SEATTLE -- Randy Milligan would like to be able to look back fondly on this year, but a lot is going to have to go right during the next few weeks to save his season.
He has rebounded from a lengthy slump to go 9-for-19 during the past five games, but it will take a lot more than that for him to finish with a representative statistical performance. So Milligan is aiming instead at the one thing that would make 1992 a success no matter what -- a division title.
"If we make the playoffs or happen to go further," he said, "that would make this season the greatest ever."
Milligan wants to be the one who helps put the Orioles over the top.
He played a prominent role in each of two victories against the California Angels last week and he had four hits in Saturday night's victory over the Seattle Mariners.
The Orioles have been getting a large share of their offensive production from Brady Anderson and Mike Devereaux, but Milligan wants to be the man.
"I think everyone looks at it that way," he said. "You've got to say to yourself, I'm going to be the guy tonight. I feel that if I can get my bat going, I can do that."
When right-hander Mike Mussina takes the mound tonight in the series opener against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum, it will be the first time he has pitched in the Bay Area since he was a star pitcher for Stanford University.
Mussina has faced the A's twice at home. He is 1-1 against them and has held the heart of the Oakland lineup -- Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Harold Baines -- to one hit in 18 at-bats.
Anderson still swinging
Anderson tripled in the first inning to break an 0-for-8 streak in the series.
Anderson went hitless in back-to-back games for the first time since May 22-23. He has not gone three straight games without a hit this year.
A closing argument
How important is good defense? The Orioles are 17-37 in games in which they make an error. They are 55-21 in the games they don't.
Sam Horn is 1-for-28 with one RBI since July 5. . . . Catcher Chris Hoiles has hit safely in six straight games. . . . Cal Ripken had two hits and raised his career average at the Kingdome to .324. . . . Devereaux's single in the first drove in Anderson and increased his team-high RBI total to 89.