Orioles throw off Tigers, 6-2 Moore's error Sutcliffe 6-hitter spark victory

June 24, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Detroit right-hander Mike Moore threw 122 pitches at Camden Yards last night and none of them caused as much damage as one seemingly routine throw he couldn't make.

It was in the third inning that Moore, in trouble because of a sudden lapse of control, made a wild toss that cost him three runs and enabled the Orioles to beat the Tigers, 6-2.

Moore's errant toss did as much damage as home runs by Chris Hoiles and Cal Ripken combined, presenting the Orioles with three unearned runs. Coupled with the bases-empty shot by Hoiles in the fourth inning and a two-run blast by Ripken in the eighth, it was more than enough for veteran right-hander Rick Sutcliffe to record his sixth straight win.

Pitching for the first time in eight days because of a suspension for his part in a brawl against the Seattle Mariners June 6, Sutcliffe adroitly spaced six hits while going nine innings for the first time this year. It was the first complete game against the Tigers since left-hander John Smiley blanked them, 1-0, for the Minnesota Twins last Aug. 26.

A pair of walks and a long single by Mark McLemore set up the game's most significant play. Ripken hit an easy comebacker to Moore,who was looking at a double play as easy as 1-2-3. But he missed connections with catcher Mickey Tettleton by a huge margin and the Orioles were handed a lead they never gave up.

The win was the second straight for the Orioles over the Tigers and enabled them to move within six games of the division leaders. It was also their 16th win in the past 19 games, and gave them a record of 16-4 for the month of June, the best mark in the American League.

Sutcliffe entered the game having allowed an average of 14.8 base runners per nine innings -- tied with Minnesota's Kevin Tapani for the highest ratio among American League starting pitchers. Nothing happened in the early innings to improve that ranking as the Tigers put two men on base in three of the first five innings.

However, Sutcliffe managed to escape with only minimal damage. A walk to Tony Phillips and a one-out, ground-rule double by Travis Fryman set the Tigers up for business in the first inning.

But the bottom line for the Tigers was a solitary run, produced on Cecil Fielder's grounder to first baseman David Segui.

In the third inning, Sutcliffe survived despite back-to-back walks to Lou Whitaker and Fryman with two outs. He did so thanks to astute defensive deployment by second baseman Reynolds, who was almost floored by Fielder's line drive.

Rob Deer's double-play grounder negated a single by Tettleton in the fourth and Fryman left runners on first and third by striking out an inning later.

Meanwhile, the Orioles were doing less damage to Moore than the right-hander was doing to himself. He walked Jack Voigt and Reynolds to start the third inning, before McLemore's blast to center field created a logjam on the basepaths.

It appeared Dan Gladden would run down the drive by McLemore, so Voigt correctly retreated to second base to be in position to advance on the play. But when the ball deflected off Gladden's glove and fell to the ground, the runners were able to advance only one base and McLemore was restricted to a single, loading the bases.

From that point it took two double-play balls and a ground out for Moore to get out of the inning. By the time it was over, the Orioles had three runs without an RBI and a gift-wrapped 3-1 lead.

Ripken hit a custom-made DP bouncer to Moore, but his throw to the plate was hardly in the same ZIP code as home plate. It soared high and inside, bouncing off the backstop. Voigt and Reynolds both scored on the play, the latter diving under a tag from the late-arriving Moore.

McLemore went to third on the play and scored when Fryman started a double play on a grounder by Baines. Mike Devereaux then ended the inning on another grounder to Fryman.

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