For Orioles, a win-swept series Baines 3-run HR first helps stop Tigers

June 25, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,STATS 1993Staff Writer

When the Detroit Tigers arrived in Baltimore three days ago, manager Sparky Anderson was standing on the threshold of a significant milestone. He needed one more win to match Walter Alston for fifth place on baseball's all-time list.

The odds were overwhelming that, before he left, Anderson would at least match his managerial idol. Instead, Anderson left in the early hours this morning the same way he arrived -- still searching for win No. 2,040.

The Orioles completed the improbable last night, scoring early and late and thwarting threats in between, as they completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers with a 6-2 victory. The victory was their 17th in the past 20 games and moved the Orioles within five games of the division leaders.

For the Tigers, the three successive losses matched their longest losing streak of the year as they were swept for the first time. A three-run homer by Harold Baines provided the impetus for Ben McDonald (4-6) to win two straight games for the first time this year.

Brad Pennington, the third of three Orioles relievers, pitched the last three innings to earn his fourth save of the year.

Mark Leiter (6-4), who needed 71 pitches to get through two innings, was the loser.

The Orioles started as though they would make a sweep of the three-game series routine. But Baines' at-bat in the first inning was an indication that it wouldn't be as easy as the early score indicated.

Leiter threw 43 pitches before he was able to record three outs -- and he used up 10 of them in an unsuccessful duel with the veteran designated hitter. Baines fouled off four 3-and-2 pitches as Leiter tried to work the outside part of home plate.

Finally, Leiter got a pitch that caught too much of the plate and Baines stayed with his opposite-field swing, sending the ball on a high arc down the left-field line. It was the second time in the inning that Leiter got a clue it wasn't going to be his night.

After Mark McLemore walked with one out in the opening inning, the Tigers guessed right and called for a pitchout as he broke for second on a hit-and-run play. Leiter failed to get the pitch far enough out of the strike zone and Cal Ripken was able to ground a single to right field, despite having his bat tipped by catcher Chad Kreuter.

McLemore went to third on the play, setting up the inning's major confrontation, which Leiter lost to Baines.

The number of pitches in the first inning undoubtedly left Leiter in a weakened condition and he barely escaped another outburst by the Orioles in the second. Singles by Jack Voigt and Harold Reynolds put runners on first and third with one out and McLemore followed with a long drive that was run down by center fielder Milt Cuyler.

The sacrifice fly enabled Voigt to score and Reynolds to move to second. After Ripken struck out, Baines was walked intentionally, the runners advanced on a wild pitch and Mike Devereaux drew a walk to load the bases. Chris Hoiles flied to left for the third out, but Anderson had seen enough, bringing reliever Tom Bolton in to replace Leiter in the third.

The left-hander kept things under control the rest of the way, while the Tigers tried to chip away at McDonald and his bullpen buddies. Fielder's home run made it 4-1 in the fourth, but McDonald made some good pitches in the next two innings to escape threatening situations.

From the fourth through the seventh innings, the Tigers left enoughrunners on base to start an expansion franchise. They stranded two in the fourth and sixth and left the bases loaded in both the fifth and seventh as the Orioles used a parade of relievers to protect their lead.

Jim Poole got pinch hitter Alan Trammell on a fly ball and Mark Williamson induced a grounder from Tony Phillips to end the sixth. But that was only a preliminary drill for Pennington's main event in the seventh.

After Williamson had given up a run on a walk and two singles, Pennington struck out pinch hitter Dan Gladden, then walked Mickey Tettleton to load the bases. Kreuter was a three-pitch strikeout victim before Pennington settled in to duel Trammell, also a pinch hitter.

On a one-and-one pitch, Trammell missed a double down the left-field line by about a foot, then hit a high drive to deep right-center field. Leaving the bat, it looked like a bases-clearing extra-base hit that would give the Tigers the lead.

But the ball hung up long enough for McLemore to run it down on the warning track in front of the bleachers. Moments later, McLemore removed any lingering drama with a two-run double as the Orioles put the game away.

* Orioles-Tigers scoring Orioles first: Reynolds struck out. McLemore walked. Ripken singled to right, McLemore to third. Baines homered to left on 3-2 count, McLemore, Ripken and Baines scored. Devereaux struck out. Hoiles singled to left. Segui walked, Hoiles to second. Gomez struck out. 3 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Orioles 3, Tigers 0.

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