Reserves answer call for O's in 7-5 win Tackett, Obando, Voigt lead rally past Brewers

August 03, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

On a night when they needed all the help they could find, the Orioles got it from unexpected sources.

Jeff Tackett's first RBI in more than two months turned out to be the game-winner as the Orioles came from behind to beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-5, last night. That, however, was hardly the whole story.

Sherman Obando, making a rare start in place of Harold Baines as the designated hitter, and Jack Voigt, filling in for Brady Anderson, both played vital roles in the victory.

Each hit his second home run of the year -- and later added a key hit to set up important runs.

It was hardly a picture-perfect game by either side -- the Brewers contributed a pair of errors that led to three unearned runs -- but one the Orioles almost desperately needed to win. And nobody appreciated the efforts of Tackett, Obando and Voigt more than manager Johnny Oates.

"If you look back, you'll find that these guys have done a job ever since they've been here," said Oates. "It's amazing that they can sit on the bench as long as they have and still hit the ball."

Tackett's last RBI came on May 20, but the backup catcher refused to blame inactivity. "I don't want to sit there and use it as an excuse," he said. "This was great -- it helped the team and it gets me going."

And that could be important to the Orioles' immediate future. Tackett was in last night's game only because Chris Hoiles left after the sixth inning because of a pulled muscle in his lower right back.

The status of Hoiles was uncertain after last night's game. "We'll know more tomorrow," said Oates.

It was Tackett's single that capped a three-run seventh inning that began with Voigt's home run. An error by John Jaha on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Harold Reynolds turned out to be the key play that kept the inning alive for the Orioles.

Mark Williamson (6-2), who pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Fernando Valenzuela, picked up the victory. Gregg Olson pitched the ninth inning for his 27th save.

Left-handed reliever Graeme Lloyd (3-3), who entered the game in the seventh, was the unlucky loser. Angel Miranda worked six innings plus two batters for the Brewers and gave up the home runs to Obando and Voigt.

For a good part of the evening it looked like the Orioles would drop to six games behind the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays, who were 4-0 winners over the New York Yankees. Valenzuela struggled at the outset, as has been his custom, and Milwaukee third baseman B. J. Surhoff put on a one-man batting clinic.

Surhoff accounted for eight bases with two doubles and a home run and drove in four runs while the Brewers were building leads of 4-2 and 5-3 through the middle innings.

Valenzuela needed 19 minutes and 30 pitches to get through the first inning, but allowed only one run, on doubles by Pat Listach and Surhoff. He kept the Brewers in check from that point until the fifth, when Surhoff struck again.

After singles by Jaha and Juan Bell put runners on first and third with nobody out, Valenzuela got Listach to foul out and Yount to hit an infield fly. He was one pitch away from a clean escape when Surhoff homered into the right-center-field bleachers to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead.

"The difference with Fernando tonight was his location," said Oates.

"He wasn't as sharp tonight. He tried to come inside on Surhoff and the ball came back across the plate."

Tim Hulett, who had taken a potential run-scoring double away fromGreg Vaughn in the third inning, made the key defensive play when the Brewers threatened to take charge in the sixth. With Dave Nilsson on third following a triple that drove in Milwaukee's fifth run, Jaha hit a sharp grounder to the left of Hulett.

Nilsson had to stay at third when Hulett fielded the ball on a half-hop and threw to first for the second out. Williamson, who entered the game after Nilsson's triple, then got Bell on a fly to right to end the threat.

Obando, who had homered in the fifth, followed Voigt's bases-empty shot to center in the seventh with a single to right.

The Orioles got their first break of the inning when Jaha made a wide throw to second on Reynolds' attempted sacrifice bunt.

Umpire Durwood Merrill drew a protest from Brewers manager Phil Garner when he called pinch runner Brady Anderson safe, ruling that Listach had to come off the base to take Jaha's throw. Then, after Mark McLemore lined to Listach for the first out, the Orioles got their second break of the inning.

Mike Devereaux hit a slow roller to the first-base side which was fielded by Lloyd. First-base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled Devereaux safe at first, saying Lloyd missed the tag, prompting another argument with Garner.

The video replay showed that Lloyd had tagged Devereaux -- but with his glove, while the ball remained in his throwing hand. A sacrifice fly by Cal Ripken, who had driven in a run with a single in the third inning, tied the game and Tackett followed with a clean single through the middle.

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