O'sleep at home: Tigers' 2-0 win clouds any dream

September 25, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

Left-hander Jamie Moyer looked like a guy who was pitching for a pennant last night, but he was all alone out there.

The Orioles need a miraculous run to put a scare into the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays, but they couldn't score a run off Detroit starter John Doherty in a 2-0 loss that pushed them closer to mathematical elimination in the American League East.

Moyer pitched a complete-game six-hitter to enhance his

Comeback Player of the Year credentials, but his teammates didn't lay a glove on Doherty. The result was the Orioles' seventh loss in the past 10 games and a seven-game divisional deficit that is their biggest since June 29.

"Jamie has pulled us out of some tough situations this year," manager Johnny Oates said, "and he tried again tonight."

He threw an outstanding game against one of the most explosive teams in baseball, for all the good it did him. Moyer (12-8) lost his second straight decision, even though he has given up two earned runs or fewer for the eighth straight time.

It doesn't look like the Orioles will be participating in postseason play, but Moyer may be in line for postseason comeback honors. He had a combined 2-11 major-league record in 1990 and '91 and did not pitch at the major-league level last year, but he has come back to be one of the most effective starters on a division-contending club.

"I think the most satisfying thing for myself is, I proved to myself that I can pitch in the big leagues, whether other people believe it or not. I know I can pitch at this level. I think that there were a lot of people who didn't believe that was the case."

The Orioles have become believers. Moyer has given up two earned runs or fewer in 16 of his 25 starts this year. He played a big role in the club's midseason surge. With a little run support, he could easily have 16 or 17 victories.

Instead, Doherty got all the support last night. Shortstop Travis Fryman drove home the first run with his 21st home run and brought home the second with a bloop double as the Tigers scored their first victory at Camden Yards.

The Tigers arrived in Baltimore with an 0-10 record here since the ballpark opened last year. They went 0-7 here 1992 and were swept in a three-game series on their first visit to Oriole Park this year. It was an amazing streak, considering the hitter-friendly dimensions of the ballpark and the power-packed lineup of the Tigers. Fryman made that clear with his towering home run to center field in the fourth inning.

Moyer was rolling along. He had walked a couple of batters in the first three innings, but he had not given up a hit until Fryman launched the ball toward the "Hit It Here" sign. Center fielder Mike Devereaux made a leaping attempt to keep the ball in play, but he came up empty and came down hard.

Devereaux stayed in the game for the remainder of the half-inning, but he didn't come out to hit in the bottom of the fourth. He apparently aggravated the heel he bruised in the three-game series in Cleveland earlier this week.

The Tigers' second run also scored after a near-miss in center field. Brady Anderson, who had moved to center after Devereaux was removed from the game, came up just short on a diving attempt to rob Dan Gladden of a leadoff double in the sixth. Gladden came around to score when Fryman dropped a looper into right that skipped past Mark McLemore for an RBI double.

The Orioles' offense remained quiet throughout the early innings, which should have come as no surprise to anyone who had seen their previous two run-ins with Doherty this season.

He had faced them twice at Tiger Stadium, where his team won five of seven games against the Orioles this year. He worked 7 2/3 innings against them on May 14 and gave up two runs, even though the Orioles had 15 runners while he was on the mound. He was far more effective in an Aug. 10 start, giving up one run on five hits in eighth innings.

This time, he gave up six hits through the first seven innings and only one of them was hit well. The Orioles, who had gone 24 innings without scoring at one stretch during the recent road trip, had only one runner in scoring position in the six innings before coming up empty on a bases-loaded situation in the seventh.

They needed two infield hits and a hit batsman to get the potential tying run into scoring position with two outs, but struggling first baseman David Segui struck out on a disputed check-swing to end the inning.

"He had a great sinker tonight," Oates said. "We only made two outs on balls to the outfield. He had an outstanding sinker, and Jamie had an outstanding changeup. You hold those guys to two runs, and you're doing something."

It was a lackluster offensive performance all around, but Oates insisted his club was not giving in to the seeming hopelessness of the division race.

"I know the mood in the dugout," he said. "They are not ready to quit. They were really pulling for each other, trying to get it going tonight."

AL EAST RACE

-!

Magic number in parentheses

Team ... ... ... W ... ... L ... ... Pct. ... ... GB

Toronto (3) ... 89 ... ... 64 .. ... .582 ... ... --

New York ... ... 83 .. ... 71 .. ... .539 ... ... 6 1/2

Orioles .. .. .. 82 .. ... 71 .. ... .536 ... ... 7

ORIOLES TONIGHT

Site: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Time: 7:05

Tigers starter: Bill Gullickson (12-9, 5.32)

Orioles starter: Arthur Rhodes (5-4, 5.88)

TV: HTS

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

Tickets: Scattered singles remain, not including 275 standing-room tickets that go on sale when the gates open.

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