Nine-run second drives Texas to 13-6 win over O's Out-of-park Rangers score 24 in 2 games

August 24, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

The Texas Rangers finally went home last night, but not before they had wreaked havoc on the Orioles' pitching staff for the second straight game and salvaged a split of the four-game series at Camden Yards.

They followed up a double-digit offensive performance on Sunday with a nine-run explosion in the second inning last night and scored a 13-6 victory.

It was just another ugly reminder of the pitching crisis that has thrown the Orioles' division title drive into reverse. Starter Fernando Valenzuela lasted just 1 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs as the opposition scored in double figures for the fifth time in the past 13 games.

Detroit it wasn't, but it wasn't much better. The Orioles gave up 47 runs over a three-game stretch at Tiger Stadium two weeks ago to set a dubious club record. Compared to that, the 24 runs given up the past two days might not seem so bad, but the timing of the two losses could not have been worse.

The Orioles were trying to pick themselves off the mat after the disastrous eight-game losing streak that started with that debacle in Detroit, but a modest three-game winning streak gave way to the two-day barrage by another of the most potent offensive lineups in the American League.

Third baseman Dean Palmer delivered the crushing blow, a three-run homer that capped the nine-run rally, and shortstop Mario Diaz drove in four runs with a home run, two RBI singles and a sacrifice fly.

It was a bad evening all around for the Orioles. Right-hander Rick Sutcliffe was placed on the disabled list before the game and will undergo surgery today to trim torn cartilage from his left knee. Then left fielder Brady Anderson had to be scratched at the last minute with a stiff neck.

The club needed a big effort from Valenzuela, but it was not to come. The veteran left-hander had pitched well his last time out, but his luck ran low in a hurry last night. He gave up a first-inning home run to Diaz and then fell victim to a couple of strange plays in the nine-run second.

Not that Valenzuela was entirely blameless for the early-inning blowup. He walked Julio Franco to lead off the second and later made a throwing error that allowed a run to score. But the inning may have turned on a defensive lapse in the outfield.

Palmer followed Franco to the plate and lifted a shallow fly ball to center field that fell among three Orioles defenders. Center fielder Mike Devereaux immediately signaled that he had lost sight of the ball, but neither second baseman Harold Reynolds nor right fielder Mark McLemore could get to it in time.

It might not have seemed pivotal at the time, but it would turn out to be a very important play. Second baseman Doug Strange pushed a bunt to the right side that Valenzuela chased down and threw away for an error and a run, but Geno Petralli grounded into a double play that might have ended the inning.

Valenzuela would allow the next four batters to reach base before manager Johnny Oates brought on newcomer Kevin McGehee in relief.

"Any time you give a club five outs in an inning, it hurts your chances to win," Oates said. "After that, the inning unraveled and the next thing you know the game is history.

"This game is made up of four main parts -- hitting, pitching, base running and defense. When all four are in sync, you look really good, but when any one part is not working, you hurt your chances to win. We were just not able to overcome that one inning."

The line on Valenzuela was not pretty, but Diaz was the only Ranger who hit the ball with authority. He followed up his home run with a sharp run-scoring single in the second and added another RBI single in the third.

"I was overthrowing tonight," Valenzuela said. "I felt good, but sometimes you feel too good. I think I might have been a little overconfident. I just have to be patient and keep going and see what I have for the next start."

McGehee, who was acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the early-season trade for Luis Mercedes, was called up yesterday when the club put Sutcliffe on the disabled list, but he got a rude welcome from the Rangers in his major-league debut. He plunked American League home run leader Juan Gonzalez with a pitch, then gave up a two-run single to Franco and a three-run home run to Palmer.

Palmer has hammered the Orioles unmercifully all year. The home run was his sixth of the year at Camden Yards, a record for most homers hit against the Orioles in Baltimore in one season.

Lest anyone forget, he hit a pair of home runs in the season opener here April 5. He failed to homer in only one of the six games at Camden Yards this year.

The score was 10-0 before the Orioles came to the plate for the second time, but they didn't go down without a fight. Rangers left-hander Kenny Rogers gave up three runs in the bottom of the second and surrendered a two-run home run to Jack Voigt in the fourth as the Orioles fought to make it respectable.

McGehee collected himself after the rocky start and gave up just one run over the next three innings, but he will not have pleasant memories of his initiation into big-league baseball. The Rangers came after him again in the sixth and sent him packing, but he still got a warm ovation from the sellout crowd on his way back from the mound.

RUNNING IT UP

With last night's 13-6 loss, Orioles pitchers have given up eight or more runs seven times this month, with seven games to go:

Date .. .. Opp. .. .. .. .. Result

8/23 .. .. Texas .. .. .. L, 13-6

8/22 .. .. Texas .. .. .. L, 11-4

8/16 .. .. Seattle .. .. ..L, 8-6

.. .. Detroit .. .. ..L, 17-11

.. .. Detroit .. .. ..L, 15-5

.. .. Detroit .. .. ..L, 15-1

.. Milw. .. .. .. ..W, 13-8

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