Orioles weather Rangers' storm for wet 6-5 win Davis' 4 RBI help open early 6-1 lead

April 15, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was hardly the classic matchup he might have envisioned, but Ben McDonald realized a dream here last night.

Thanks to four RBI by Glenn Davis, McDonald earned his first victory of the season by defeating his boyhood idol, Nolan Ryan, as the Orioles held on to beat the Texas Rangers, 6-5.

The game was hardly an artistic affair, more closely resembling an aquatic adventure as both teams sloshed around on a drenched field that had been deluged by a heavy storm the night before. Steady rain, ranging from a gentle mist to a hard drizzle, combined with winds in excess of 20 mph to produce a hazardous playing surface.

Most of the 20,355 in attendance departed shortly after Ryan (1-1) made his exit at the start of the fifth inning. The legendary right-hander allowed eight hits in the four innings he worked, but half of the six runs he allowed were unearned and the other half were somewhat tainted because of the conditions.

"Any time you get to throw against him -- one of the best pitchers of all time -- it's a thrill," said McDonald (1-1). "But it didn't really come down to me against him. It came down to me against the Rangers' hitters and the elements.

"It was a tough day to play, but you'll take a win any way you can get it."

McDonald was much stronger through the first five innings than his final line would indicate. He allowed two hits and a tainted run through four innings and pitched out of a difficult situation in the fifth before being chased in the sixth, when the Rangers erupted for four runs.

"I thought I threw the ball well tonight," said McDonald. "The breaking ball wasn't there because it was so wet, but otherwise I was pleased."

Mark Williamson gave up one hit in 2 2/3 innings in relief of McDonald and Gregg Olson escaped a ninth-inning scare to record his second save. The win, only their second in eight games, enabled the Orioles to break a three-game losing streak.

Davis drove in the game's first two runs with a bases-loaded single in the first, then capped a four-run fourth inning with a two-run double that eluded Jose Canseco in right field. Brady Anderson and Mike Devereaux, who also scored twice, were the other Orioles with two hits.

Ryan labored from the start, needing 32 pitches to get through the first inning, when the elements first came into play. Anderson led off with a walk and went to second on an infield hit by Devereaux, a ground ball that third baseman Doug Strange fielded while falling down.

Cal Ripken struck out, but Harold Baines drew the second of three walks issued by Ryan, all coming in the first inning. Davis grounded a single for a 2-0 lead.

The conditions came into play again two innings later, this time to the benefit of the home team. Strange led off the bottom of the third with a lazy fly ball that dropped for a double when Anderson slipped and fell in the left-field swamp. Strange moved to third on Bill Ripken's infield grounder and scored on Benji Gil's single.

The 2-1 score remained intact until the fourth inning, when the Orioles appeared to take command of the game by scoring four times, with the high winds a factor this time. Hulett opened with a double into the right-field corner and Harold Reynolds was safe at first on a sacrifice bunt when Ryan's throw pulled Rafael Palmeiro off the bag. Anderson struck out, but Hulett scored on a wild pitch and Devereaux drove in Reynolds.

After Ripken flied to center, Baines extended the inning by rolling a single to right. That's when Davis lofted a high drive to right that spun Canseco around as it drifted to the base of the wall for a two-run double, making the score 6-1.

McDonald appeared in complete command when he pitched out of a difficult situation in the fifth. Ivan Rodriguez got a single when Devereaux had trouble with his footing and Strange

followed with a double over the center fielder's head, putting leaving runners on second and third with nobody out.

Without a spare infielder because Dean Palmer was sidelined by a bruised elbow (the result of being hit by a Fernando Valenzuela pitch the night before), Texas manager Kevin Kennedy was unable to pinch-hit for either Bill Ripken or Gil.

McDonald took advantage of that shortage by getting Ripken on come-back tapper, and striking out Gil before Hulse hit into a force play.

Singles by Palmeiro (breaking an 0-for-16 streak), Juan Gonzalez and Julio Franco accounted for the first of four runs the Rangers would score the next inning. Rodriguez followed with a line drive to right that was catchable -- until Martinez slipped.

The double made the score 6-4, with runners on second and third, and Strange ended McDonald's night with a single just over the head of Ripken at shortstop. Williamson entered at that juncture and struck out Bill Ripken before Gil lined a single to center, making it 6-5.

Three Texas relievers shut down the Orioles after Ryan's departure.

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