Gaston sees danger signals even in victory

July 28, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Along with a win, a loss, two blown saves and a major-league scare, Cito Gaston also saw a danger signal last night.

He's not complaining about the outcome, but the Blue Jays' manager wasn't enthralled with the circumstances surrounding the Blue Jays' come-from-ahead and come-from-behind, 6-5 win over the Orioles. "It was an exciting game, I guess more so for us because we won it," said Gaston, "but you'd have to say the two bullpens didn't pitch too good."

Indeed, all five of the relievers who appeared were damaged one way or another. Duane Ward blew a save and got the win, after presenting Gaston with the scare. Mark Williamson and Jim Poole each threw one pitch that was worth a run. Gregg Olson was saddled with his second straight blown save.

Ward, like Olson, entered the game in the eighth inning, a scenario Gaston admittedly doesn't like. "I don't like to pitch him [Ward] more than an inning," said Gaston. "But we haven't had a good setup man down there all year.

"With one out to go [in the eighth inning], I figured he could do it. But it looked like [Cal] Ripken was sitting all over that slider. That's why he's an All-Star. He can make things happen."

Back to Gaston and Ward. "I've been noticing [Kansas City manager] Hal McRae lately has been going to [Jeff] Montgomery more and more in the eighth inning," said Gaston. "I hope I'm not going to have to do that."

Would he like to obtain a setup man for his bullpen? "Sure, and I'd like to have another long man out there and an outfielder, too," said Gaston.

Does he expect to get same? "No, there aren't that many players out there, and there are a lot of teams looking."

Ripken's three-run homer had given the Orioles a 5-3 lead, but the advantage lasted many more minutes than pitches. Ultimately, Ed Sprague's two-out, bases-loaded double off Olson tied the game, and Pat Borders' infield single up the middle drove in the game-winner.

And if Ripken was sitting on the pitch he drilled for his 15th home run, Sprague equally had Olson's serve covered in the bottom half of the inning. "We just looked at the video and it looked like the same pitch he hit in the World Series [a home run off Jeff Reardon to win Game 2]," said Toronto coach Bob Bailor.

The pitch was a fastball, thigh-high on the inner half of the the plate. "It was the one bad pitch I made and Eddie turned on it," said Olson. "It was right down the middle."

The screaming double came right after Olson had frozen Tony Fernandez with two blistering fastballs to record the inning's second out with a strikeout, with the bases loaded. "The thing with Gregg is, if he gets ahead of you, he starts throwing that curveball out of the strike zone and you start chasing it," said Sprague, whose father is the Orioles' West Coast scout responsible for Mike Mussina and Jeffrey Hammonds, among others.

"He [Olson] overthrew the curveball a little bit on the first pitch," said Sprague.

"With the bases loaded, I figured he had to try and get the count even."

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