Orioles reserve catcher Gregg Zaun doesn't want to let an on-field opportunity go unexploited. He made his second appearance of the weekend and again came up big at the plate.
It was Zaun's two-out single in the 10th inning that won Friday night's series opener against the Oakland Athletics, and he was the biggest offensive contributor in yesterday's 6-1 victory in the series finale at Camden Yards.
Zaun doubled in two runs and scored one in the Orioles' four-run second inning, then took a pitch off his ankle and scored another run in the sixth. Not bad for a guy who has made only those two appearances in the past eight days.
"You want to [contribute] as often as you can," Zaun said, "because you want them to have confidence in you. I want to be in the big leagues next year, so when I get an opportunity, I want to perform."
Zaun, like everybody else, wants to play regularly, but he knows the ticket to more playing time is getting something out of less.
"It's really just a matter of preparation," he said. "[Coaches] John Stearns and Elrod Hendricks work with me as much as they can to keep me sharp. You never know what's going to happen."
Ripken's latest milestone
Cal Ripken played in his 2,200th consecutive game yesterday, and he played it at shortstop. Manager Davey Johnson would shed no more light on his timetable for playing Ripken at third base, but it figures to be tomorrow night in Seattle if it happens at all.
Johnson said on Friday that "it will happen," but the benefits of moving Ripken diminish with each day that B. J. Surhoff gets closer to returning from the disabled list.
Surhoff is eligible to come off Sunday. Johnson speculated Friday that Surhoff might be the designated hitter while regaining strength in his sprained left ankle, but indicated yesterday that Surhoff could go right back to third if he continues to make good progress rehabilitating the injury.
"He's not going to run until Tuesday," Johnson said. "We'll see how he reacts on Tuesday. As hard as he works, he'll be as far along as anybody with his workout."
Former Orioles prospect Bobby Chouinard had one bad inning in his major-league debut, but it was a big one. He gave up four runs in the second and left the game in the Orioles' two-run sixth.
"I wasn't really nervous," said Chouinard, who was traded to the Athletics in the 1993 deal that brought Harold Baines to the Orioles. "I just wanted to get out there and get going."
A's manager Art Howe couldn't have liked the outcome, but he was satisfied with the 24-year-old right-hander's effort.
"The kid pitched well," Howe said. "He kept the ball down, changed speeds and threw a good changeup."
Defense doesn't rest
The Orioles extended their streak of errorless games to eight yesterday and have committed an error in only one of their past 11 games.
Play of the day: Second baseman Roberto Alomar and shortstop Ripken teamed up to rob A's designated hitter Pedro Munoz of a hit in the second inning. Munoz hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that Alomar fielded on the run and flipped to Ripken, who made the relay to first for a 4-6-3 single play.
Right-hander Scott Erickson still is tentatively scheduled to start the opener of the club's five-game West Coast trip to Seattle and California. He'll face Mariners right-hander Bob Wolcott tomorrow night at the Kingdome if nothing changes between now and then.
"To the best of my knowledge, he'll pitch," Johnson said. "He's still limping a little bit, but I think he'll be all right."
Erickson has been sidelined since he suffered a sprained ankle playing pepper May 13 in Oakland. The injury has cost him two starts.
The Orioles have two hitters with double-figure hitting streaks. Alomar's run-scoring double stretched his hitting streak to 12 games and kept his batting average above .400 (.401). Brady Anderson remains hot, too. His two-hit performance stretched his hitting streak to 10 games and raised his batting average to .325.
Third base coach Sam Perlozzo is scheduled to fly back to Maryland and miss Wednesday night's game against the Mariners to attend his daughter's graduation. Stearns will move from first to third base in Perlozzo's absence.
Around the horn
The Orioles have won 11 of 15 after going through a 4-15 stretch. . . . Luis Polonia has three multi-RBI games in eight starts this season. . . . The A's Todd Van Poppel, who gave up a run-scoring single to Polonia and a sacrifice fly by Alomar, previously had stranded all 11 inherited runners this season.
Pub Date: 5/27/96