Orioles again left empty-handed by left-hander, 5-4

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

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Orioles' ineffectiveness against left-handed starters continued last night in a 5-4 loss to the Texas Rangers.

The Orioles managed only three hits -- including home runs by Cal Ripken and Jack Voigt -- in 7 2/3 innings against Kenny Rogers (13-7). He was the third left-hander to baffle the Orioles in the past four games.

As was the case against the California Angels' Chuck Finley and Mark Langston, the Orioles seemed mesmerized by Rogers. After collecting only three hits (and two runs) in 50 at-bats against Finley and Langston, they were 3-for-25 against Rogers last night, leaving them with a three-game total of 6-for-75 (.080) against the trio.

"I don't know how you can explain it," said manager Johnny Oates. "The thing is those three really didn't pitch alike. But we've got some guys in the lineup who aren't hitting anybody right now."

A two-out, bases-loaded double by Julio Franco in the sixth inning and a critical error by reliever John O'Donoghue in the seventh eached produced two runs for the Rangers, who overcame a 3-1 deficit and beat the Orioles for the seventh time in 10 meetings.

Ripken's second home run of the game, off Tom Henke in the ninth, wasn't enough, and the Orioles' frustrations mounted, as they missed a chance to gain on the first-place Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, both of whom lost.

Frohwirth (6-7), the second of three relievers to follow starter Arthur Rhodes, was the losing pitcher. Henke retired three straight hitters after Ripken's 22nd homer to earn his 31st save.

The starting pitchers were facing the same opponent for the second time in less than a week, and both fared better this time around. Rhodes was rocked for three home runs among the eight hits he allowed in six innings while absorbing the loss in the Rangers' 11-4 win last Sunday.

The next night, Rogers was credited with a win in a less-than-pretty 13-6 victory. He allowed only two earned runs in eight innings, but one came via a bases-loaded walk after the Rangers had taken a 10-0 lead in the second inning.

Gary Redus was the central figure in the game's first two runs, one for each side. In the top of the first, after Rogers had walked two, Redus couldn't hold Ripken's fly ball to shallow right that went for a single to load the bases with one out.

Chris Hoiles followed with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center. But the Orioles' 1-0 lead lasted only two batters in the bottom of the inning, when Rhodes was fortunate to allow just one run.

Redus opened with a triple to right-center and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ivan Rodriguez. After Rafael Palmeiro singled to left, Rhodes went to a 3-0 count on Juan Gonzalez before getting the Rangers' slugger to ground weakly to second baseman Harold Reynolds, who started a double play.

Rhodes permitted only one other runner in the next four innings and the Orioles used the long ball to take a 3-1 lead. Rogers had retired eight straight batters when Ripken led off the fourth with his first home run to left-center.

An inning later, Voigt duplicated the feat, lofting his fourth homer to left for a 3-1 lead. But in the sixth inning, Rhodes' control left, and so did the Orioles' two-run advantage.

Manuel Lee and Redus drew the only two walks given up by Rhodes. After Rodriguez fouled out attempting to sacrifice, Palmeiro lined a single off the glove of David Segui at first base to load the bases.

"He was still throwing the ball well," Oates said of Rhodes. "He had plenty of stuff left -- but you can't walk the No. 9 and No. 1 hitters in the lineup to start the inning."

Frohwirth relieved Rhodes and got Gonzalez to hit a grounder that resulted in a force out at home. However, Franco drilled a double inside the third-base line to tie the score.

The Rangers took the lead in the seventh with two unearned runs. Doug Strange opened with a single through the middle and on a 3-2 pitch, pinch- hitter David Hulse slapped a grounder to the left side. Third baseman Tim Hulett made a diving stop in front of Ripken at shortstop, but couldn't make the throw in time and Hulse had an infield hit.

Lee sacrificed the runners into scoring position and Redus was intentionally walked to load the bases. Frohwirth got a force at the plate on a bouncer by Rodriguez, but the ball was not hit hard enough to turn a double-play, setting up the game's most crucial at-bat.

O'Donoghue replaced Frohwirth and induced Palmeiro to hit a grounder to the right side. Segui prevented the ball from going through the infield, but was unable to make a clean stop. He

deflected to Reynolds, whose throw was in plenty of time to get Palmeiro.

K? However, O'Donoghue was unable to complete the play as Reyn

olds' throw hit off the end of his glove and the ball trickled into the Rangers' dugout as two runs scored.

"I got a ground ball, which was what I was trying to do," said O'Donoghue. "But I just blew the play. The throw was a little to my right and the ball cut [moved away] a little, but I should have had it. I should have caught the ball."

The play was the latest example of what has been ailing the Orioles. "We're doing things we can't afford to do," said Oates. "All we have to do is catch the ball and we're out of the inning."

ORIOLES TONIGHT

Site: Arlington (Texas) Stadium

Time: 8:35

Orioles starter: Fernando Valenzuela (6-8, 4.61)

Rangers starter: Roger Pavlik (8-6, 4.01)

TV: Channels 2, 20

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTOP (1500 AM)

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