McDonald's empty feeling is going away Again misses win, but streak soothing

Orioles Notebook

June 13, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Right-hander Ben McDonald pitched well an came up empty again, but there was no feeling of frustration this time. It's hard not to feel like a winner when your team is in the midst of a 10-game winning streak.

"I feel good about this," said McDonald, who gave up just a run on six hits in seven innings in yesterday's 5-1 win over the Boston Red Sox, but was not involved in the decision. "I feel good about the way I'm pitching. I feel like I was a big part of this win."

True enough. McDonald dueled with Red Sox starter Paul Quantrill through the seventh before the Orioles won the battle of the bullpens with a four-run rally in the ninth. Left-hander Brad Pennington pitched the last two innings to get the victory.

McDonald has to endure the indignity of a 2-6 record, but he has thrown well the past month. In his past seven starts, he has a 2.64 ERA and has not given up more than three runs, but has not registered a victory over that period.

"I can live with that," McDonald said. "If I end up with four wins the whole season and pitch like that, I can live with it. Hopefully, we'll start scoring a lot of runs and I'll get a lot of wins, but I can't do anything about that."

He has turned his season around during the past month. In his first seven starts, he was 2-3 with a 5.64 ERA, but he has been a different pitcher the last seven.

"I added a forkball the last couple of starts, but that's not the difference," McDonald said. "I'm just making better pitches. I'm just throwing the ball well."

Ripken on Orioles' streak

Shortstop Cal Ripken does not date the club's turnaround to the first game of the winning streak. He goes back a week or so farther, to the four-game series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

"I think we went into New York and played very well against the Yankees," he said. "We didn't do well in California [Anaheim], but I felt overall that was a successful road trip. We seemed to be playing better and getting a couple of big hits. We went 5-5, but it was a pretty good trip."

The Orioles went on to get swept by the Angels in the middle of the trip, but came back to take two of three from the Oakland Athletics. The final game of the trip was the beginning of the winning streak and, perhaps, the turning point of the season.

"Once you start winning a few games," Ripken said, "the confidence comes back and you start thinking that you can win (( every game."

Sign of the times

How bad are things going for the Red Sox? A fan jumped out of the stands and ran onto the field in the ninth inning, but crumpled to the ground with an apparent knee or ankle injury just after he crossed the foul line.

L Said one sarcastic Boston writer: "Even our fans can't run."

Mariners' protest denied

Seattle's protest of the brawl-filled game June 6 at Camden Yards was denied by American League president Bobby Brown late Friday.

A seventh-inning brawl erupted and seven players were ejected and subsequently suspended in the game, which the Orioles won, 5-2.

The Mariners had protested the game saying that the Orioles' Mike Mussina, who threw the pitch that brought the Mariners' Bill Haselman to the mound, also should have been ejected.

Tired out?

Someone wondered aloud to manager Johnny Oates whether the Orioles might have run themselves ragged in the course of Friday night's 16-run performance.

"You don't get tired running the bases," he said. "You can play until midnight and score 16 runs and you're going to feel fresh the next day, but if you play until 9:30 and lose, you're going to feel completely different. The mind is a frightening thing."

Frohwirth bounces back

Reliever Todd Frohwirth appeared to be having some mechanical difficulties in a couple of outings last week, but he came back to pitch well in Friday night's rout.

"He threw the ball well," Oates said. "He had good pop and sinkage and he was aggressive in the strike zone. I think he got something out of it. We told him, 'Don't go out there and just throw. Get something out of it.' "

Error-prone Sox

The Red Sox committed four errors in the course of their embarrassing 16-4 loss on Friday night, but they obviously didn't learn their lesson. Second baseman Luis Rivera allowed a ground ball by Mike Devereaux to roll under his glove for an error in the second inning yesterday.

Hitting for Ripken

When Damon Buford delivered the Orioles' first pinch hit of the season on Friday night, he became only the third player to pinch hit for Cal Ripken during the course of Ripken's 1,795-game playing streak.

The last time it happened was April 14, 1991, when Tim Hulett hit for Ripken in game No. 1,416. The other time was on June 4, 1982, when Jim Dwyer hit for Ripken in the fourth game of the streak.

Valenzuela today

Left-hander Fernando Valenzuela will make his second career appearance against the Red Sox in today's series finale at Fenway Park.

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