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Oates calls 911 and gets Tackett


DETROIT -- Help.

They need somebody.


Not just anybody.

When Sut was younger, so much younger than today . . .

Where's Paul? Where's Ringo? Where's the next sacrificial lamb from Rochester?

Six zillion pitchers are available in this expansion season, and the Orioles can't find a mop-up man.

The job description now reads: "Must not allow back-to-back homers."

Brad Pennington, you're fired.

Anthony Telford, you're fired.

Jeff Tackett, come on down!

After last night's 15-5 loss, manager Johnny Oates insisted he wouldn't need to recall another Triple-A pitcher for today's series finale against Detroit.

Of course not.

"I've got Tackett," Oates said.

Yes, the Tackster, he of the .197 batting average and 0.00 ERA. He worked a scoreless eighth inning last night, allowing one cheap hit and one measly walk in the first pitching appearance by an Orioles position player since Todd Cruz in 1984.

"Anybody have a radar gun out there?" Tackett asked his teammates in the trainer's room.

A group of reporters stood outside, patiently awaiting the man who silenced the mighty Tigers.

"You guys have reached a new low," Brady Anderson said.

Not us, Brady.

Not us.

To think, this series began with a stunning performance by Arthur Rhodes and the Orioles moving within a half-game of first place.

Now, they've allowed 30 runs in the past two games, tying a record for their most in back-to-back contests, previously set in 1978.

They're 2 1/2 games out.

And they look like the Colorado Rockies.

The Orioles actually grabbed a 1-0 lead last night, but it took Sutcliffe only seven pitches to give it back, and 25 pitches to fall behind 5-1.

Hey, at least he didn't allow a homer.

That was Telford's department.

Oates spoke glowingly of him before the game, saying, "the last 10 innings, the people down there [at Rochester] were saying that's the best they've ever seen him throw."

What scouting.

Telford's line:

IP 3 1/3 , H 9, ER 8, HR 3.

Hey, at least he didn't walk anybody.

Telford allowed the nightly grand slam by Dan Gladden, a mammoth blast by Travis Fryman and another homer by Kirk Gibson in a span of five batters.

The hang time on Fryman's homer was longer than Telford's flight from Rochester. For good measure, Telford mixed in a hit batsman and wild pitch.

Your thoughts, Anthony?

"No chance, man. No chance."

Fernando Valenzuela starts today, and it would be helpful if he could escape the first inning. Oates said Jim Poole, Todd Frohwirth and Alan Mills are available, along with Cy Young, I mean, Tackett.

The plan last night was for Mark Williamson to pitch only in an emergency. Hey, it's a game of adjustments. Williamson, suffering from a muscle knot in his back, was on the mound by the fifth inning.

In two nights, the Orioles' ERA has risen from 4.03 to 4.22. The Tigers were in a 13-32 slide entering Tuesday's game. Suddenly, they're back to being the '27 Yankees -- and Cecil Fielder doesn't even have a hit in this series.

You've heard of Home Run Baker? Meet Grand Slam Gladden, the 13th player in major-league history to hit a slam in back-to-back games. One more today, and the record is his alone.

Then there's Scott Livingstone. He hit his first career triple Tuesday, and had his first career four-hit game last night. But the wily Tackett pitched around him in the eighth, walking him on five pitches.

"I looked at him and smiled, but he put his face behind his glove," said Livingstone, who played with Tackett in the Triple-A All-Star Game last season. "I didn't know if he was laughing or bearing down."

Stupid Livingstone. When Tackett entered the game, the Tiger Stadium scoreboard short-circuited, flashing, "Orioles defensive change: Tackett at catcher."

But there Tackett was, hunched over on the mound, hands behind his back, the better to hide his grip.

"He was throwing pretty good," said Tony Phillips, who flied to center.

Three men on third base, Gregg Olson hitting and Tackett pitching, all in one season.


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