Yankees hit McDonald, but not in right spots Wins No. 2 despite being 'in a funk'

Orioles notes

April 26, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- At 6 feet 7, it's tough to look over Ben McDonald. But yesterday, in light of Brady Anderson's career day, it was easy to overlook the big right-hander.

McDonald wasn't as sharp as he can be, or has been, but he was effective enough to record his second victory in as many decisions despite giving up eight hits and two walks in six-plus innings.

"Once again, he had an exploding fastball at times," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said after the 9-2 victory over the Yankees. "He still didn't have the consistency with his off-speed stuff, and I don't care how hard you throw, you can't win as a starter with just one pitch."

McDonald said he felt he made progress since his last start (a four-run, three straight homer outing against the Detroit Tigers), but agrees he still has a way to go.

"Actually, my curve was a lot better than it was the last couple of times," he said.

"I'm still in a little bit of a funk," said McDonald. "I'm not there yet, but I feel better. I'm getting more command of all my pitches."

* Something else that was easy to overlook yesterday was what appeared to be a routine ground ball hit by Bill Ripken. Two things made this one different.

First, Tim Hulett, on second base, and David Segui, on first, were running on the pitch. And second, Anderson followed with a home run.

It can't be said that Ripken's ball would've been a double play, because he might not have even swung at the pitch. Neither is it certain that either Hulett or Segui would've been thrown out had Ripken swung and missed.

But both were possibilities, especially the latter.

"I like the hit-and-run," said Ripken, who drove in both runs under similar conditions in a 2-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night. "In that case, they've got to cover third base, and if I hit the ball a few feet farther to the left, that's a very nice single."

Instead, it was just a ground ball that wasn't turned into a double play because Yankees shortstop Randy Velarde saw Hulett running -- but didn't realize that Segui did not get a good jump. The play doesn't show up in the box score, but at the time it was significant.

* Here's a quick rundown on Anderson's assault on the American League leaders. The Orioles outfielder was in the top 10 in 10 categories after yesterday's game -- and his .318 average was close.

Anderson has 18 RBI (nine short of his career high -- for a year, not a month), 12 runs scored, 21 hits, 12 extra-base hits, 41 total bases, six doubles, four triples, five stolen bases, a .405 on-base percentage and a .621 slugging percentage.

Cecil Fielder must feel like he has a fly on his back.

* The Orioles' run production continues to be a source of statistical amazement. Including seven of the nine runs yesterday, 56 of the 81 runs the Orioles have scored (69 percent) have been produced by the first, eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup.

* Mike Mussina's 1.19 ERA is fifth best in the American League. Rick Sutcliffe is tied for the lead with two shutouts (with Seattle's Randy Johnson), three complete games (with Boston's Roger Clemens), and four starts (with 28 others).

Going into yesterday's game, opponents were hitting .164 against Ben McDonald, the fourth lowest figure in the AL.

Anderson's four triples were three more than anybody else in the AL at the start of play yesterday.

* The Yankees' bullpen had a string of 11 1/3 scoreless innings before the Orioles scored their last four runs in the eighth inning yesterday.

In four of the Yankees' eight home games, the temperature has been below 50 degrees, including yesterday, when it was 47 as the first pitch was thrown.

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