Night that began with whisper ends with bang for 1st baseman

April 18, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

The night started poorly for Randy Milligan.

In the first inning, he swung at ball four from Scott Aldred, struck out and then watched helplessly as Cal Ripken, who was running on the play, was easily doubled up at second base.

But six innings later, Milligan was attracting those familiar "M-o-o-o-s-e" calls from an appreciative crowd of 45,188.

The Orioles first baseman became the first to (a) hit two home runs in a game at Oriole Park and (b) hit a grand slam at Camden Yards.

It was a milestone night for Milligan, who is back in the lineup on a regular basis because of the latest injury to Glenn Davis.

"The rain delay [50 minutes after the first inning] really helped me," he said. "I was upset about that first at-bat and that gave me time to come back into the clubhouse and calm down and gather my thoughts.

"I had swung at a bad pitch because I let the pitch before that [a questionable called strike] affect me. It affected my mind and that's not me."

After that, the at-bats got better and better. Milligan lined out to left on a solid shot in the fourth, then followed a triple by Cal Ripken with a two-run homer in the sixth.

Then, after Ripken was walked intentionally to load the bases in the seventh, Milligan lined a drive off the screen on the left-field foul pole and cleared them.

"A lot of times you know that ball is going to hook and go foul," said Milligan. "I wasn't worried about that, but I didn't think it was going to stay high enough to get out."

Milligan said he was talking with Mike Devereaux before that at-bat and knew that if "Slak [Joe Orsulak] didn't get them in, they were going to walk Cal and pitch to me.

"You never like a guy to be intentionally walked right in front of you. It sends a message. Sometimes, when you get up there, you just know."

After the first-inning strikeout, Milligan went to Oates and said, "I owe you one and I'm going to get it for you."

Oates said: "Moose had a chance to get us out front and didn't. He felt bad about it."

The six RBI matched the career high for Milligan, who homered twice in a game twice last year, the first time during Queen Elizabeth's visit to Memorial Stadium.

He had a three-homer game in 1990 at home against the New York Yankees.

Milligan avoided any reference about his status when Davis returns.

"Right now, we are hurting," he said. "When Glenn comes back, and he will soon, I'll be willing to make the change necessary. No matter when you're out there, you have to produce."

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