Orioles tee off on Brewers in 13-3 win Mussina wins 13th after he loses no-hit bid in 6th

Surhoff flirts with cycle

McDonald chased by former teammates

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

MILWAUKEE -- The Orioles have proven they can score runs, with six players on a pace to drive in 100 runs. They had 15 hits, including three home runs in a 13-3 blowout of the Brewers and Ben McDonald last night.

But if the Orioles are going to catch Chicago in the wild-card race, they must get consistent pitching from their three veteran starters, Mike Mussina, David Wells and Scott Erickson. They got it last night from Mussina, who flirted with a no-hitter on his way to his 13th victory of the season.

B.J. Surhoff had two homers, a double and a single against his former teammates and Eddie Murray drove in three runs (for the second straight game, Murray, seven homers away from 500 for his career, ripped a double off the top of the outfield wall). The Orioles are 57-54, and four games behind Chicago and Seattle in the wild-card race.

Mussina had the worst outing of his season July 26, getting ripped for 11 hits and eight runs, and a couple of days later Orioles reliever Randy Myers criticized Mussina for not embracing the idea of going to a four-man rotation. A reporter stopped Mussina the next day to ask him a question. "What, am I getting released now?" he replied, joking.

Sort of. He had hit rock bottom, and he knew it.

But last week against Minnesota, Mussina rebounded by shutting down the Twins, allowing two earned runs in a complete-game victory. Last night, he was even better.

The Brewers managed to get two balls out of the infield in the first five innings. Almost nothing but ground balls and strikeouts, and absolutely no hits. Mussina had the kind of stuff of which no-hitters are made, and somebody started a no-hit pool in the Milwaukee press box.

However, Matt Mieske slammed a double down the left-field line leading off the sixth and, two batters later, Matt Matheny singled home Mieske with Milwaukee's first run.

The Orioles had long since determined the outcome of the game, building an 11-0 lead with their imperfect offense.

If Orioles baseball means executing fundamentals and advancing runners, these Orioles are not playing Orioles baseball.

In Monday's 13-10 victory over Cleveland, the Orioles failed to advance a lead-off runner four times in the first six innings, and they continued in this vein against the Brewers.

McDonald walked Roberto Alomar to start the game, and Brady Anderson bounced into a double play. After Surhoff homered to lead off the top of the second, Cal Ripken singled and Murray singled. But Chris Hoiles popped out to third and Jeffrey Hammonds grounded to third baseman Jeff Cirillo, who started a double play. Somewhere in Aberdeen, a former Orioles coach named Ripken probably was throwing his remote at a television.

But McDonald, who was sick to his stomach during his previous start, was having a bad night and provided plenty of second chances for the Orioles. The right-hander labored through the first three innings, but he could not get through the fourth without relief.

Ex-Brewer Surhoff, booed in every at-bat by County Stadium fans, homered leading off the fourth inning -- the first time he hit two homers in a game since May 3, when he hit two against the Brewers. Surhoff never had hit more than 13 in a season before he joined the Orioles, and he has 18 this year.

McDonald fell apart in a hurry. He walked Ripken, who stole second. Murray walked. Hoiles muscled an inside fastball over third base, and Ripken scored the Orioles' second run of the inning.

First and second, none out, a bunt situation. Jeffrey Hammonds swung and fouled off the first pitch, and third base coach Sam Perlozzo jogged down the line to talk to Hammonds, who presumably had missed a sign. Hammonds bunted the next pitch in front of the mound, and McDonald scrambled in and whirled and fired toward third. But like most of his pitches last night, this throw was wild and high and bounced to the tarp along the left-field wall. Murray scored, Hoiles stopped at third and Hammonds at second.

The Brewers' infield came in with nobody out, attempting to cut off any more runs. But Alomar hit a chopper that skipped over the head of Fernando Vina, the Brewers' 5-foot-8 second baseman, and the single scored both runners.

McDonald walked Brady Anderson, his last pitch flying all the way to the backstop, and Brewers manager Phil Garner hustled out of the dugout to call in some relief. Angel Miranda took over and got hit a bit before getting three outs, and the Orioles totaled eight runs in the inning, matching a season high. McDonald's final line: three innings-plus, seven hits, eight runs (all earned), five walks, no strikeouts. It wasn't his day.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers

Site: County Stadium, Milwaukee

Time: 8: 05 TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Orioles' Scott Erickson (5-10, 5.35) vs. Brewers' Scott Karl (10-5, 4.76)

Pub Date: 8/07/96

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