Harnisch shows Robinson he's more than talk


TORONTO -- Right-hander Pete Harnisch apparently knew what he was talking about. Last week he talked manager Frank Robinson out of removing him from the starting rotation, and yesterday he came back with a strong performance against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Harnisch pitched eight innings and gave up three runs on seven hits, but two of those runs crossed the plate on the game-winning three-run homer that reliever Curt Schilling gave up to Kelly Gruber in the ninth.

"These guys are a very aggressive team, so you've got to make your pitches," said Harnisch, whose 11th victory disappeared along with the 2-0 fastball that Gruber sent over the left-field fence. "These guys will swing at pitches out of the strike zone, so you have to try and take advantage of that. I did."

He finally left the game with two on and none out in the ninth after giving up back-to-back singles to Mookie Wilson and Tony Fernandez. But eight-plus innings isn't bad for a guy who was supposed to have a tired arm.

"I do have a tired arm," Harnisch said. "I didn't have a very good warm-up at all. The velocity of the fastball wasn't there. Every time I threw the fastball, it got hit. You just have to try to stay away from the middle of the plate. I'll have to wait until next year for the velocity to come back."

Nonetheless, Robinson was impressed. He was very close last week to moving Bob Milacki into Harnisch's spot in the rotation, but relented after a short meeting with Harnisch.

"It was a very good outing on his part," Robinson said, "but the thing about it, it was wasted. We've had two real strong outings this series, and we've wasted one of them."

Harnisch did not issue a walk yesterday.

The Orioles also got a solid performance from Jose Mesa in a 5-3 victory Thursday night.

*Movie and television star Tom Selleck made another stop in his tour of major-league ballparks, taking batting practice with the Toronto Blue Jays before yesterday's game. Selleck also took BP with the Orioles recently in preparation for an upcoming movie in which he plays an aging ballplayer who decides to finish his career in Japan.

*The Orioles have scheduled their annual organizational summit meeting for the day off Thursday. Virtually every front-office employee involved in baseball operations, scouting and player development will attend the downtown gathering, from which the club will gather information that could affect the direction it takes during the off-season.

*The long-awaited September roster expansion was a complicated process. The Orioles called up six players, but asked only two -- Daniel Boone and Mike Smith -- to join the team on the road. Pitcher Mickey Weston, third baseman Leo Gomez, shortstop Juan Bell and catcher Chris Hoiles will report to Memorial Stadium tomorrow. The Orioles also recalled Eric Bell, Chris Myers and Donell Nixon, but told them not to report. Then they designated Nixon for assignment to make a place for Boone on the 40-man roster.

*Catcher Bob Melvin had two hits yesterday, raising his career average at SkyDome to .370. He singled in four at-bats Friday night.

*Blue Jays reliever Willie Blair got the victory for the second night in a row. In each case, he retired only one batter.

*Gruber has been carrying the Toronto offense of late. The three-run shot gave him 16 RBI in the past seven games and raised his team-leading RBI total to 104.

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