Smith struggles through ninth

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

August 08, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- Orioles closer Lee Smith made his third appearance in 16 days yesterday.

For the sixth time in his past eight appearances, Smith allowed a run in the Orioles' 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of a four-game series.

After Smith retired the first two batters, Turner Ward golfed a slider over the right-field fence and Troy O'Leary doubled to right. Smith then retired the next hitter, Jeff Cirillo, on a grounder to third baseman Leo Gomez for the final out.

It was Gomez who cost Smith a chance at a save by driving in the second of two ninth-inning runs to give the Orioles a four-run lead in a game they trailed 2-0 in the first.

For only the second time in 40 appearances, Smith came into a game in a nonsave situation.

"My control has been off," Smith said. "That's been the worst thing."

The control problems can be linked to a lack of work brought on by too many Orioles losses and three recent complete-game shutout wins.

"I needed the work today," Smith said. "It seems like everything is strange for me right now. It's like I'm starting over like in spring training. I'm working on building up my arm strength and getting my control back."

The strike blues haven't helped.

"It's been tough," Smith said. "Ever since they came up with the date, it's been like, I've only got this many games left, I better get it straightened out or I'll have a lot of bad ones to think about during the strike."

Loyal to Devereaux

Despite his .205 batting average, Mike Devereaux's name keeps showing up on Orioles manager Johnny Oates' lineup card instead of Dwight Smith.

Why?

"I'm happy with the way Devo's playing," Oates said. "He's been struggling with the bat, but when you see him doing so many other things, making catches and tagging and taking second base the way he did [Saturday night], that's the reason it's tempting to put his name in the lineup even when he isn't hitting .280 and driving in 100 runs."

Devereaux is 5-for-56 since returning from the disabled list July 1.

"That fly ball to right he hit today, that's a home run in our park," Oates said. "And he would have had a two-run single if the third baseman [Cirillo] didn't make a nice play."

Meanwhile, Smith has eight hits in his past 18 at-bats.

Shutouts then and now

The Orioles set an American League record with five consecutive shutouts in 1974. The particulars: (Sept. 2, Game 1) Orioles 1, Boston Red Sox 0, Ross Grimsley over Luis Tiant; (Sept. 2, Game 2) Orioles 1, Red Sox 0 (Mike Cuellar over Bill Lee); (Sept. 4) Orioles 6, Red Sox 0, Jim Palmer over Roger Moret; (Sept. 6, Game 1) Orioles 2, Cleveland Indians 0, Dave McNally over Fritz Peterson; (Sept. 6, Game 2) Orioles 1, Indians 0, Cuellar over Jim Kern.

The Orioles threw four shutouts this past week, two against the Minnesota Twins and two against the Brewers. The particulars: Arthur Rhodes over Pat Mahomes, 1-0; Mike Mussina, relieved for two innings, over Carlos Pulido, 10-0; Ben McDonald over Ricky Bones, 4-0; Rhodes over Jaime Navarro, 5-0.

Cal meets another streaker

Cal Ripken singled twice yesterday for his 43rd multi-hit game of the season, which left him one behind Cleveland's Albert Belle for the most in the American League.

Ripken, batting .309, has driven in a team-leading 73 runs.

He has played in 2,006 consecutive games and wasn't the only one working on a long streak.

Ripken chatted before the game with Milwaukee resident John Chandler, who told Ripken about his streak of running two miles every day for the past 13 years.

Ripken was taken aback when Chandler told him the day the streak started was Aug. 9, 1981. Little did Chandler know that was the very day Ripken first put on a major-league uniform.

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