Night of no relief ends in 11-8 loss

April 22, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

Orioles general manager Roland Hemond watched last night's game from his seat behind home plate in the front row of the club level.

From that vantage point, the sky wasn't falling.

The Orioles' staff ERA was soaring. California Angels left fielder Bo Jackson and first baseman Eduardo Perez were having a nice week in one night.

Young Orioles left-hander Arthur Rhodes didn't make it out of the fifth inning and young Angels left-hander Brian Anderson held the Orioles to three runs over eight innings.

The Orioles bullpen, well, you know the rest of the story.

All that transpired in the Orioles' 11-8 loss to the Angels witnessed by 45,858 who paid for seats at Camden Yards.

Even a five-run rally in the ninth wasn't enough to spare the Orioles, who had allowed 16 runs in the ninth (the most in the majors) but hadn't scored any before last night.

The bullpen ERA soared to 8.41, or 10.13 minus closer Lee Smith, but the sky didn't fall.

At least not onto Hemond's head.

"You don't get all that bent out of shape in the 14th ballgame of the season," Hemond said.

Anderson (2-0) limited the Orioles to six hits and three runs, the last on Jack Voigt's eighth-inning home run, and was supported by 14 hits.

The biggest were delivered by Perez, who homered twice and drove in four runs, and Jackson, who drove in four runs, homered once, singled and was hit by a pitch.

Hemond spent time on the phone yesterday in search of relief pitching help and assistant general manager Doug Melvin scouted Triple-A Rochester in Norfolk, Va. Melvin watched right-hander Tom Wegmann pitch 3 2/3 innings of hitless relief for Rochester, making him a candidate for promotion.

Meanwhile, the bullpen was hit hard again after Rhodes was pulled in favor of Mark Williamson one out into the fifth, the Orioles trailing 3-1 with two men on base.

"I felt real good," Rhodes said. "I was getting my stuff over real good. I kept the ball in the strike zone and I was throwing sliders for strikes. I told myself I knew I was throwing real good, they just hit it."

Jackson welcomed Williamson by jacking a three-run home run to right-center, which put the Orioles up 6-1 and put to bed Rhodes' pitching line.

Rhodes was charged with allowing five earned runs on eight hits. He walked one, struck out four and allowed a bases-empty homer to Perez.

"The score was 2-1 when he came out last time and 3-1 when he came out this time," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said in defense of Rhodes. "We just didn't do the job behind him."

Williamson allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings.

Left-hander Brad Pennington allowed a three-run home run to Perez in the eighth. Pennington took the mound at the start of the seventh, put two runners on, then struck out three consecutive batters. He also pitched a scoreless ninth.

It was another long night in a lot of ways for the Orioles' pitching staff.

Rhodes (0-3, 10.95) has an ERA more suited for a menu than a stat sheet, but he didn't let that keep him from taking something positive out of the night.

"I know I've pitched better than my ERA," he said. "I got the ball in the strike zone, they just hit it. I'm not going to blame it on the relievers."

Oates and Hemond preached patience on the Rhodes front.

"You almost have to let the kid pitch for him to get better, but I don't want to let the ballgame get away either," Oates said. "The last two ballgames he's pitched well enough to win. We let it get away."

Said Hemond: "You always look for a left-hander who throws hard. When you have one, you have to be patient and bring him along slowly."

There are exceptions and the Orioles faced one last night. The Angels didn't have to nurture Anderson, who turns 22 Tuesday.

A year ago, Anderson was pitching for Wright State, a Division I university that competes in the Mid-Continent (presumably North America) Conference.

Anderson, the Angels' No. 1 pick in 1993, needed only four minor-league starts before earning a late-season promotion to the majors in 1993.

Anderson started this season at Triple-A Vancouver but had not made a start when he was called to the big leagues to replace left-hander Mark Langston (elbow surgery).

As it turned out, Anderson also replaced Langston as the ace of the staff.

Wild right-hander Mike Butcher, who sent three Orioles hitters ducking from his pitches, replaced Anderson to start the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs for Voigt, who didn't need to swing his bat to earn his second RBI. Ball four from Butcher sufficed.

Butcher's next two pitches sailed toward Rafael Palmeiro's head, bringing Angels manager Buck Rodgers out of the dugout to replace Butcher with Scott Lewis, who inherited a 2-0 count from his dangerously wild teammate.

Palmeiro's two-run double and Cal Ripken's two-run single highlighted the five-run ninth, which ended when Lewis struck out Chris Hoiles, leaving the potential tying run on deck.

The sky didn't fall last night, but the Orioles (8-6) did for the second night in a row.

ORIOLES TONIGHT

Opponent: Seattle Mariners

Site: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Time: 7:35

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Mariners' Dave Fleming (2-1, 4.96) vs. Orioles' Ben McDonald (3-0, 2.91)

Tickets: About 900 remain, not including 275 standing-room tickets that go on sale when the gates open.

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