Extra effort not enough for Orioles Pitching comes through, bats don't in 2-1, 14-inning loss

April 21, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

Ben McDonald turned in his best performance of the young season. So did Todd Frohwirth. But the Orioles pitching staff could not wait forever for the offense to get into the game.

The Chicago White Sox finally scored a run off right-hander Alan Mills in the top of the 14th inning last night to outlast the Orioles, 2-1, before what was left of the p9,20l club's 65th consecutive sellout crowd at Camden Yards.

McDonald gave up one run over 8 2/3 innings. Frohwirth pitched 4 1/3 innings of hitless relief. Mills (0-1) came on in the 14th to walk leadoff batter Joey Cora and Chris Hoiles complicated the situation with a passed ball. Lance Johnson followed with a single to put runners at first and third before Frank Thomas brought home the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to center field.

"Ben and Froh both threw the ball very well," said a dejected Johnny Oates, who continues to search for a way out of his club's early-season slump. "Alan threw the ball pretty well, but it's tough to pitch when you get behind on the count. When you give up two runs over 14

See ORIOLES, 6D, Col. 4 ORIOLES, from 1D

innings, you should have a pretty good chance to win."

The game was scoreless for 10 innings after both clubs scored a run in the third. The Orioles, who have struggled with men on base all season, stranded 10 more base runners on the way to their eighth loss in 12 games.

"I'm very frustrated," Oates said. "You look back on the first 12 games and you can see plenty of opportunities where just one hit, a cheap one or any kind, or a ground ball here or there would have won for us. We're not getting it."

McDonald gave up eight hits before leaving the game to a standing ovation from the crowd of 45,891. He struck out five and walked one to prove that his early-season control problems were just an aberration. But he had to settle for a no-decision after dueling into the ninth with White Sox left-hander Wilson Alvarez.

Alvarez worked eight innings and gave up six hits before giving way to a very deep White Sox bullpen. Roberto Hernandez, Scott Radinsky and Donn Pall combined for six innings of one-hit relief to hold out the longest in the 4-hour, 24-minute marathon.

.` Frohwirth was right there with

them, but he went as far as was prudent, retiring the first 10 batters he faced and allowing just one walk. Perhaps he could have squeezed one more inning out of his tired arm, but it made more sense to go to someone fresh.

"They asked me how I felt," Frohwirth said. "I said I was feeling a little tired. I've gone further and failed. I don't think I was the best arm we had at that point."

McDonald was coming off a decent outing against the Texas Rangers last week, but you'd never know it by the 10.80 ERA he carried into last night's game. He still is doing penance for his horrible season-opening start against the Seattle Mariners, and the poor conditions at Arlington Stadium last Wednesday -- and the erratic outfield play that resulted -- made his pitching line look far worse than his actual performance.

"No doubt about it, this was my best so far," he said. "I thought I threw the ball well against Texas, but the results weren't there. I felt good tonight. I had everything going."

That was obvious from the start. McDonald retired the first six batters he faced before the White Sox broke through for a run in the top of the third. McDonald then worked through the explosive Chicago lineup two more times before turning the game over to Frohwirth.

Steve Sax beat out an infield single to open the third inning and scored when shortstop Ozzie Guillen's long fly ball sailed over a shallow outfield alignment for a triple. Guillen underwent extensive knee surgery a year ago Thursday, but he looked anything but gimpy as he streaked around the bases on the way to his first three-base hit since 1991.

The Orioles answered right back against Alvarez in the bottom of the inning, but continued to have bad luck on the basepaths. Harold Reynolds delivered a one-out single and scored when Brady Anderson pulled a sharp ground ball into the right-field corner.

Anderson was going for his first triple of 1993, but he didn't get there in time. He was cut down by a relay throw from Cora for the second out of the inning.

Cora made another big defensive play in the fourth, making a strong off-balance throw to get Hoiles at the plate and get Alvarez out of a bases-loaded jam.

It was not a major foul-up on the part of the Orioles, who have had a couple during the past few days, but it didn't do anything to improve the club's image on the bases.

The bases were loaded with two outs when White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice fired a pickoff throw to second base. He nearly caught Leo Gomez off the bag, but the ball trickled past Guillen and Hoiles broke for the plate. Cora scrambled to retrieve the ball and lofted it homeward, where it arrived just in time to end another Orioles scoring threat.

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