Davis pushes streak to 27 after scorer's decision DH is looking forward to return outdoors tonight


August 13, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Eric Davis notched another game on his franchise-record hitting streak yesterday, taking him to 27. For the second time in the designated hitter's last three games, it hinged on a scorer's decision.

With one out in the third inning, Davis smashed a two-hopper between the line and Tampa Bay rookie third baseman Bobby Smith. Rather than make a step in to cut off the ball's second hop, Smith remained back. The ball handcuffed him to his backhand side, causing him to whiff on a defensive stab.

O's TV immediately assumed the smash a hit; however, official scorer Alan Lewis hesitated before awarding Davis a double.

"He wanted no part of that ball," said Davis, adding he had no question about the hit's integrity.

Davis missed Tuesday night's 2-1 loss for his first game off since the All-Star break. He admitted a sense of accomplishment in extending his streak by five games on the current road trip because the Orioles have played in two domes, the Metrodome and Tropicana Field. Tonight, they return outdoors by beginning a four-game series at Jacobs Field in Cleveland.

"I don't see the ball well when I'm closed in. For some reason, I don't pick the ball up well in these places. That's why I feel real fortunate about keeping the steak. Now we got to Cleveland and I probably won't get a hit. But that's how it goes," Davis said.

Davis struck out yesterday in his first at-bat against Devil Rays starter Wilson Alvarez and appeared to injure his wrist while checking his swing. However, he had no trouble pulling the hit in his next at-bat. He finished 1-for-4.

Davis, who eclipsed first baseman Rafael Palmeiro's 24-game club record on Sunday, is enjoying the ride but said he has not begun to think about history. "I'm a long way from 56. I know where the streak is and I know Pete [Rose] had 44 in the National League. But I come to the ballpark to contribute. I expect to get a hit every time up," he said.

Most of his teammates have left Davis alone regarding his streak. Palmeiro has offered daily encouragement, but most have taken the same tack as with a pitcher carrying a no-hitter. Meanwhile, Davis now shares the season's second-longest hitting streak with Kansas City Royals second baseman Jose Offerman. Anaheim Angels outfielder Garret Anderson enjoyed a 28-game run earlier this season.

Call-ups anticipated

Though teams are permitted to carry up to 40 players when rosters expand on Sept. 1, the Orioles will likely add only "six to eight" players at month's end, club officials say.

Manager Ray Miller reiterated yesterday that he is in favor of limiting the herd, especially if the Orioles keep alive their wild-card hopes. Miller elected not to specify which players would receive a call-up but it is believed Rochester outfielder Lyle Mouton, third baseman Willis Otanez and infielder P. J. Forbes will be promoted along with Bowie third baseman Ryan Minor and first baseman Calvin Pickering.

Mouton's contract specifies that he receive a September call-up. Otanez is challenging for the International League lead in home ZTC runs and Miller is enamored with Forbes' versatility and work ethic. Pickering has overcome a brutal start to challenge for the Eastern League lead in home runs while leading in RBIs. Minor, who has endured a rough transition at Double-A, hung with the Orioles throughout spring training and is still rated the organization's top prospect.

Other eligibles include pitchers Rocky Coppinger, Chris Fussell and Radhames Dykhoff along with second baseman Jerry Hairston.

Miller meets with umps

Before the game, Miller met for the second time in three days with American League supervisor of umpires Marty Springstead, this time with crew chief Jim McKean to discuss measures that might be taken to prevent a repeat of Tuesday night's call that denied Harold Baines a two-run home run.

McKean's four-man crew thought Baines' sixth-inning hit bounced off the outfield wall while replays showed it cleared the left-center field fence. The call cost the Orioles a run in a 2-1 loss. Miller reiterated a suggestion that a fifth umpire be added to each crew in order to overrule such erroneous calls. He suggested the additional umpire sit with a replay similar to what the NHL uses on debatable- goal rulings.

"I don't know what the answer is unless baseball will pop for a fifth official upstairs, which wouldn't be a bad job," Miller said. "Maybe you could get retired umpires who want one more year and they can get the year doing that."

The Orioles have been stung four times on controversial home- run rulings this year. Because it is a judgment call, Tuesday's error was not subject to protest.

"They don't like to go home and watch ESPN and have everybody say they got it wrong. They want to get it right," said Miller. "It's very, very tough to tell."

Around the horn

Tuesday night's three hits in a 2-1 loss tied a season low. The Orioles' other brownout came against Philadelphia Phillies starter Matt Beech, Wayne Gomes and Mark Leiter on June 9. Disabled reliever Arthur Rhodes completed another side session in the bullpen before yesterday's game and will be sent on a rehab assignment this weekend rather than accompanying the team to Cleveland. McKean sought out Tuesday night's starter, Scott Kamieniecki, after reading comments attributed to the pitcher in yesterday's St. Petersburg Times. "Just another example of an umpire not getting out there and not doing his job. Flat out, absolutely missed the call, and it cost us the game," said Kamieniecki, referring to Baines' homer-turned-double.

Pub Date: 8/13/98

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