Reboulet runs into nothing but trouble Pickoff, bad call turn N.Y. into horror for bit player

Sidelight

July 05, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Sometimes, the background isn't such a bad place to linger. Orioles infielder Jeff Reboulet probably wouldn't mind huddling there for a while to regroup from what has been one giant headache in the Big Apple.

Reboulet, who hasn't started since June 19, keeps running into trouble during this series with the Yankees. In either direction.

As a pinch runner for Cal Ripken Friday night, he was picked off by Andy Pettitte in the ninth inning while trying to get back to first base with the score tied. And yesterday, he was incorrectly ruled out on a force play at third in the ninth inning with the Orioles attempting to overcome a one-run deficit that matured into their 10th loss in 11 games.

"Base running's not easy, but it's just been a fluky thing," he said, sitting at his locker and balancing a plate of food after the Orioles' 4-3 loss.

Reboulet was sent into the game again yesterday to run for Ripken after a leadoff single off closer Mariano Rivera. Brady Anderson followed with a single into right field, but Reboulet got a late jump while making sure the ball cleared Luis Sojo's glove and held at second.

Chris Hoiles laid down what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt, but it turned into much more when Reboulet was called out by umpire Marty Foster on Rivera's throw even though third baseman Scott Brosius never made the catch. Foster apparently ruled that the ball came loose as Brosius was reaching for it with his bare hand, though replays showed otherwise.

Reboulet, who dived into the bag, stayed on his stomach with his head turned toward Foster as third base coach Sam Perlozzo and manager Ray Miller took up an argument that led to both their ejections. "I didn't really see the play, but I thought I saw it pop out as I was sliding by. But I can't really see that," he said.

Reboulet said he had no choice but to stop at second on Anderson's hit, especially with no outs -- a decision Perlozzo supported.

"I can't get doubled up on a line drive," Reboulet said. "I actually took a step and then I realized it was probably going to be pretty close, so I shut it down. By the time I got going again and got to the bag, it wasn't worth taking a shot at third."

The day illustrated once more how the discrepancy in speed between these clubs has contributed to the miles that separate them in the standings. The Yankees can take the extra base, can steal in situations that leave others cautious. How can the Orioles, now 8-12 in one-run games and confined to playing station-to-station baseball, catch a team that won't stand still?

"They've got a big advantage, no question," Perlozzo said. "It kind of prevents them from going in slumps. They have good pitching and in low-scoring games they seem to be able to manufacture a run if they're not hitting."

New York has gone 6-2 against the Orioles this year. Five of the games have been decided by two runs or fewer.

"They've got guys who can run and they take advantage of it," Reboulet said. "You want to put pressure on the opposing team. That's how you win games. They've got speed, but they can also take some chances. You can take a lot of chances when you're 50 games up, or whatever it is."

Select club

With yesterday's win, the Yankees became the first team in 86 years to win 60 of its first 80 games, and the fourth overall, joining the 1912 New York Giants, 1907 Chicago Cubs and 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates. A look at how those teams fared:

Team .. .. .Rec. ..Finish

'02 Pirates 103-36 Won NL title*

'07 Cubs ...107-45 Won W.Series

'12 Giants .103-48 Lost W.Series

* -- No World Series

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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