Orioles can't find clutch again, drop fifth in a row, 4-2 Loss increases deficit in AL East to 3 1/2 games

August 15, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The Yankees are hot and the Orioles are not, which is all you really need to know about the game here yesterday.

Earlier in the week it was starting pitching that betrayed thOrioles, but in the past two days the offense has been on a leave of absence, producing a total of three runs.

TC A two-run homer by Mike Devereaux provided a 2-0 lead in thfifth inning yesterday, but that was the extent of the Orioles' production. The Yankees got a two-run single from Don Mattingly in the fifth and run-scoring hits from Pat Kelly and Mike Gallego in the sixth for a 4-2 win that kept them in a first-place tie with the Toronto Blue Jays.

It also extended the Orioles' losing streak to five games, theilongest drought in almost two years. The defeat dropped the Orioles 3 1/2 games behind the American League East co-leaders.

Until yesterday the Orioles were the only team in the majoleagues that had not lost at least five straight at some point in the season. Now, beyond the halfway point of a 10-game road trip, they are struggling to stay in the race while waiting for their injured to heal.

But, though there might be signs of panic in Baltimore, manageJohnny Oates insisted that the Orioles are not pressing in their quest for a victory. "You're in the wrong business if you press in this game," he said. "If you press, you are out of luck."

And the Orioles' luck quotient was definitely running on empty ithe ninth inning yesterday, when they mounted a strong threat against Yankees closer Steve Farr. After a leadoff single by Harold Reynolds and a walk to pinch hitter Jack Voigt, the Orioles had two runners in scoring position following Brady Anderson's sacrifice bunt.

But Mark McLemore lined Farr's next pitch directly to Mattinglat first base and Devereaux ended the game with a line drive that Randy Velarde ran down in deep left field. The end result was nothing more than another squandered opportunity for the Orioles, who have stranded 21 of 24 runners in the last two games.

The turning point yesterday came in the bottom of the fifthimmediately after Devereaux followed McLemore's two-out bunt single with his 11th home run. Arthur Rhodes, coming off a strong, three-hit, eight-strikeout effort against Detroit last Monday night, could not gain control of the situation.

The often sensational, but mostly erratic left-hander walked thfirst two hitters after being presented with a two-run lead. "We get two [runs] and then we walk the first two batters and give them back," said Oates. "That's when you should have a one-two-three inning, get back in the dugout and build on the lead."

But there was to be no lead-building for the Orioles. And Rhodes lasted only two more hitters after allowing the walks to Kelly and Gallego.

Velarde's sacrifice bunt preceded Mattingly's single tright-center field, a looping line drive that broke his bat. "It was inside, well off the plate and he broke his bat," said Rhodes. "There's nothing you can do about that."

The walks, however, are another story. "You can't keep gettinbehind and walk four guys [Rhodes' total] like that," said pitching coach Dick Bosman.

L "I felt fine," said Rhodes. "I just wasn't hitting my spots."

After Mattingly's single, Rhodes hit the shower and was replaceby Mark Williamson (6-3). The right-hander averted further damage that inning, but gave up two runs after retiring the first two hitters in the sixth to take the loss.

Domingo Jean, making his second major-league start and getting a second straight no-decision, had as much trouble with his control as Rhodes, and lasted only two batters longer. The Orioles managed only four hits off the lanky right-hander, two of the infield variety.

But Jean also walked four and, like Rhodes, was constantlbehind in the count. It was a tossup as to which starter was more out of control -- Rhodes, who threw only 39 strikes in 80 pitches, or Jean, who found the strike zone just 42 times in 85 deliveries.

"He [Jean] got the job done," Oates said unenthusiastically. "Hthrew a slow breaking ball in fastball counts and we tried to whale on it, but kept topping it [into the ground]."

Of the 15 outs recorded by Jean, 10 came via ground balls. Bcontrast, Rhodes got only three outs, including Velarde's sacrifice, on grounders.

Jean departed after the fifth inning and the Yankees used fourelievers to finish the game.

Paul Assenmacher (1-0) got his first win for the Yankees, and Farr escaped with a scary save, his 23rd of the season.

ROLLER COASTER O'S

THe Orioles' five-game losing streak follows an eight-game winning streak and continues a season of ups and downs. Streaks of four or more games this season:

You win some . . . Dates .. .. .. Gms. .. .. .. Opp.

June 2-12 .. ..10 .. .. .. Oak, Sea, Bos

Aug. 2-9 .. .. 8 .. .. .. Mil, Cle, Det

June 20-26.. ..6 .. .. .. Cle, Det, NY

%

. . . you lose some Dates .. .. .. .. Gms. .. .. .. Opp.

Aug. 10-14* .. .. 5 .. .. .. Det, NY

May 11-15 .. .. ..4 .. .. .. Bos, Det

July 25-30.. .. ..4 .. Min, Tor, Bos

current

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