Hits are Baines' mouthpiece

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

July 27, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writer

The Orioles don't pay Harold Baines to be a designated chatter -- and that's a good thing, for if they did, Baines' paycheck would be skimpy.

Baines is the classic example of the player who prefers to let his performance do the talking, and it spoke volumes in yesterday's doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians.

Baines went 3-for-4 with two bases-empty homers and three runs scored to help pace the Orioles past the Indians, 10-4, in the day game. In the night game, he went 1-for-3 with his third homer of the day.

After the first game, the media waited for Baines to return from icing his sore knees and showering for his observations on the day's proceedings.

"I got the right pitch in the right spot and I hit it out of the ballpark," said Baines. "The guy [Cleveland starter Albie Lopez] got them in a spot where I could drive the ball."

End of observation.

"When Harold Baines has a two home-run game, that's great for us, but it's not news. I've seen him hit three in a game," said manager Johnny Oates.

Indeed, Oates was present for Baines' last multi-homer performance, a three-homer game for the Oakland Athletics against the Ori)oles on May 7, 1991.

But Baines, who was hitting .333 in the 10 games before yesterday's doubleheader, hadn't homered since hitting one with the bases empty off Cleveland's Charles Nagy on June 27.

"Harold had been getting his share of base hits, but he really hasn't been driving the ball. [Yesterday] he drove the ball for a couple of home runs," said Oates.

Murray and Martinez

Former Orioles Eddie Murray and Dennis Martinez continue to move higher on the list of all-time baseball accomplishments.

With his 9-2 victory over the Orioles in the second game of yesterday's doubleheader, Martinez won his 218th game, moving into a tie for 64th place on the all-time win list, sharing space with Bob Caruthers and Earl Whitehill. Martinez is also the third winningest Latin American pitcher, trailing only Juan Marichal (243) and Luis Tiant (229).

Murray, who connected in the first game of the doubleheader for the 456th homer of his career, now trails Minnesota's Dave Winfield by five for 18th place on the all-time list. He became only the 10th player to hit 450 homers and steal 100 bases with a steal in the second game, and with RBIs in each game of the doubleheader, Murray tied Honus Wagner for 14th place with 1,732 career runs driven in.

Sabo gets a rest

Chris Sabo, who left Sunday's game with back stiffness, did not start either game yesterday.

"He said he's normal," said Oates. "We'll just give him some time off and hopefully, he'll get his stuff back and be able to help our lineup."

In the meantime, Leo Gomez, who had been in a 10-for-73 slump, bounced back with a 3-for-4 first-game performance.

Going deep

Going into last night's second game, the Orioles and Indians have combined to hit 144 home runs (72 each) since June 5.

Albert Belle has homered in six of his past eight games and has connected six times in 32 at-bats against the Orioles this year. He has hit four homers in 27 lifetime at-bats off Ben McDonald, who, like Belle, attended Louisiana State University.

Climbing the walls

Jeffrey Hammonds helped end Sandy Alomar's 14-game hitting streak with a leaping catch near the fence in right in the eighth inning of the first game yesterday.

Hammonds' catch was only slightly overshadowed by Kenny Lofton, a Gold Glove winner, who robbed Cal Ripken of a home run with a leaping catch over the center-field fence.

Youth contest rescheduled

The area finals of Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit & Run contest, originally scheduled between games of the doubleheader, was postponed until Saturday at noon because of rain.

However, the top 30 youths, who ranged in age from 9 to 13, did receive their awards before the start of the second game. The five age-group leaders from the area finals will head to the National Championships on Sept 17 at The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

Miscellaneous

The Orioles, who had 15 hits in the first game yesterday, have had 10 or more hits in 44 of their first 97 games. Their record in those games is 36-8. . . . The announced first-game paid attendance of 43,578 ended the run of consecutive sellouts at 40.

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