Clemens pitches with purpose Brushback of Devo is just 'hardball'

Orioles notes

June 14, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

BOSTON -- One week to the day after the Orioles engaged in a 20-minute free-for-all with the Seattle Mariners at Camden Yards, there was an exchange of inside pitches with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. But nothing came of it.

Left-hander Fernando Valenzuela hit Red Sox outfielder Bob Zupcic on the elbow with a pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning. Though there was little reason to think it was a purpose pitch, Red Sox ace Roger Clemens knocked Mike Devereaux down with a fastball up and in in the sixth.

"That's hardball," Clemens said after the game. "I'm working both sides of the plate. You can take that any way you want."

Home plate umpire Mike Reilly immediately went to the mound and talked to Clemens, then warned both managers that the next inside pitch would result in the ejection of the pitcher and his manager if there was any suspicion of intent. Red Sox manager Butch Hobson argued with Reilly briefly, but there were no further incidents.

The Orioles did not complain heavily.

"I kind of figured it was coming," Devereaux said. "It was definitely a purpose pitch, but if he had wanted to hit me, he would have hit me."

Manager Johnny Oates' heart probably skipped a beat when he saw one of his top run producers hitting the dirt. Devereaux has been a driving force in the Orioles' resurgence, and he already has spent nearly a month on the disabled list.

"I don't like to see a pitch thrown at anybody's head -- mine or anybody else's," he said. "That's dangerous."

Ben's repertoire

Right-hander Ben McDonald has made a significant change in his pitching repertoire during the past couple of weeks, exchanging his changeup for the forkball that he used successfully in college.

McDonald has largely abandoned the changeup, but he won't be making a drastic change in his fastball/curveball approach to pitching. Pitching coach Dick Bosman said the forkball will be used mostly in two-strike counts.

"He's not going to throw it much," Bosman said. "I don't want to muddy the waters with something new, but it's something to motivate him to get to strike two. On any given day, it can be pretty nasty."

McDonald has been the hard-luck pitcher of the Orioles staff during the past six weeks. He has not won since April 30, even though he has a 2.64 ERA in seven starts since.

Valenzuela milestone

When Valenzuela struck out Red Sox shortstop John Valentin to register his fifth K, it was the 1,800th

strikeout of his career.

Anderson's streaks

Brady Anderson's fifth-inning home run stretched a modest hitting streak to six games, and he ended a string of six straight games in which he had struck out at least once.

No sweep

The Orioles came up a game short in their attempt to sweep a four-game series at Fenway Park for the second time in club history. Their only four-game sweep here came Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 1980.

The club has not swept the Red Sox in a series of any length since then.

The team also was looking to sweep a third consecutive series for the first time since Aug. 1-10, 1980, when the Orioles won three games each from the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.

Oates and .500

Oates evened his career record as a manager at 174-174 with Saturday's victory, but his stay at .500 was short-lived.

He is trying to lead the Orioles to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the club won the World Series in 1983 and had a winning record in 1984.

Gomez still struggling

Third baseman Leo Gomez struck out three times yesterday to cap a forgettable series in Boston. He had one hit in 16 at-bats, and his range at third base also had a negative impact in the series finale.

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