Brewers batter Sutcliffe on way to 12-4 victory

September 19, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- Phase 1 of the experiment was a dud.

Rick Sutcliffe most likely will get another chance to pitch with only three days' rest, but if his first attempt is any indication, the practice is not likely to be continued for the rest of the season.

The pitcher and manager Johnny Oates said the altered schedule had nothing to do with Sutcliffe's ineffectiveness last night, but neither could deny the results.

The Orioles' 36-year-old right-hander was paired against Milwaukee rookie sensation Cal Eldred, 24, and experience was no match for youth. Sutcliffe (16-13) was hit hard and Eldred (9-1) was effective as the Brewers moved within a half-game of second place by hammering the Orioles, 12-4.

It was Eldred's second win over the Orioles in six days. Although not nearly as effective as he was in a 12-strikeout, 3-1 victory five days earlier, Eldred had more than enough to hold off the Orioles until the Brewers took command.

In tying a club record with his eighth straight win, Eldred gave up nine hits in six innings before Milwaukee manager Phil Garner used four relievers to complete the thrashing. The length of Eldred's stay in the record book could depend on the outcome of this afternoon's game.

Chris Bosio (14-15) is the pitcher with whom Eldred is tied -- and he'll put his eight-game winning streak on the line against the Orioles and Ben McDonald (12-11).

The division title hopes of both teams are riding on this series, and a win today would enable the Brewers to drop the Orioles into third place. With their win over the Texas Rangers last night, the Toronto Blue Jays now have a 4 1/2 -game lead over the Orioles and a five-game advantage over the Brewers.

Last night, the Brewers took the suspense out of the game early. Greg Vaughn hit a three-run homer and Kevin Seitzer drove in four runs to lead the Brewers' 17-hit attack, with Sutcliffe bearing the brunt of the onslaught. He gave up up eight hits and seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. He lost for only the second time in his past 10 starts, both having been administered in his past three outings.

For the Orioles, Joe Orsulak drove in two runs with a bases-empty homer and a double and Cal Ripken added a two-run home run. All of those runs, however, came long after the Brewers had removed any doubt about the outcome of the first game of this four-game series.

"This was a big game in the standings," said Sutcliffe, referring to the Orioles' tenuous position between the Blue Jays and the Brewers. He put aside any thoughts that pitching on three days' rest, rather than the standard four, had anything to do with the outcome.

"I'd rather face a team with a lot of power rather than a team with a lot of good hitters," said Sutcliffe. "I think everybody in baseball knows the key to this club [the Brewers] is the running game.

"The running game depends on the leadoff guy getting on -- and that was my biggest problem," said Sutcliffe, who gave up leadoff singles in each of his three innings. "I don't think any of us [pitchers] is as effective out of the stretch as we are out of

the windup. I think I was trying to be a little too quick to the plate."

Whatever the reason, Sutcliffe was obviously ineffective, but it won't hinder his next start, at home against Toronto on Tuesday night. "He should be ready to go," said Oates, "because he threw only 67 pitches.

"Bos [pitching coach Dick Bosman] said Rick came out of the bullpen with some of the best stuff he's had in a long time," said Oates. "He just got some pitches in the wrong places early."

And early was when it was happening last night. The Orioles mounted a threat against Eldred a lot faster than they did last Sunday, when it took them eight innings to score one run. But they didn't capitalize on the opportunity -- and the Brewers swiftly took charge.

Brady Anderson led off the game with a single and went to third on a hit-and-run single by Mike Devereaux. But Eldred induced Glenn Davis to tap into a double play to end the inning.

The next time the Orioles got their offense in gear, they were behind by the equivalent of a touchdown.

The first six batters left no doubt this would be a long night for Sutcliffe, as they sprayed lined drives to all fields. Pat Listach and Darryl Hamilton opened with solid singles, putting runners on first and third.

After Hamilton stole second base, Paul Molitor lined to Tim Hulett at third base for the first out, but Robin Yount dumped a single into right field to drive in the first run. Vaughn followed with a towering 412-foot home run (his 21st) to center field and it was 4-0. B. J. Surhoff added a single before Seitzer, who get his revenge later, hit into a double play to end the inning.

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