O's Davis strikes out in bid to extend run Done after 30, outfielder cites not knowing pitchers

Orioles Notebook

Miller limits extra hitting

August 17, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- Right fielder Eric Davis traveled home light last night on the Orioles' charter. He left behind a career keepsake and the longest hitting streak the majors have seen this season.

Limping from a sore hamstring and admittedly confused by seeing Cleveland starter Jaret Wright for the first time, Davis suffered an 0-for-3 night that incinerated his hitting streak at 30 games, almost twice as long as his previous personal best and the 36th 30-game streak in major-league history.

Davis struck out swinging twice against Wright, a power-throwing right-hander, and once against cross-firing reliever Steve Reed. Davis batted .400 (52-for-130) during the streak, which beat the previous season high by three games, with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. He left Jacobs Field without regrets.

"That's the first time I'd faced him. I'd only watched him on TV," Davis said. "He gave me a couple pitches I should've hit, but you really don't know a guy until you step in the batter's box. I chased a couple pitches I shouldn't have chased. I got a little too anxious a couple times. That comes from not knowing what a guy is going to do in certain situations."

Manager Ray Miller insisted that he would have lifted Davis for a defensive replacement in a tie game, regardless of whether he had hit safely in the ninth. The problem never arose, however, as Rafael Palmeiro flied out to the left-field warning track with the bases loaded to end the game.

"You can't ask for anything but the opportunity. I was kind of selfish. I was hoping he would walk or get hit with a pitch or something. At least I could have gotten another chance," Davis said.

Davis had extended the streak with four hits Saturday, the 16th ** multi-hit game during his run. He started the streak by becoming the first Oriole ever to drive in 10 runs in three consecutive weeks.

A key to the streak's longevity had been Davis' refusal to expand his strike zone. He reverted against both Wright and Reed last night, striking out against Reed in the eighth inning on a pitch he insisted was a ball.

"I didn't think it was my last chance. I was just hoping for an opportunity. As it was, I was only inches away," Davis said.

Extra hitting limited

On orders from Miller, cutbacks were decreed this weekend in the amount of extra hitting taken by some players. Starting position players were prohibited from participating in early hitting yesterday as a tonic for what the manager construed as weariness.

Miller became worried at the start of the Indians series about left fielder B. J. Surhoff, one of three Orioles to have played in all 123 games. Surhoff entered the series fighting an 11-for-51 slump since July 29 and appeared to have enlarged his hitting zone.

To Miller, much of Surhoff's frustration stemmed from regular early hitting that may also have left him "arm weary." Surhoff cut back Friday and Saturday and finished the series 4-for-10 with two doubles.

"It's always available to whoever wants it," hitting coach Rick Down said of early hitting. "However, if it reaches the point where it detracts from a player's game performance, then you certainly don't want to push it."

Kamieniecki to be examined

Only hours after going six-plus innings against the Indians, Scott Kamieniecki was to have his problematic disk condition evaluated by a Cleveland specialist last night. Kamieniecki was on the disabled list with a bulging disk from May 23 to July 24. While sidelined he underwent traction and still experiences discomfort in the area. Last night's start was his fourth since leaving the disabled list.

Miller remains concerned enough about Kamieniecki's condition that when asked last week about his starting rotation he did not project the right-hander beyond last night.

The Orioles intend to activate left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes as early as tonight. Rhodes has been on the DL since July 5 with a strained flexor tendon in his left elbow and made a successful two-inning rehab start for Triple-A Rochester at Richmond on Saturday. Rhodes surrendered three hits, one walk and one earned run in the outing, facing 10 hitters. The corresponding move will likely be returning Bobby Munoz to Rochester.

Doug Drabek remains on the DL with a strained left hamstring and is eligible to be activated but no move is seen as imminent.

Around the horn

The Orioles are a staggering 19-3 since the All-Star break when scoring first, though they did so and lost last night. En route to the ALCS in 1996, the Orioles had a 66-56 record after 122 games and trailed the Chicago White Sox by two games for the AL wild card. They are 65-58. With 34, the Orioles fell five runs short of tying the club record for most runs scored in a four-game series. They scored 39 runs while blasting the Chicago White Sox 5-2, 12-3, 9-0 and 13-2 at Comiskey Park on June 13-15, 1969.

Pub Date: 8/17/98

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