Olson has to break sweat before breaking record Closer escapes trouble for 106th career save

May 31, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

OAKLAND — OAKLAND, Calif. -- It seemed only fitting that when Gregg Olson broke the Orioles' club record for saves, he did it the hard way.

"If I have to get one of these kind of saves to get records, I don't know if I want to do anymore," said Olson. Minutes before, he had retired Jose Canseco on a called third strike with a runner on first base to preserve a 7-6 win for the Orioles over the Oakland Athletics.

It was the 106th career save for Olson, who knocked Tippy Martinez (105) out of the top spot. The 25-year old right-hander got the record-breaker in his fourth season and 229th appearance. Martinez went to the mound 499 times in a career that spanned 10 years with the Orioles.

"It's an honor to have a pitching record for the Baltimore Orioles," said Olson. "When you look at the records and see who's pitched with this team -- I don't think it gets much better."

Olson was set up by his bullpen predecessors, Todd Frohwirth )) and Mike Flanagan, a little sooner than anticipated. Frohwirth lasted only one-third of an inning in relief of Jose Mesa (2-5), and Flanagan gave up a home run to the only batter (Randy Ready) he faced.

"Tippy's probably happy for Gregg -- but mad at us," said Flanagan.

Olson entered the game with none out in the eighth inning and walked the first batter he faced, Mark McGwire. The Orioles' fourth double play of the day, and seventh in the past two games, got him out of the eighth inning.

In the ninth, Olson needed a diving catch from Brady Anderson to keep leadoff hitter Lance Blankenship off the bases. After striking out Jerry Browne, former teammate Jamie Quirk got a pinch-hit single, bringing Canseco to the plate for a classic matchup.

"The first pitch was a fastball up and in for a ball," said Olson. "The second was a fastball that was up -- but out over the plate, and he just missed it."

After fouling off that pitch, Canseco then had to deal with Olson's curveball, and he ended up looking at one to end the game.

"He's a tough man to pitch to," Olson said of Canseco. "We've had some good battles -- sometimes he's gotten hits, sometimes I've gotten him out."

This time it was Olson's turn, and save No. 106 was in the record book -- though not without a few anxious moments.

Orioles saves leaders

Pitcher.. .. .. .. ..Saves

1. Gregg Olson.. .. .. 106

2. Tippy Martinez.. .. 105

3. Stu Miller.. .. .. ..92

4. Eddie Watt.. .. .. ..72

5. Tim Stoddard.. .. .. 57

6. Dick Hall .. .. .. ..51

7. Don Aase.. .. .. .. .50

8. Don Stanhouse.. .. ..45

9. Sammy Stewart.. .. ..45

10. Hoyt Wilhelm.. .. ..40

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