Moyer is the man of moment as O's beat Brewers, 4-2 Pitcher's 2nd win makes it 12 of 13

June 16, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- No one could have imagined four weeks ago that the knee injury that sidelined starter Arthur Rhodes would turn out to be a positive development for the Orioles, but nothing has been as it seems in this crazy, mixed-up season.

Rhodes remains a big part of the future of the club, but his replacement -- journeyman Jamie Moyer -- has given the Orioles a big boost in his past three starts.

Moyer gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings last night en route to a 4-2 victory that pushed the Milwaukee Brewers to the brink of a three-game sweep at County Stadium.

The beat goes on. The Orioles won for the fifth time in six games on this 10-game road trip and for the 12th time in their past 13. They remain the hottest team in the majors, but also have to wonder what it's going to take to gain serious ground on the first-place Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers won again yesterday, and the Orioles remained 7 1/2 games off the pace in the American League East. They have gained just 2 1/2 games on Detroit during the 12-1 run, but have made some headway against their other division rivals.

They couldn't have done it without Moyer, who has given up one earned run in each of his past three games, all Orioles victories. He saved the best for last night and was rewarded with his second straight victory when Brady Anderson and Mark McLemore hit back-to-back home runs off Brewers starter Ricky Bones to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning.

"I guess you could say that was the best if you look at the numbers," Moyer said, "but I had trouble with my location early in the game. I was giving them too many opportunities."

Moyer (2-3) left after giving up a leadoff single in the eighth, and there were some anxious moments after an error by Harold Reynolds threatened a three-run lead. Reliever Todd Frohwirth gave up an RBI single to bring the potential winning run to the plate, but Brad Pennington came on to retire the last five Brewers batters to record his third save.

Moyer arrived at County Stadium hoping that his luck had changed for good.

He gave up just a run on six hits in 5 2/3 innings at Fenway Park on Thursday to defeat the Boston Red Sox and record his first victory since 1990, but he had pitched well in all but one of his first five starts for the Orioles.

Who knows what Rhodes would have done during the same period, but Moyer has been involved in three of the 12 victories during the Orioles' dramatic turnaround.

"I'll never say that an injury is a positive thing," manager Johnny Oates said.

"That would be like admitting that we made the wrong decision out of spring training. A better way of saying it would be that Jamie has really picked us up. Take away one bad outing in Anaheim, and it looks better all the time."

He easily could have had several more victories with a little offensive support after giving up two runs in his Orioles debut and one run each in three of his next four starts, but nothing has come easy for Moyer.

His only offensive support in the early innings last night was a second-inning run that came from two Orioles infielders -- one past and one present.

Former Oriole Juan Bell committed an error to allow Mike Devereaux to reach base, and third baseman Tim Hulett delivered a two-out single to give the Orioles the lead.

Bell has done all he could to make the Orioles feel welcome in Milwaukee. He was doubled off base twice in Monday night's 8-5 Orioles victory before committing his first error as a member of the Brewers last night.

The Brewers got even in the third when Moyer walked Bell and Robin Yount back to back with two outs and gave up an RBI single to Greg Vaughn. That's the way things stayed until the Orioles tested the fence dimensions in right field in the sixth.

Anderson's home run didn't get out by much. He hit a line drive to right field that was almost caught by Brewers right fielder Tom Brunansky.

McLemore followed with a similar shot that landed on the top of the fence and bounced over to give the Orioles back-to-back home runs for the second time this season.

Chris Hoiles and David Segui turned the trick last week in a victory over the Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards.

"There is a lot of confidence in our ballclub right now that we can score some runs," Oates said. "Brady is swinging the bat well, and Mac [McLemore] hit the ball just far enough."

Anderson continues to emerge from a lengthy batting slump. He has homered in each of the past three games and is close to the pace that carried him to 21 home runs a year ago. He has driven in runs in five of the past seven games, but remains well off his 80-RBI pace of 1992.

McLemore isn't known as a power hitter, but he has been one of the Orioles' top run-producers this year. His second home run boosted him into a tie with Cal Ripken for the club RBI lead at 29. He is playing with confidence, and so is the rest of the team.

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