Rally makes Palmeiro's RBI crucial

Orioles notebook

July 26, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

At the time, Texas Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro's double to right-center in the sixth inning of yesterday's 10-8 win over the Orioles seemed like icing on the cake.

After all, he was driving in the first of seven runs in the sixth, on the way to giving the Rangers an 8-0 lead.

But when the Orioles came back to score eight runs in the last four innings, with the potential winning run on base in the ninth, Palmeiro's hit loomed a bit larger.

"It [the game] was fun, but it was more fun when we were up said Palmeiro, who drove in the first run of the game in the first on a grounder to short.

"Once you're down 8-0, you lose hope, but that team didn't lose hope. They battled."

Palmeiro battled as well, making a couple of clutch defensive plays, including a 3-6-3 double play in the seventh, the only inning of the last four in which the Orioles didn't score.

Palmeiro, who is batting .271, continued his mastery of Orioles starter Rick Sutcliffe. Lifetime, Palmeiro is hitting .500 with two home runs off Sutcliffe.

"It's just one of those weird things," said Palmeiro. "He's about the only guy I've been able to do anything with. It seems like I always get a good pitch to hit. It's a lucky thing."

"I'm trying to figure out how to get Palmeiro out," said Sutcliffe. "He's been a tough out for me all year. He just gave me one tough time today."

Hulett update

Infielder Tim Hulett was in the Orioles' clubhouse before yesterday's game for about an hour before returning to Springfield, Ill., for the funeral of his 6-year-old son, Sam, on Tuesday.

Hulett received condolences from his teammates and picked up a number of sympathy cards that have arrived at Oriole Park since Sam Hulett died Thursday from injuries suffered when he was struck by a car on Wednesday.

Orioles manager Johnny Oates remarked on Hulett's composure and his ability to draw on his faith during his time of grief.

"He's [Hulett] not dealing with it. He's letting someone else take care of it," Oates said.

The team placed Hulett on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Tuesday's game with the Chicago White Sox, to allow Hulett bereavement leave.

Welcome, Tommy

Under ordinary circumstances, a minor-leaguer's first visit to the major leagues is a time of great joy.

However, Tommy Shields' first trip to the majors is anything but happy because he is filling the roster spot left open by Hulett.

"I was talking to [Rochester manager] Jerry Narron last night and told him if I could never make it to the big leagues rather than seeing Timmy's son die, I'd do it in a heartbeat," said Shields, 27.

But Shields, who was batting .281 with seven home runs and 40 RBI when he was called up from Rochester, is here, and Oates said he plans to use the Fairfax, Va., native in much the same fashion that he uses Hulett.

"He'll be No. 2 at third base, No. 2 at short, No. 3 at second base. He can steal a base and pinch hit for you. He's got good hands," said Oates.

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