Mills' pitch isn't a hit with Fielder

April 12, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

DETROIT -- Orioles reliever Alan Mills, stunned by Cecil Fielder's reaction to being hit below the left shoulder with one of his fastballs, let the game situation do his talking about the incident.

Fielder led off the ninth inning of the Orioles' 7-4 win over the Detroit Tigers. Mills, protecting a five-run lead at the time, ran the count to 0-and-2. If a reliever walks the hitter in that situation, his manager is liable to deck him.

So why would the pitcher hit him intentionally? He wouldn't.

But it was cold and the pitch stung. So Fielder threw down his bat and began jawing at Mills.

For a frozen Tiger Stadium moment, it looked as if Fielder might charge Mills. Just in case, Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro stepped in front of Fielder.

Replaced by pinch runner Milt Cuyler, Fielder barked at Mills again as he walked near the mound on his way back to the Tigers dugout.

Afterward, Fielder would say only, "It was too cold for that."

Mills only said: "I have no comment on that."

Palmeiro sounded the voice of reason on the matter.

"I wasn't really a peacemaker," Palmeiro said. "I just know Cecil and I know that he's not like that normally. You get hit with a 90-mph fastball, and it's cold like that, it hurts. Maybe he just reacted to that."

The next batter, Travis Fryman, homered to left to cut the Orioles' lead to three runs.

Distracted, perhaps?

"I'm not going to make any excuses and say what happened with Cecil's the reason I gave up the home run," Mills said.

On the more positive side, for the second time in three days, Mills came into a game with two runners on board and left them there, this time in the eighth on Eric Davis' pop-up to second baseman Mark McLemore.

Two days earlier against Texas, Mills struck out Juan Gonzalez, Jose Canseco and Dean Palmer to leave two runners stranded in scoring position. Two innings later, Gonzalez homered.

"It's a pretty good feeling to come in and not give up any inherited runs, but I'm not happy with the two home runs," Mills said. "I've got to find a way to eliminate that."

Mills won't find it today at Tiger Stadium. The Orioles and Tigers don't resume the three-game series until tomorrow afternoon.

Neither team is working out, but Fielder will be at the stadium, where he will hold a news conference to announce the arrival of the "Cecil Bar."

Fielder might find time to feast on Cecil Bars, but the same can't be said of the way he has handled Orioles pitching over the years.

Fielder has a .224 lifetime average with 14 home runs and 33 RBIs in 228 at-bats against the Orioles. Fielder has a .182 career average against Mills, though he did hit his 51st home run of 1990 against Mills when the hard-throwing right-hander was with the New York Yankees.

He didn't hit a ball out of the infield in yesterday's series opener, a stark contrast to his two-homer performance the previous day.

Orioles broadcaster Jon Miller sought out Fielder before the game to discuss the 475-foot home run he hit in the ninth inning in New York.

Miller: "Where would that home run you hit at Yankee Stadium have landed if you hit it here?"

Fielder: "It wouldn't have landed."

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