One more start was too many for Telford

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

NEW YORK -- Righthander Anthony Telford has worked 186 innings this season coming off shoulder surgery, and Orioles manager Frank Robinson wanted to shut him down rather than let him pitch last night.

Telford, however, told Robinson he wanted to make one more start. His wife Christine was planning to accompany him to New York, but only if he pitched in the three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Good intentions, bad execution.

"That's the last time I let a wife influence my decision to let a guy play, pitch, whatever," Robinson joked after Telford failed to retire any of the six hitters he faced in last night's 15-3 loss to New York.

Telford, 24, allowed a leadoff homer to Roberto Kelly, then five straight singles -- one an infield hit, one a blooper. Mickey Weston replaced him and gave up a single and three-run homer to Randy Velarde.

The eight straight hits to open the game tied a major-league record, and the eight runs with no outs at the start tied an AL mark last set 30 years ago -- also by the Yankees, also against the Orioles.

Telford's performance, meanwhile, recalled that of former Orioles righthander Mike Morgan, who also faced six batters without retiring any at Kansas City for Loss No. 16 of the O-21 streak in April 1988.

Morgan allowed six singles and was replaced by Dave Schmidt, who allowed one more before finally getting an out. The Orioles traded Morgan to Los Angeles for outfielder Mike Devereaux the next spring.

Anyway, it took just 19 pitches for Telford's ERA to increase from 3.47 to 4.95 (his record dropped to 3-3). He is expected to start next season at Rochester. He has pitched only one game at Triple A, in '87.

* PITCHING, PITCHING: Bob Milacki will make his first start since July 30 on Saturday in Cleveland. Robinson said the candidates to pitch Sunday include Dan Boone and four relievers who worked last night -- Weston, Mike Smith, Dorn Taylor and John Mitchell.

Jose Mesa, Dave Johnson and Ben McDonald are still scheduled to face Toronto next week, but Robinson said he would scratch Mesa if the Blue Jays eliminate Boston over the weekend. That scenario is unlikely, but it could result in a second September start for Jeff Ballard.

Pitching coach Al Jackson said he would be satisfied if Ballard worked five innings tonight in his first start since July 16. Ballard, however, said his goal is nine. "It's the end of the year, why not?" he asked, smiling. "What am I saving it for?"

As usual, Ballard was in a good mood. Asked about the friends he made in the bullpen, he said, "I called down there last night and asked if they missed me. I didn't know if they'd make it without me, their fearless leader. But it looked like they were getting along fine."

The other day Ballard joked about going to arbitration with his 2-10 record. Yesterday he came up with another brilliant idea. "If I start every game the next nine days, I'll still have a chance to end up above .500," he said. "It would be my last hurrah."

* RIPKEN REPORT: Cal Ripken is one homer shy of becoming only the 12th player in major-league history to hit 20 in each of his first nine full seasons. The most recent player to do it was Eddie Murray, who did it for the Orioles from 1977-85.

The others: Eddie Mathews (14 straight), Billy Williams (13)Reggie Jackson (13), Frank Robinson (12), Rocky Colavito (11), Joe DiMaggio (10), Ted Williams (10), Bob Johnson (9), Ralph Kiner (9) and Dick Allen (9).

Mark McGwire is the only player to hit 30 in each of his first four full seasons. Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt are among the members of the 500-homer club who did not make the list. Ruth, remember, began his career as a pitcher.

Including this year, Dale Murphy is the only active player who has hit 20 nine straight seasons. Ripken would be the second, but he's keeping his fingers crossed. "After it's all over, you can ask me about it," he said. "Let's not think about it in the meantime."

* AND BILL? It's one thing that second baseman Bill Ripken has batted .299 since May 1 when his average was .191. But Ripken's most impressive statistic this season might be his 25 doubles, two shy of the club lead held by Cal.

Ripken has as many doubles as Cecil Fielder, and more than the following AL players: George Bell (24), Julio Franco (24), Tom Brunansky (23), Fred McGriff (21), Jesse Barfield (20), Alvin Davis (19), McGwire (16), Bo Jackson (14) and Jose Canseco (13).

* PROSPECT OF THE DAY: Baseball America rated Class A shortstop Ricky Gutierrez sixth on its list of Top 10 prospects in the Carolina League. Five years ago the list included major leaguers Bobby Bonds, Keith Miller, Jerry Browne, Eric Yelding and Dave Martinez.

Gutierrez, 20, batted .275 with one homer and 46 RBIs this season at Frederick. "His defense is at times spectacular," Baseball America said, "but on the routine plays there's a fine line between smooth and lackadaisical."

Durham manager Grady Little said, "He can be as good as he wants to be. I can see him as the guy who pushes Cal Ripken off of shortstop over there in Baltimore in a couple of years. Gutierrez makes those showtime kind of plays."

To think, scouts rate his tools behind those of 19-year-old Manny Alexander, who sat out most of the year with injuries and is now in the Instructional League. Both players are projected as better long-range prospects than 22-year-old Juan Bell, who substituted for Ripken Jr. last night and went 0-for-2.

* AROUND THE HORN: Forget last night: Let's play 12. The Orioles lead the majors with a 13-4 record in extra innings, and are 22-7 during the last two seasons. The last time they won this many games in extra innings was 1977, when they went 15-8. The club record of 16 was set in 1970.

Kevin Maas hit his 20th homer 438 feet off Weston. Only three Yankees rookie have hit more -- Joe DiMaggio (29), Bobby Murcer (26) and Joe Gordon (25). The amazing thing about Maas is that he has hit all of his since July 4. His total projected over 500 at-bats is 42.

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