KANSAS CUTY, MO. — KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Manager Johnny Oates was saying just the other day that catcher Chris Hoiles would remain the club's No. 8 hitter even if he remains the league's No. 1 hitter. But the collision that took Randy Milligan and Bill Ripken out of action has forced him to juggle the lineup.
Hoiles, who was still atop the league hitting ranks when he woke up yesterday, batted fifth last night in the Orioles' revamped batting order.
"I said that Chris would remain in the eighth spot unless there was a need to move him," Oates said yesterday. "Obviously, there is a need."
Milligan will be out of action for at least the next few days, leaving the club short another run-producer. The Orioles were getting by without the services of Glenn Davis. Hoiles entered last night's game with a .386 batting average and nine RBI, but went 0-for-4 to drop to .354, fourth in the AL.
"I looked down [at the roster] and said, 'Where can I get a guy to drive runs in?' " Oates said. "I picked the hottest guy. I made up my mind I wasn't going to move him until a need arose. I was going to play him in the eighth spot all year even if he hit .390."
Oates said that he intends to move Hoiles back down in the order when Milligan returns.
The move yesterday could not have been considered a surprise, but it caught Hoiles off guard.
"I went up and looked at the eighth spot and said, 'Darn, I'm not even playing tonight,' " he said. "I just automatically looked there, because that's where I've been all year."
Sutcliffe's complete game Wednesday night was the fifth of the year for the Orioles, a club that didn't get its fourth complete game of 1991 until the 115th game of the season.