Nolan Ryan has learned not to get too satisfied with success and not to take failure to heart.
These haven't been normal times for the future Hall of Famer, with an early trip to the disabled list and a stratospheric ERA.
"I'm an optimist, but if you're some guy sitting in New York or Texas looking at the last three box scores, you're saying, 'What's wrong with Nolan Ryan?' That's only a normal reaction," said Ryan.
Ryan, who has won 314 games, pitched seven no-hitters and struck out more than 5,500 batters, worked two innings yesterday, giving up three runs, a home run and a triple. His record remained 0-1, but his ERA rose to an uncharacteristic 11.42.
Last Thursday, he lost to the Chicago White Sox, 12-1, giving up seven runs and five hits in 2 1/3 innings with five walks and three strikeouts.
After giving up the three first-inning runs yesterday, Ryan had Sam Horn at third with his first career triple and Mike Devereaux on first after being hit by a pitch and no one out.
Ryan struck out Chris Hoiles and Joe Orsulak and got Leo Gomez to pop up to shortstop.
"The older you get, the better perspective you put things in or handle them," said Ryan.
"I thought he made some quality pitches, but you don't often get a chance to score many runs off him," said Orioles manager Johnny Oates. "We had first and third with nobody out, and we didn't score. That was an important part of the ballgame."
* DIALING 8: With Cal Ripken's first-inning home run, the Orioles have homers in 10 straight games (15 overall). The team has 13 homers in its past five games at Camden Yards.
The rest of the American League has four grand slams, and the Orioles have three, all at Oriole Park in the past nine days.
Ripken's homer was the first given up by Ryan in 57 2/3 innings, since July 28, 1991, to Detroit's Travis Fryman.
* WELCOME: Actor-comedian Robert Wuhl visited Oriole Park, accompanied by NBC sportscaster Bob Costas and at the invitation of Orioles announcer Jon Miller.
Wuhl was a regular visitor to the Orioles spring training camp in St. Petersburg, Fla., in part because the camp was located across from his hotel, but also because he's a big baseball fan.
"It was fun. I had a good time. There's nothing better than spring training," said Wuhl.
Wuhl, who will not reprise his role as a reporter in the upcoming film "Batman Returns," said he was impressed with the new ballpark and with the Orioles generally.
"They've got a chance. They remind me a lot of last year's Twins. The Yankees are surprising, but they're not ready," said Wuhl.
"Sure, they [the Orioles] can win it. Toronto? They're certainly capable of blowing it at any time. They can be up seven [games] with six to play and still lose it."