Cold Orioles bats causing missed chances

May 19, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

Having missed a chance to move into second place and gain ground on the American League East-leading New York Yankees, the Orioles will try to salvage a 2-1 edge in the final game of a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox tonight at Camden Yards.

Boston's 5-2 win behind right-hander Aaron Sele last night enabled the Red Sox to even the series, remain in second place and move to within a game of the Yankees, who were belted for the second straight day in Minnesota. The Orioles remained three games off the lead and dropped to two games behind the Red Sox.

The first two games of the abbreviated homestand, which ends tonight, continued an offensive slump for the Orioles, who have managed only 13 runs in the last five games, four of them losses.

Left-hander Sid Fernandez (2-1, 3.41) will be the starting pitcher for the Orioles tonight. He will be making his first appearance against the Red Sox since facing them in the 1986 World Series while pitching for the New York Mets.

The Red Sox will counter with Danny Darwin, a veteran right-hander who has given the Orioles trouble in the past. His 7-6 career record against them includes a 2-1 mark last year.

A sidelight to tonight's game will be the continuation of Rafael Palmeiro's pursuit of a club record in only his second month with the Orioles. The first baseman extended his hitting streak to 20 games last night with a third-inning single, one of only seven hits the Orioles got off Sele.

The streak matches Palmeiro's career high, set in 1988 when he was with the Chicago Cubs, and left him two games short of the Orioles' all-time record. Doug DeCinces (1978-79) and Eddie Murray (1984) share the mark.

During his streak, Palmeiro has hit at a .370 pace (27-for-73), but his is one of the few bats in the Orioles' lineup that hasn't been quiet during the last week.

With a nine-game road trip on tap after tonight's game, starting with a three-game weekend series in New York, the Orioles need to step up their offensive pace to remain close to the leaders.

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