O's go distance to KO Mariners Connect before fight for 2 HRs in 5-2 win

June 07, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

On the day that the Orioles won their season-high fourth straight game, the feat was virtually ignored, overshadowed by perhaps the biggest baseball brawl in the club's 40-year history.

The seventh-inning rumble that interrupted the 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners for 20 minutes resulted in the ejection of seven players plus Mariners manager Lou Piniella. It also gave the Orioles their biggest scare of the season when starting pitcher Mike Mussina was buried under a pile of players on the mound after hitting Bill Haselman on the shoulder with a high, inside fastball.

Haselman, who had homered in his previous at-bat, ran to the mound and wrestled Mussina to the ground. He said he had been hit intentionally, and the Mariners backed up that claim by charging that Mussina was under orders to do so because the Orioles felt Seattle starter Chris Bosio was throwing at them.

"He was hitting his spots all day, and then he comes up near my head," said Haselman. "I don't go out there if he doesn't do it on purpose."

Mussina denied any intent, and Orioles manager Johnny Oates wouldn't address the subject.

"Anybody who was watching the game at all knows that I was struggling to get the ball where I wanted," said Mussina. "I didn't have very good control late in the game. I was going deep into the count a lot.

"Probably because he hit a homer the previous time up, he thought I was throwing at him. I was trying to pitch him in. I thought we could get him out by going inside."

Piniella was ejected when he protested that Mussina also should have been thrown out of the game.

"It's unfortunate these things happen," said Piniella, "but I can't blame my player for going to the mound. Mussina told one of our players he was instructed to hit him."

Mussina denied that charge, and Oates initially tried to divert attention away from the altercation to the Orioles' fourth straight win. "Mike threw the ball well. He kept us in the game," he said.

"Clutch hitting will do it for you every time," said Oates, referring to two-run homers by Mike Devereaux and Harold Baines. "We finally are getting some big hits."

But the fight was impossible to overlook.

"It happens. It's nothing to brag about," said Oates. "It's not something you look forward to, but it's part of the game."

When he was asked later if Mussina was told to throw at Haselman, Oates skirted the question.

"What difference does it make?" he asked. "Does it make any difference if Bosio was throwing at [Mark] McLemore and [Harold] Reynolds? Does it make any difference? I said I'm not going to talk about that."

As certain as the Mariners were that Mussina had thrown at Haselman, the Orioles were just as positive that Bosio had used McLemore and Reynolds as target practice. Bosio threw breaking pitches behind McLemore and Reynolds, the leadoff hitters in the fifth and sixth innings. The first errant pitch came the inning after Devereaux had hit his third homer of the year and second in two nights, the next after Baines hit his first in an Orioles uniform.

Bosio was one of the players dismissed from the game, and also apparently suffered the only significant injury of the melee. The right-hander, who spent a month on the disabled list with a broken left collarbone, might have to go back on the disabled list with the same injury.

After Haselman charged the mound, both benches and bullpen areas emptied immediately. But instead of the short, small confrontation that usually follows such incidents, this one quickly escalated into a full-scale brawl. There were fights at four separate locations, blanketing the first- and third-base lines, home and the mound.

When order was restored, the umpiring crew of Durwood Merrill, John Hirschbeck, Gary Cedarstrom and Tim Welke looked like hockey officials trying to determine the major culprits.

Haselman, Bosio and left fielder Mackey Sasser, all of whom were in the game, and reliever Norm Charlton were the Mariners ejected. None of the three Orioles who were dismissed -- Alan Mills, Rick Sutcliffe and David Segui -- was in the game. Piniella then became the eighth to be ejected when he vehemently disputed Mussina's continued participation.

"All he [Mussina] did was take the blow," said Merrill, the plate umpire and acting crew chief. "He was not the aggressor. None of us thought he should be ejected."

Merrill also said he felt the pitches by Bosio that went behind McLemore and Reynolds were directly related to his other difficulties. "He just wasn't throwing very well," said Merrill, adding that there was no warning of the brawl.

Piniella hardly could be faulted for wanting Mussina (8-2) thrown out. The right-hander was in the midst of striking out four straight batters when he hit Haselman.

Yesterday's win was the 30th of Mussina's career, against only 12 losses, the best winning percentage (.714) at this stage of a career in Orioles history. He is the early favorite to be the American League's starting pitcher in the All-Star Game to be played at Camden Yards July 13.

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