Brown tames Tigers for O's 3rd shutout Oriole allows 5 hits, rides 3 Bonilla RBIs to his 10th win, 6-0

Follows Mussina, Erickson

Lira retires first 10 O's, allows 6 straight to reach

September 30, 1995|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

It was the first game of the farewell series for Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson, shortstop Alan Trammell and second baseman Lou Whitaker.

It also may have been the last start as an Oriole for Kevin Brown.

Brown made the most of his final audition last night, pitching a five-hit, 6-0, complete-game shutout before 46,512 at Camden Yards, which pushed attendance over the 3 million mark.

"I hope I've made a favorable impression pitching the whole year," Brown said. "I can think back to games I had better stuff than I did tonight but didn't have anything to show for it."

Brown (10-9) became the team's third 10-game winner, allowing one walk and striking out six in lowering his ERA to 3.60.

He coolly acknowledged his desire to return next season.

"All things being equal, probably so," Brown said. "It's a good place to play in, the people here appreciate the game."

Brown not only made a case for himself but also helped first-year manager Phil Regan make his in the Orioles' ninth win in 11 games.

"We got good defense, good pitching and timely hitting," Regan said. "When you do that, you win."

It was the Orioles' third straight complete-game shutout. The last time they did that was Sept. 2-6, 1974, when Ross Grimsley, Mike Cuellar, Jim Palmer, Dave McNally and Cuellar again threw five straight shutouts.

This time it was Mike Mussina, Scott Erickson and Brown. But of those three pitchers, only Mussina definitely will be back next season.

Brown, who is making $4.225 million this season, has had a frustrating year. He dislocated his right index finger barehanding a ground ball and spent June 22 to July 17 on the disabled list. He did not win a game from June 7 through Aug. 21.

"It's frustrating, it's been a tough year," said Brown, signed as a free agent after six years in Texas. "A lot of guys probably feel like I do, that we could've had a lot better numbers than we've shown."

Brown entered the game with a .500 record for the first time since he was 5-5 on June 17. That was before his barehanded grab that ruined his season.

But since coming off the disabled list, Brown has regained the form of a former 20-game winner.

"I didn't feel really strong the first few games back," Brown said.

It has taken him awhile, but Brown's back. He's 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his last four starts and has pitched at least six innings in 10 of his last 11.

Last night Brown was overpowering, throwing 128 pitches, 92 of them strikes.

His only mistake in the first four innings was Travis Fryman's two-out single in the first.

Fryman bounced one off the third base bag that bounded into the outfield. Shortstop Cal Ripken slid into shallow left field to retrieve it and hold Fryman to a single.

Brown retired the next 12 batters. Only two balls, Phil Nevin's second-inning flyout to right and Tony Clark's fifth-inning flyout to left, made it out of the infield.

Nevin finally reached base with two outs in the fifth on a broken-bat single to right.

But that's how Brown said he has been beaten this season, on flares and broken-bat hits.

"I've only walked off the field a couple times and felt like I got hit hard," Brown said.

His teammates wouldn't let him walk off the field a loser last night. Bobby Bonilla led the way with three hits and three RBIs.

Detroit starter Felipe Lira, looking to break a three-game losing streak, threw 3 1/3 perfect innings. Brady Anderson broke it up with an infield hit, grounding sharply up the middle. Detroit second baseman Steve Rodriguez ranged to his right and made a good, off-balance throw, but Anderson beat it out.

The scratch hit seemed to break Lira's spirit. He gave up four straight hits. Rafael Palmeiro singled to right. Bonilla tripled off the left-field wall, scoring Anderson and Palmeiro. Ripken singled up the middle, scoring Bonilla.

The Orioles led 3-0. Lira still couldn't get anybody out. Harold Baines singled to right and Chris Hoiles walked to load the bases.

Out went Lira and in came Brian Bohanon, who got Kevin Bass to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the fourth inning.

The Orioles scored an additional run in the fifth. Mark Smith led off with a single to center. With two outs, both Palmeiro and Bonilla singled to right. It was Bonilla's third RBI.

The Orioles added two more runs in the eighth, off Tigers reliver Brian Maxcy, who walked in a run with the bases loaded and threw a wild pitch to score another.

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