Mussina flush with success when he deals with Royals

June 06, 1994|By Lori Van Lonkhuyzen | Lori Van Lonkhuyzen,Sun Staff Writer

The Kansas City Royals may be just what Mike Mussina needs right now.

Mussina, who in his past three starts has a no-decision and two straight losses, hasn't won since May 17. But the boost he needs could come at 8:05 tonight at KC's Ewing Kauffman Stadium.

Mussina has a career 5-1 record against Kansas City and an ERA of 2.44.

This year he is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA against the Royals, beating them on Opening Day at Camden Yards. Mussina left the game after eight innings with a 6-1 lead. The Orioles held on to win, 6-3.

Despite the last three rocky outings, opponents are batting just .235 against him.

"We face a hot team in Kansas City, but we've got Mike going for us and we should be in pretty good shape," Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said.

The Royals will send Tom Gordon (5-3, 4.60 ERA) to the mound for his first appearance against the Orioles this season.

Orioles hitters have not fared well against Gordon. Shortstop Cal Ripken (5-for-17, .294) leads the Orioles with two home runs and five RBIs off the Kansas City right-hander. Catcher Chris Hoiles has two hits off Gordon in six at-bats for a .333 average.

Gordon has been able to stymie most of the Orioles, including third baseman Leo Gomez (0-for-7), left fielder Brady Anderson (2-for-17, .118), center fielder Mike Devereaux (2-for-14, .143), designated hitter Harold Baines (7-for-31, .226) and Palmeiro (6-for-26, .231).

But Mussina can boast similar success against the Royals. Right fielder Felix Jose (3-for-9, one home run) and first baseman Wally Joyner (7-for-25, .280) have hit him best. Mussina has been able to completely silence outfielder/designated hitter Dave Henderson (0-for-10).

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