Orioles a tease in 13-10 victory Finally escape Indians

Rhodes lost for year

August 06, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- There is such a thing as an emotional wringer. Another name for it is Orioles baseball.

The Orioles went through all kinds of feelings last night in a 13-10 victory over Cleveland. Frustration early, when they couldn't get a clutch hit and fell behind 3-2. Anger, when shortstop Cal Ripken argued with plate umpire Gary Cederstrom and pitcher David Wells fired his glove into the dugout.

Joy, when they scored 10 runs in two innings and took a 13-3 lead. Angst, when reliever Arthur Rhodes went out with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for the rest of the year. And fear, when the Indians scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth and very nearly came back.

"What a night," said Orioles manager Davey Johnson.

The Orioles totaled 21 hits, three by Bobby Bonilla (including his third homer in three days), four each from Jeffrey Hammonds and Roberto Alomar and three apiece from Brady Anderson and Ripken. Wells won his ninth game. The Orioles have won five of their first seven on this current 13-game road trip.

But any good feelings from the game were subdued by the news that Rhodes likely is finished for the year. Rhodes has a problem at the top of his shoulder -- Johnson said a tendon was being affected by a bone spur -- that forced him to the disabled list last month. Activated Friday, he pitched twice before walking off in the ninth inning last night in obvious discomfort and disappointment.

"I don't know what's wrong with it," said Rhodes, who has a 9-1 record. "The doctor doesn't know what's wrong with it. I'll sit out the rest of the season and get it better."

Johnson said: "Arthur's probably out for the year. He's definitely on the disabled list" -- a major loss for the Orioles -- "and I don't know when he'll be back."

They won in spite of his injury last night, in the sort of game they've lost time and again this year. They botched numerous scoring chances early and fell behind; all year, when they've met resistance, they've tended to fold. This time, they came back.

They played angry most of the night. Ripken went to the mound to speak to Wells in the bottom of the third, and plate umpire Cederstrom yelled to them to hurry things along. Ripken yelled back. Johnson was forced to intercede after the bottom of the third.

That only fueled Wells' anger. The Indians scored their first three runs on a series of ground balls through the left side -- seven of their first 10 hits bounced between third baseman B. J. Surhoff and Ripken.

Jeff Kent made the final out for Cleveland in the fifth, and as Wells reached the top step of the dugout, he fired his glove against the wall, grabbed his jacket and stalked off to the clubhouse to think about all the rotten luck.

But the anger evolved into intense joy in the sixth inning, when the Orioles came back from a 3-2 deficit. Ripken lined a double to open the inning and, with two outs, Hammonds singled up the middle, scoring Ripken to tie the game at 3. As Hammonds rounded first base, he pumped a fist in celebration.

There was more of that in the seventh, when the Orioles broke open the game with a rally against Paul Assenmacher and Danny Graves.

Ripken blooped a broken-bat single over second, scoring Bonilla with the lead run, and the Orioles piled it on. Three more runs that inning, six more in the eighth inning. The 21 hits matched a season high.

They could've coasted in from there. Not a chance. Not the '96 Orioles.

Alan Mills took over for Wells in the seventh inning and, in the eighth, he allowed a bases-empty homer to Kent. No big deal. The Orioles still led by nine runs. Rhodes took over for Mills and finished up the eighth.

However, Kenny Lofton homered leading off the bottom of the ninth, and Jose Vizcaino singled. After throwing a pitch to Mark Carreon, Rhodes walked back off the mound and Johnson, watching from the dugout, knew immediately that he was hurt. Rookie Garrett Stephenson replaced Rhodes.

Carreon walked, before Stephenson struck out Albert Belle (the Indians' slugger had only two singles in 12 at-bats in the final three games of this series, Johnson saying the Orioles did a good job of pitching him inside). But Manny Ramirez doubled home two runs. Orioles closer Randy Myers began throwing in the bullpen.

Kent singled, and Myers took over. Pinch hitter Brian Giles singled, Jim Thome singled. The Indians had pulled to within 13-9, and the tying run was on deck.

Omar Vizquel flied out, Giles scoring Cleveland's sixth run of the inning and 10th run overall. Finally, Lofton, the 10th hitter of the inning, popped out, and the Orioles experienced one more emotion: Utter relief.

As Johnson spoke to reporters afterward, highlights of the game flashed on the screen. He watched clips of the Orioles building their huge lead, and then, on videotape, he watched as the Indians started coming back.

"I don't want to go through that again," said Johnson, looking around for his remote control.

In spite of the unseemly finish, Alomar took solace in the victory, and the fact that the Orioles acquitted themselves well at Jacobs Field, splitting the four-game series. "I'm pleased with the way we've played," he said. "We hit the ball good, we catched the ball good. . . ."

He paused. There was the matter of their pitching.

"We pitched good," he said, "when we had to."

Good enough. But Rhodes leaves some big shoes to fill, and Johnson and assistant GM Kevin Malone will experience one more emotion. Worry.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers

Site: County Stadium, Milwaukee

Time: 8: 05

TV/Radio: Chs. 13, 50/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Mike Mussina (12-8, 5.06) vs. Brewers' Ben McDonald (10-5, 3.81)

Pub Date: 8/06/96

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