Twins drop flying Orioles with 8-3 thud Haynes battered for 7 runs in 4 innings

perfect start ends at 4

6 of 11 hits for extra bases

Surhoff: 2 doubles, HR

Benitez strikes out side

April 07, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS -- Just about everything is going right for the Orioles this first week of the season. Just about everything, except rookie pitcher Jimmy Haynes.

Rather than rebound from his miserable outings at the end of spring training, Haynes, starting his first game of the season last night, confirmed his status as a floundering young pitcher. The Twins ripped Haynes for seven runs in four-plus innings en route to an 8-3 victory, halting the Orioles' 4-0 start.

More bad news for the Orioles: Cal Ripken's streak of 74 consecutive error-less games came to an end, when he bobbled a grounder in the fifth inning. His last error occurred last July 18.

On the good side: Orioles third baseman B. J. Surhoff had two doubles and a home run last night; he has hit in all five games this season. Reliever Armando Benitez made his first appearance of the season in the eighth inning, and struck out all three hitters he faced.

But most of the good news came from the Minnesota side.

Twins designated hitter Paul Molitor had two hits and an RBI, and second baseman Chuck Knoblauch had a hit and two RBIs. Minnesota ace Brad Radke shut out the Orioles for six innings, before allowing a couple of after-the-fact runs in the seventh inning.

By then, both clubs were swinging at first pitches, the issue having long been decided in the relatively short time Haynes was on the mound.

"You can't throw the ball over the plate and expect to get by," said Haynes. "I was getting the ball up in the zone and they were hitting it."

When Haynes came up last September, his delivery was relaxed. He eased into his windup, and then a 90-mph fastball would explode out of his hand. And he located the fastball with precision, on the edge of the plate, inside and outside.

So impressive was Haynes that even before Pat Gillick took over as general manager, three spots in the rotation were basically set: No. 1 Mike Mussina, No. 3 Scott Erickson and No. 5 Jimmy Haynes.

TC However, there was a notable dissenting voice among those who wanted Haynes to start 1996 in the major leagues. According to a club source who participated in the organizational talks last fall, Marv Foley, who managed Haynes in Rochester last season, didn't think Haynes had developed enough to face major-leaguers.

Haynes started well in spring training, pitching two scoreless innings against Florida March 2, and 11 days later, he threw four no-hit innings against Montreal. His downward spiral began March 18, when the Expos tattooed him for nine hits and four runs in four innings. In his final outing of the spring, on March 28, the Atlanta Braves hammered Haynes for 12 runs, all earned, including two tremendous homers by Fred McGriff.

Manager Davey Johnson said he threw better than that -- with more velocity -- last night. "He just got too many balls over the plate," Johnson said. "I thought he had bad pitch selection at times. It was better, improvement from how he finished the spring. I feel it will be better next time out. It isn't liked he walked the ballpark."

Haynes threw well in two bullpen sessions since breaking camp, and Friday he said he felt helped by talks with coaches Pat Dobson and Elrod Hendricks.

But one out into the bottom of the first, Twins center fielder Matt Lawton singled sharply over third and Haynes crumbled, rushing his delivery, completely forfeiting command of his fastball and curveball (at one point, he bounced a breaking ball 10 feet in front of home plate).

Minnesota, a team that feasts on mediocre pitching in the Metrodome, devoured Haynes. There were no bloop singles or broken-bat hits over the infielders, just a whole lot of line drives. Six of Minnesota's 11 hits off Haynes went for extra bases, four doubles, a triple and a home run by third baseman Dave Hollins.

The Twins scored three in the first, two in the second, one in the third. When Scott Stahoviak doubled to lead off the fifth, Johnson, bothered by a bruised foot, limped to the mound to remove Haynes, bringing in Jimmy Myers for his first major-league appearance.

It remains to be seen when Haynes will return to the mound for the Orioles. With three off days in the next two weeks, they won't need a fifth starter until April 20, in Texas. Haynes may go to the bullpen, to be used in middle relief.

Or the Orioles could send Haynes to Triple-A Rochester, to rejoin the Red Wings' starting rotation, pitch regularly, regain the form he showed last September. The Orioles could call up a reliever in his place, such as Keith Shepherd, or they could promote left-hander Rick Krivda, who pitched effectively in spring training.

That decision may come in the next two days, before the Orioles begin their two-game series with Cleveland.

Pub Date: 4/07/96

Orioles today

Opponent: Minnesota Twins

Site: Metrodome, Minneapolis

Time: 2: 05 p.m.

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Mike Mussina (1-0, 2.57) vs. Twins' Rich Robertson (0-1, 32.40)

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