Angels rock Wells, O's in 10-3 rout Lefty yields 9 runs in 3 1/3 innings in his worst Orioles outing

Hudler drives in 5 runs

Umpire gets to Wells

lack of focus irks Dobson

June 01, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If it weren't for the uniforms, the Orioles could've been confused for the Detroit Tigers last night, starring David Wells as the hapless pitcher.

Wells didn't get out of the fourth inning and the California Angels rolled, 10-3, with Oriole-killer Rex Hudler driving in five runs with a double and a homer. "Obviously," Orioles manager Davey Johnson said, "Wellsy didn't have his best stuff."

Obviously. The Orioles fell out of their first-place tie with the New York Yankees, who beat Oakland, 4-1.

Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar extended his hitting streak to 15 games, but his average fell to .397. Brady Anderson's hitting streak ended at 12.

Back in March, the Orioles' rotation appeared to be solid if not spectacular behind Mike Mussina. Wells won 16 games for Detroit last year and Scott Erickson won 13 games. Kent Mercker and Jimmy Haynes were the question marks.

In practice, it is Wells and Erickson who have been enigmas. Wells lost time because of bursitis in his big toe, Erickson went down for a few weeks after spraining his ankle playing pepper, and between them, the Orioles' No. 2 and No. 3 starters have won exactly two games since April 16, half as many as Mercker (2) and Haynes (2).

That string of futility for Wells and Erickson was threatened not in the least last night, when Wells had his worst outing of the year.

"It was just one of those nights, when nothing is going right," said Wells.

He took a 1-0 lead into the second inning, against a team that he overmatched May 20; that night, Wells allowed just four hits and a run in seven innings. Before the second inning ended, however, Wells allowed four hits and five runs and was toe-to-toe with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck.

Like Mike Mussina on Wednesday, Wells was angry over a couple of ball-strike calls, to Chili Davis and Tim Wallach, the first two hitters of the inning. Davis singled and Wallach singled, with Jeffrey Hammonds making a poor throw to third that allowed Wallach to advance to second, all of which left Wells in a rather bitter frame of mind. He fell behind J. T. Snow 2-0 before walking the Angels first baseman. Bases loaded, nobody out, major trouble.

Wells struck out Randy Velarde, but Angels catcher Don Slaught lined a single into short center field, two runs scoring. After a groundout, Wells moved ahead of Hudler by throwing a first-pitch strike.

Then Wells spun a curveball that dangled over the plate; all it needed was a sign that said HIT ME. Hudler bashed it over the left-field wall, a three-run homer that effectively finished the game, and with the California runners circling the bases, Wells decided to take up his argument with Hirschbeck over the ancient ball-strike calls.

Wells and Hirschbeck yapped back and forth, and after the umpire called out Garret Anderson on strikes to end the inning, he moved up the first base line to intercept the left-hander coming off the field.

Wells and Hirschbeck jawed at each other, until Orioles manager Davey Johnson rushed out of the dugout to intercede.

Thereafter, Wells pitched with what could best be described as indifference, glancing into the stands between each offering, his shoulders slumped and his demeanor languid. The Angels teed off.

"I started getting behind," Wells said. "I got frustrated and started throwing bad pitches."

Pitching coach Pat Dobson said: "It was embarrassing. For a guy with as much experience as he has, having pitched at this level, to let a couple of bad calls by the umpire affect the whole game.

"You can't let it affect your concentration and intensity when you go after the hitter. It shouldn't happen. It's mind-boggling."

A double play rescued Wells from damage in the third inning, but he would not survive the fourth. Slaught singled with one out and Gary DiSarcina, batting .206, ripped a double, the first and second of four consecutive hits against Wells. When Hudler doubled in two runs on a smash down the left-field line, Wells stood on the mound for several seconds before moving to back '' up the plate.

Anderson looped a single and Wells was finished.

Archie Corbin relieved, sort of: four of the first five hitters he faced reach base, including a two-run homer by Tim Salmon. With four innings completed, the Orioles trailed 10-1, nine of those runs charged to Wells (3-5). The Orioles have won one of his last seven starts.

Angels starter Mark Langston (3-1), who came off the disabled list to make this start, held the Orioles to three hits and a run in five innings.

The Orioles added a couple of runs against reliever Chuck McElroy in the sixth.

Catcher Chris Hoiles had an RBI single, his second RBI hit of the game.

Window dressing, that didn't make the big picture look any better.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: California Angels

Site: Anaheim Stadium

Time: 10: 05

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Jimmy Haynes (2-4, 6.95) vs. Angels' Shawn Boskie (6-1, 4.18)

Pub Date: 6/01/96

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