ST.PETERSBURG, FLA. — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It took 17 games for an Orioles starting pitcher to get banged around -- and when it finally happened, yesterday to Rick Sutcliffe in the fourth inning, the inclement conditions might have had something to do with it.
"I don't want to make excuses, because the footing was bad for their pitchers, too," Sutcliffe said after the Orioles lost, 5-0, to the Texas Rangers in a game shortened to 5 1/2 innings by steady rain.
"I felt lucky just to get my work in," said Sutcliffe, a veteraright-hander. "I'm not happy with the outing I had -- but I'm not going to let one bad inning ruin all the good things that have happened.
"My arm felt good. Everything physical was fine. Everything wafine until the fourth inning [when the Rangers scored all of their runs]. I'm going to be scored on, I just tried too hard to keep one run from scoring and I ended up with a big inning.
"My philosophy has always been to do whatever you have to dto stay away from big innings," Sutcliffe said. "I just had a brain cramp today.
"I was in too much of a hurry to get it over with, instead omaking sure I made the right pitch. I could've gone back out [for a fifth inning] but Johnny [Oates, the manager] wanted to give the outfielders a breather because I was wearing them out [running down base hits].
"It was a bad game, the only bad game we've had all spring,said Sutcliffe. "But one inning isn't going to change all the positive things that have happened so far.
"The only thing that got hurt today was the ERA got a littlswollen. But we'll ice it down and it'll be OK."
Before yesterday, Sutcliffe had allowed only one run in nininnings.