Arthur Rhodes was still on the erratic side last night, but the rookie lefthander turned in his best outing in four major-league starts.
In four-plus innings, Rhodes allowed five hits and three runs (onearned) and struck out four. He left with a 5-2 lead after Bernie Williams walked and Steve Sax singled to open the fifth.
"I told Al [pitching coach Al Jackson] that I was going to try tget him through the fifth inning and get a win," said manager John Oates. "But I wasn't going to risk a win.
didn't want the hole to get any deeper. I'm not worried about him getting a win -- he's going to get plenty of wins in the big leagues."
* TICKETS SCARCE TONIGHT: Because of their season ticket exchange policy, the Orioles have a rather severe ticket shortage for the series finale against the Yankees.
Tonight is the last of five exchange dates, which allow seasoticket holders to exchange unused tickets. As a result there are only 1,400 scattered single seats left for the Yankees' final game at Memorial Stadium.
Because of exchanges, and no-shows, the actual attendance tonight will be much higher than the official paid attendance.
* RIP'S 'DROUGHT' ENDS: When Cal Ripken clubbed his 27th home run of the season in the third inning last night, it was the All-Star shortstop's first in 20 games. The 19-game dry spell is the longest of the year for Ripken, who is within one of his career-high for home runs in a season.
He last connected against Milwaukee's Bill Wegman Aug. 18.
It was also Rip's first home run at Memorial Stadium in exactly month -- since he hit one off Chicago's Ramon Garcia Aug. 10.
* DOUBLING UP: The Orioles hit three doubles last night (20 in their last nine games), increasing their season total to 230. They are on a pace to hit 270 for the season, just 13 fewer than the club record set in 1983.
* THIS 'N THAT: Brady Anderson is 8-for-18 (.444) with four walks in six games since returning from Rochester . . . Leo Gomez, who leads American League rookies with 13 home runs, got last night off, with Tim Hulett playing third base. Glenn Davis also got the night off after playing 19 straight games since returning from the disabled list.