'Pen blots lead again in 11-7 loss

Orioles' Johns, Fetters help Phils to 6-run 6th

Bones blows later tie

DL likely Fetters' next stop

Guzman leaves up 5-1, yields 9 of Phils' 19 hits

June 07, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

To entertain fans at Camden Yards before the last three games, the Orioles have been showing highlights on the video screen from their 1983 World Series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Too bad that reality, in the form of their 1999 bullpen, kept slicing through the warm feelings.

The cuts ran deep yesterday. Handed a four-run lead, Doug Johns and Mike Fetters crafted a six-run sixth inning for the Phillies. And placed on level ground in the seventh after the Orioles rallied to tie, Ricky Bones took a nasty spill, allowing a two-run homer to Mike Lieberthal in Philadelphia's 11-7 victory over the Orioles before 47,833 mostly dissatisfied customers.

Adding the appropriate punctuation, Rocky Coppinger replaced Bones in the ninth and was taken deep by Lieberthal, who also doubled twice yesterday and went 7-for-14 in the series with three homers and eight RBIs.

The news didn't get any better after the game. Fetters appears headed for the disabled list with what club officials initially have termed a right elbow strain. Rather than accompany the Orioles to Florida, he will be examined in Baltimore tomorrow.

Assistant general manager Bruce Manno said the club probably can't wait until after getting the results to make a roster move, since Fetters most likely would remain unavailable for a period longer than the Orioles can afford.

Fetters said his elbow began to throb while warming in the bullpen, but he dismissed it as "normal stiffness." He replaced Johns in the sixth and walked the first batter he faced, Alex Arias, before allowing an RBI grounder by Kevin Jordan and a two- run homer to Scott Rolen that gave Philadelphia a 7-5 lead.

"I just know it doesn't feel right. It makes a frustrating season even more frustrating," he said.

"I have no excuses. I just threw bad today. I hung a pitch to Scott Rolen and he put it where any good hitter would put it. They didn't miss one mistake and we made a lot of them, especially myself. It didn't bother me enough to tell them to take me out of the game. If it had been so excruciating that I couldn't pitch, I would have said something, but I was still able to go out there and try to do my job.

"Maybe if I did say something we wouldn't have been down two runs. That was a bonehead play on my part. I should have said something, but I felt I was strong enough to go out there"

Manager Ray Miller had enough surprises by that point. He learned from medical personnel about a half-hour before the game that left-hander Arthur Rhodes, who walked the only three batters he faced Saturday, was unavailable because of back stiffness. And a bullpen that began the day with a 5.66 ERA and eight blown saves in 17 chances was put at a greater disadvantage.

"I was told if we didn't use him today, he would be all right for tomorrow, which I got a little upset about," Miller said as his club prepared to take a 21-34 record to Florida for another interleague series. "It seems like the last year and a half, every time Art can't pitch, the bottom falls out. It does change the sequence.

"I had [Jesse] Orosco on fumes, [Mike] Timlin on fumes and Rhodes couldn't pitch."

Miller, accustomed to the television cameras seeking a reaction as another implosion occurs in the near distance, remained motionless in the dugout after Bones put the Orioles back in a two-run hole. His glare said more than any words. He's seen this happen too many times within a season of lost opportunities and lost games.

Johns replaced starter Juan Guzman to begin the sixth inning, trusted to protect a 5-1 lead. Having earned a win in each of his last two outings, he didn't record an out. Johns walked Ron Gant and allowed a single to Bobby Abreu and consecutive doubles to Lieberthal and pinch-hitter Kevin Sefcik to draw the Phillies within 5-4. Fetters couldn't stop the damage, and after Charles Johnson hit a two-run homer in the sixth to tie the score, Bones (0-2) brought more frustration.

"I had a chance to help us win and didn't get the job done," Johns said. "I didn't want to walk the leadoff man, especially with a four-run lead. I was trying to get the ball down and get a ground ball. After that, the pitches weren't too bad, but they did a nice job of hitting."

The Phillies were proficient at it all through the series. The Orioles were raked for 44 hits, including 19 yesterday, and go to Florida having lost five of their last seven games.

"The 6, 7, 8, 9 [hitters] got 11 hits, two walks and scored eight runs. That's pathetic, absolutely pathetic," Miller said.

Cal Ripken's two-out homer in the second inning, the 389th of his career, erased a 1-0 Phillies lead and moved him into a tie with Johnny Bench for 33rd place on baseball's all-time list. He's also tied with Dan Brouthers for 47th place in runs scored with 1,523.

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