While Tiger sleeps, Voigt awakens win

SIDELIGHT

June 03, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writer

The box score from yesterday's Orioles-Detroit Tigers game will show doubles, errors, strikeouts and the like, all of which contributed to the 11-5 Baltimore victory.

But a seemingly simple tag-up play, sending a runner from first to second, doesn't make the box score, yet was the game's pivotal moment.

Those are the moments that utility man Jack Voigt seems to specialize in, those not-so-flashy, but nonetheless important occasions that can help break open a tight game.

Next to pitcher Scott Klingenbeck, the Double-A Bowie Baysox call-up who got the win in his big-league debut, Voigt was the man of the hour yesterday, all just for taking advantage of a sleeping Tiger.

Afterward, Voigt was apologetic because his advance from first to second on a fly ball to right cost Rafael Palmeiro an at-bat.

"He could have hit through the hole on that at-bat, but I guess it all worked out," said Voigt.

It certainly did. With one out in the fourth, Voigt, who had led off the inning with a walk, watched Mike Devereaux fly out to right fielder Junior Felix.

Voigt went halfway between first and second and waited to see if Felix was going to make the play.

Felix made the catch, appeared to say something to some fans down the right-field line, then stared at the ball in his hand while jogging in.

Voigt, who had retreated back to first, took notice of Felix's actions and surmised that he had forgotten that there were two, not three, outs.

"I took a look at him, and he started coming in with his head down," said Voigt.

Voigt headed for second, while Felix remained unaware of what was going on. By the time Felix realized his mistake, Voigt was practically at the bag.

"I've seen that happen before, but never while I was on base," said Voigt. "I just decided to go."

Said Orioles first base coach Davey Lopes: "He did that on his own. That's a good play, a heads-up play."

Said Felix: "I thought it was two outs. That's [all] that happened."

What happened afterward turned the game around.

With the Orioles clinging to a 5-4 lead and Klingenbeck due to face Cecil Fielder, Kirk Gibson and Mickey Tettleton in the fifth, Voigt's gamble forced Detroit manager Sparky Anderson into a little gambling of his own.

Anderson chose to walk Palmeiro intentionally and have right-hander Kurt Knudsen face Cal Ripken.

Anderson's decision backfired when Ripken hit an 0-1 pitch into the left-field stands for a three-run homer that not only gave the Orioles an 8-4 lead, but also Klingenbeck a four-run margin of error to play with.

Voigt, who drove in a run in the second with a sacrifice fly, didn't have a perfect day. He flew out to left twice, nearly hitting a grand slam in the eighth.

"One of these days, I'll quit hitting balls off the end of the bat and stop hitting them to the track. I did that the whole series," said Voigt.

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