Expectations remain guarded, despite winning road trip


For the first time this year the Orioles have returned home with a winning record on a road trip that took them to more than one city.

"It's a start," said manager John Oates, who won't admit to any expectations he might have about what his team can accomplish. "Sometimes it does creep into my thoughts, but we dug such a big hole for ourselves that we just have to concentrate on going out every day and earning some respect by showing we can win."

Shortstop Cal Ripken, whose three hits last night gave him a major league-leading 35 multi-hit games and increased his American League-leading average to .355, expressed the same feeling in a slightly different way.

"We had big expectations at the start of the season," said Ripken, "and we had some big injuries. Plus we didn't play well as a team.

"We dug ourselves a big hole and now we're trying to dig our way out. It seems that instead of making the season a goal, we have to make each game a goal.

"We just have to go out and win as many as we can, then in September look back and see where we are. The problem with looking ahead is you get caught up in expectations, then if they aren't fulfilled there's a lot of disappointment," said Ripken.

"There's still a lot left in the season, and we don't know what will transpire."

As for his own personal situation, Ripken figures the less he says about his success the better. "Let's just say that it feels a lot better at this time of the year than it did a year ago," he said. "I like this situation a whole lot better."

* NO. 5 PICK SIGNS: Jim Wawruck, a lefthanded-hitting outfielder from the University of Vermont has signed with the Orioles.

A fifth-round draft choice, Wawruck's .392 career average is an all-time record at Vermont. His .522 slugging percentage is second only to -- of all people -- California Angels pitcher Kirk McCaskill, who had a .561 mark.

The Orioles have signed nine of their first 10 picks, with only top choice Mark Smith still unsigned.

* MOOSE STILL ON LOOSE: Randy Milligan had his second four-hit day of the week last night, which qualifies him as one of the league's hottest hitters.

"I've said all along that Randy Milligan is not a .220 hitter and that I expect him to be around .280 before the season is over," said Oates. Milligan has 14 runs batted in during the last 13 games.

Milligan is now hitting .267, with 32 RBIs, second highest total on the team behind Ripken's 47.

* THIS 'N THAT: Mark Whiten and Glenallen Hill, the two outfielders obtained from Toronto for Tom Candiotti, had impressive debuts with the Indians last night, getting two hits apiece.

Bob Milacki (4-2) came within one out of recording the third complete game of the season for the Orioles, but Gregg Olson got the last out with the bases loaded to record his 14th save. Milacki has now won three in a row, spread over five starts.

The Orioles (28-42 overall) are 15-18 under Oates. After breaking an 0-for-18 streak Sunday in Kansas City, Ripken has hit .500 (12-for-24).

Bob Melvin had two hits and a pair of intentional walks and ran his hitting streak to six games last night. Mike Devereaux (double and triple) has hit safely in nine of 10 games.

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