MILWAUKEE -- Bill Wegman, Don August and Jaime Navarro have a lot in common, aside from their relative anonymity outside of Wisconsin:
* They're all starting pitchers for the Milwaukee Brewers.
* They are not likely to be making any speeches at Cooperstown after they retire.
* They would be fitted for bronze plaques already if they pitched against the Baltimore Orioles every time out.
Wegman was the latest to dispose of the Orioles, out-dueling Bob Milacki yesterday on the way to a 2-1 victory that gave the Brewers a sweep of the three-game series at County Stadium.
August defeated the Orioles on Friday night to improve his career record against them to 5-0. Navarro beat them on Saturday night to improve his lifetime mark to 6-0. Wegman's victory improved their combined record against Baltimore to 18-1. Without the Orioles, the three would have a combined career record of 86-100.
Wegman gave up a run on eight hits over eight innings to run his record against Baltimore to 7-1, despite a 4.73 career ERA. It defies baseball logic, but so do the Orioles.
Shortstop Cal Ripken provided all of the Orioles' offensive production with his 26th home run of the year in the third inning, a shot that gave Milacki a fragile lead. The Brewers tied the game in the sixth and won it on a one-out RBI double by Bill Spiers in the eighth, taking the season series, 10-3.
"They've played about as well against us as we've played against Texas this year," Orioles manager John Oates said.
What a relief. The Orioles face the Texas Rangers next, and there won't be a Wegman or a Navarro for a thousand miles. Tonight, they face Nolan Ryan, who has a 7-16 lifetime record against them. Should be an easy night.
Milacki gave up five hits in 7 1/3 innings yesterday, but that was only good enough to drop his record to 7-7. He was cruising right along until he handed a leadoff walk to Franklin Stubbs in the eighth inning. Jim Gantner followed with a sacrifice bunt, and Spiers lined a double up the alley in left to break the 1-1 tie.
"I thought Bobby threw the ball real well," Oates said. "He made some good pitches with his sinker when he had to and got ground balls at people when he had to. The only thing you'd like to take back was the leadoff walk in the eighth.
"But I had some options as a manager in that inning. I could have put Spiers on, but I didn't want to pitch to the guy with 2,000 career hits [Paul Molitor]. I'd rather pitch to Spiers, but the best-laid plans of mice and men . . ."
Things have gotten so bad that Oates has been reduced to quoting literature.
Milacki took full discredit for the eighth inning, though his overall performance was good enough to reduce his ERA to 4.16, easily the lowest of the seven Orioles pitchers who have started at least five games this year.
"The leadoff walk killed me," he said. "It doesn't seem to matter how many outs there are, when I walk people they always seem to score.
"I'd like to have that whole inning back, starting out with the walk to Stubbs. The guy moved him over with a sacrifice and I threw a sinker to Spiers that stayed up. He's a high-ball hitter and he hit it to center. You just can't make a mistake late in the game. It seems like that's always happening to us."
Wegman didn't look particularly sharp at the outset. The Orioles had
runners on base in each of the first four innings but left the bases loaded in the second and stranded two in the fourth.
Ripken lined a ball into the left-field bleachers in the third to break the scoreless tie and move into a tie for fourth place in the American League home-run rankings. Bill Ripken was in the starting lineup for the first time in more than a month and contributed a pair of singles, but Wegman settled down to give up two hits over his final four innings before turning the game over to reliever Doug Henry for the ninth.
Henry gave up a pinch single to Dwight Evans on the way to his fourth save.