

"Davey deserves a lot more credit than he's going to get for thiwin," said manager John Oates. "He didn't have as much command of his fastball as he has in the past, but he made some good pitches against a hot team with a lot of good lefthanded hitters."

Johnson allowed seven hits and both Seattle runs in 6 1/3 inningand had to be satisfied. "This is just a place where I've never felt comfortable," he said of the Kingdome. "Even tonight I had trouble with my fastball, which is usually the pitch I can count on. But I was able to make a lot of good pitches with my breaking ball."

* FALSE (TRADE) ALARM: Just about the time the Orioles started their game with the Mariners, there was a rumor they had traded infielder Juan Bell to the Phillies for lefthanded pitcher Bruce Ruffin.

Adding to the speculation was the fact that assistant generamanager Frank Robinson was in Philadelphia last night. Nothing materialized and Bell, who has played very well in the last week as Bill Ripken's replacement at second base, got two hits last night.

* MOOSE BREAKS NOOSE: When the Orioles tied the game in the ninth inning last night it broke a streak of 19 1/3 scoreless innings against the Mariners' bullpen.

It figured that Randy Milligan would drive in the run. The Oriolefirst baseman, who hit in bad luck throughout the series, now has a .545 career average (12-for-22) against Mariners relievers.

Milligan's game-tying triple was his fourth hit in six at-batagainst Mike Jackson. He is 3-for-8 off Bill Swift, 3-for-5 off Rob Murphy and 2-for-3 off Mike Schooler. Despite his recent hit shortage, Milligan has driven in 15 runs in his last 13 games.

* RIP'S SLIP: For the first time this season, Cal Ripken concluded a month of play without raising his average from the previous month.

The All-Star shortstop opened by hitting .338 in April, .353 in Maand .367 in June. Ripken was hitting .348 at the All-Star break, but finished the month of July with a .245 average after going 0-for-5 last night.

For the season, Ripken is hitting .325, with 22 home runs and 6runs batted in. He is also on a pace to handle 790 chances at shortstop, which would be his highest total since 1984 (880). He has made six errors in 100 games this year, and only 10 in his last 314 games.

* THIS 'N THAT: Jeff Ballard is scheduled to make his first start for Rochester Saturday night in Toledo. Ballard, Jeff Robinson and Paul Kilgus are expected to report to the Red Wings tomorrow.

With Shane Turner no longer available, Oates has designateutility infielder Tim Hulett as his third catcher in the event of an emergency. In a similar vein, catcher Chris Hoiles would be utilized as an extra infielder (he's played some at third

base) if he was available. If he wasn't, Oates indicated he'd use the lefthanded David Segui at third base in an emergency.

Of the six home runs hit by Hoiles this year, five have either tiethe score or put the Orioles ahead. He's the Orioles' leading hitter (.346, 18-for-52) since the All-Star break.

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