OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Orioles could handle the lopsided defeat yesterday. They still got out of Oakland with three victories in a demanding five-game series and went home with 14 victories in their last 20 games. The losses that don't count in the standings were a lot more painful.
The club lost Jeffrey Hammonds for four to six weeks with a sprained left knee on Thursday and found out Friday that right-hander Roger McDowell would be lost for the season with a sore shoulder. The injury situation got worse yesterday, when catcher Chris Hoiles had to be removed in the fourth inning with a strained groin muscle in his right leg.
Hoiles felt it grab when he tried to throw out a base stealer in the second inning. He felt it get worse when he had to lunge out of a crouch to snag an outside pitch by rookie reliever Esteban Yan.
"It was a slight pull to the groin," manager Davey Johnson said. "It just got a little tight on him. I hope it's just day-to-day. I hope he'll be in there [tomorrow]."
The injury came at a bad time for Hoiles and the Orioles. The catcher had turned his season around after the All-Star break, hitting nine home runs with 26 RBIs in his last 29 games. His career-high 13-game hitting streak ended on Saturday, but he was one of the main architects of the recent 14-4 run that ushered the Orioles back into playoff contention.
"I'm all right," Hoiles said. "I just didn't want it to get worse."
The Athletics did not lament his parting. He came into yesterday's game with seven hits in the series, including a double and three home runs. He also scored five runs and drove in five as the Orioles scored 37 runs in the first three games of the series.
Oakland also took advantage of an ailing David Wells (sore back) to score seven runs before there was an out in the second inning, four in the first and three on a home run by Scott Brosius in the second. Wells did not make any excuses, but Johnson revealed the left-hander was pitching with the sore back.
Wells said later that he woke up in Oakland on Thursday in tremendous pain, but credited the Orioles trainers with getting him to the point where it was not a major factor in yesterday's performance.
"I woke up and it was killing me," Wells said. "I couldn't even touch my toes, but the trainers did a great job. In comparison to Thursday, I could have done a back flip today."
Pub Date: 8/19/96