Mussina gets chance at West Coast 'cousins'

THE BALTIMORE SUN

If there were Emmys in baseball, playing the Oakland Athletics surely would capture the Best Opportunity For Mike Mussina To Pick Up A Win category.

The Orioles ace, who boasts a 13-4 record with a 2.94 ERA, has enjoyed considerable success against the A's throughout his four-year career. This season, Mussina is undefeated in two starts with a 4.29 ERA against Oakland.

Tonight, Mussina gets another whack at the A's and his opposition is an unknown factor. Mike Mohler will be making his first 1994 appearance.

The Orioles right-hander gave up only one run and five hits in seven innings July 8 in a 13-3 win over the Athletics at Camden Yards. On April 25, Mussina surrendered six runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings, but was supported by eight runs from his teammates for an 8-6 win.

Last year, Mussina was just as dominant against Oakland. He was 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA. Lifetime against the A's, Mussina is 6-1 with a 3.16 ERA.

Some of the most feared Oakland sluggers have had their share of tribulations against Mussina. First baseman Mark McGwire has a woeful .167 average (1-for-6) with two strikeouts against Mussina. Right fielder Ruben Sierra is 7-for-29 for a .241 average. Center fielder Rickey Henderson has only four hits in 15 at-bats (.267) with two strikeouts.

Three A's batters, however, have fared well against Mussina. Stan Javier, who plays both center and left field, is batting a healthy .429 (3-for-7) off Mussina. Second baseman Steve Sax is 5-for-14 (.357), and catcher Terry Steinbach has four hits in 12 at-bats (.333).

Mussina has been on a three-game tear this past month. His last loss was a 6-1 setback at home against the American League East-leading New York Yankees June 16. Since then, Mussina has beaten Milwaukee, Toronto, and most recently California by a score of 14-7 on July 1 at Camden Yards.

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