Eldred keeps Orioles guessing -- reporters, too

September 14, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

The reporters went in search of Cal Eldred, the Milwaukee Brewers' rookie sensation whose brilliant performance yesterday dispatched the Orioles to the intensive care wing of the American League East pennant race.

The search went on for about 10 minutes until the reporters realized that Eldred had been sitting right under their noses the entire time.

"I was wondering if you guys were going to get to me," said Eldred, with a sheepish grin.

The 44,242 Oriole Park spectators and the Orioles also wondered when the Baltimore batting attack would get to Eldred.

It never did, as Eldred won his eighth game, with one loss, shutting down the Orioles on four hits in a 3-1 win.

The run, collected on a Bill Ripken ground out that scored Tim Hulett, who tripled to lead off the eighth inning, ended a string of 23 innings in which Eldred had not allowed a run.

Considering that Eldred struck out each Oriole except Bill Ripken on his way to 12 strikeouts, the most by a Milwaukee pitcher in four years, the rookie was happy.

"Those guys [the Orioles] hit some balls hard today. You have to go with whatever is working. It was nice to get the complete game, but it was also nice to give the bullpen a rest," said Eldred, who won his seventh straight start and lowered his ERA to 1.26.

Eldred was being kind to Orioles hitters, who managed to hit eight balls out of the infield. Only Hulett, who had two hits, Chris Hoiles, Jeff Tackett and Brady Anderson reached base.

On the flip side, Hoiles and Chito Martinez each struck out twice, and Anderson struck out three times.

"We haven't been swinging the bats well lately, but, in all honesty, that kid looked as good as anybody we've faced in a long time." Orioles manager Johnny Oates said. "We didn't even have many good swings against him."

Hulett said: "He was throwing hard, and he was cutting the ball away from us a lot. That combination with a lot of movement on his fastball will be successful."

been like this all season," Milwaukee catcher Dave Nilsson said.

"He's thrown games like that, but not quite like today. He was on top of his game."

Eldred, 24, has certainly been successful since he was called up from the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate in Denver on July 15 to replace Ron Robinson, who went on the disabled list with an elbow problem.

Eldred was 10-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 19 starts at Denver, but said his statistics could have been better in another location where the altitude isn't as high and the pitches don't fly as far off batters' bats.

"You've got to be extra special to pitch in Denver. I'm not making excuses, but there, you give up your share of home runs," Eldred said.

Since he's joined the Brewers, Eldred has been extra special.

In addition to the seven-game win streak, Eldred has allowed three earned runs in his past 53 2/3 innings for an ERA of 0.50 during that span.

"He is aggressive, and he goes after the hitters," Milwaukemanager Phil Garner said. "Today, he used his fastball and just went after them. I like the way he was pitching today and the way he handled himself out there."

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