Rangers spoil O's rally with one of own, win, 7-5

April 09, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

Orioles reliever Mark Eichhorn predicted he would have a difficult time sleeping after last night's loss, but it wasn't first-base umpire Joe Brinkman's disputed call he expected would keep him awake.

Manuel Lee's two-out, two-run single in the ninth that gave the Texas Rangers a 7-5 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards was the source of Eichhorn's frustration.

The Orioles strung four two-out hits in the eighth to score three runs and send the game into the ninth tied before Lee won it.

"The reason this is going to make it hard to sleep is because of the way the guys fought back to tie it up," Eichhorn said. "That's what makes it hard to swallow, but that's baseball and they beat me. I'll be back tomorrow."

So will Brinkman, whose call in the ninth stunned the sellout crowd of 47,252 and the witnesses from the home dugout.

After Eichhorn issued a leadoff walk to Jose Canseco, Dean Palmer hit a grounder up the middle. Shortstop Cal Ripken made a diving stop and, with Canseco on second after breaking with the pitch, rifled a one-hop throw to first that appeared to arrive in plenty of time.

But Brinkman didn't see it that way, He called Palmer safe, putting runners on first and second. Ivan Rodriguez bounced back to the mound and Eichhorn cut down the lead runner at third.

Second baseman Mark McLemore then fielded Bill Ripken's grounder to the shortstop side of second and made a strong throw to retire the runner.

Lee then stroked the game-winner and Tom Henke earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro scooped Ripken's throw on the controversial play.

"It's hard for me to tell because I can't see him running, especially on a low throw I have to go down and get," Palmeiro said. "But everyone on the bench said he was clearly out. I asked him [Brinkman] what happened. He said the guy beat it out. They all miss them, it's just that this one cost us the game."

Eichhorn blamed only himself.

"You can't look at that," Eichhorn said. "Runners on second and third, two outs, a strikeout and I'm out of the inning. You can't look at that play. It would have been nice to get the call, but I wasn't thinking about it. . . . I made a mistake and he hit it."

Lee, a .220 hitter last season and 0-for-8 going into the ninth-inning at-bat, said he was surprised Rangers manager Kevin Kennedy did not lift him for a pinch hitter.

"That's the first time they let me hit in that situation," Lee said. "I'm glad I was able to prove myself."

The Orioles' three-run rally in the eighth tied a game they had trailed since the first inning.

Harold Baines doubled with two outs, chasing left-hander Rick Honeycutt from the mound in favor of veteran right-hander Jay Howell.

Cal Ripken's ground-rule double to the left-field corner scored the first run, and Chris Hoiles' bloop single to center, which three Rangers converged on to no avail, scored the Orioles' fourth run.

Pinch runner Damon Buford came across with the tying run, driven in by Chris Sabo's triple to right-center, his first RBI with the Orioles.

It all happened with two outs and it happened so quickly even XTC the scoreboard had trouble catching up.

"Fix that score, fix that score," the crowd chanted, triggering the scoreboard operator to register the fifth run belatedly.

The score was fixed but it didn't stay that way for long.

It was fitting Lee hit the game-winner, since the Rangers' lesser names did most of the damage.

Making his first start, Orioles left-hander Jamie Moyer tamed the Rangers' heavy hitters, but had trouble with the top and bottom of the order.

Moyer limited Will Clark, Juan Gonzalez and Canseco to one hit, a run-scoring single by Gonzalez, and two strikeouts in 10 at-bats.

A pair of players who have changed uniforms with regularity proved tougher for the Orioles to control.

Jack Armstrong allowed two runs in six innings and Chris James tripled, homered and drove in a pair of runs. Ivan Rodriguez also homered off Moyer, who allowed five runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Jeffrey Hammonds hit his first home run and Mike Devereaux his second for the Orioles, who have homered six times in their first three games. The Orioles wasted six extra-base hits last night.

Through five innings, Hammonds had the Orioles' only two hits off Armstrong. In the third inning, he hit a leadoff double to the base of the wall in left-center. Hammonds got no closer to home as Armstrong struck out Brady Anderson and Devereaux and retired Palmeiro on a fly ball to center.

His next time up, with two outs in the fifth, Hammonds easily cleared the 364-sign in left-center for his first home run and the Orioles' first run off Armstrong.

An inning later, Devereaux hit his second home run, to left, on Armstrong's 2-0 delivery.

Devereaux's homer brought the Orioles within 3-2. Bases-empty home runs, by Rodriguez in the seventh and James in the eighth, expanded the Rangers' lead to 5-2.

ORIOLES TODAY

Opponent: Texas Rangers

Site: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Time: 1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Rangers' Kevin Brown (0-1, 9.00) vs. Orioles' Mike Mussina (1-0, 1.12)

Tickets: About 1,500 remain, not including 275 standing-room tickets that go on sale when the gates open.

Orioles page: Each day, the page after the American and National league reports will be devoted to Orioles news. Today, it's 8C. Look for Jim Henneman's Inside Pitch, the Orioles notebook, box score, how the runs were scored, team statistics, the coming week's schedule and more.

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