A dangerous April continues for the Orioles. Last night their losses were potentially crushing.
It wasn't enough that the Orioles lost a 2-1 marathon to the Boston Red Sox in 12 innings. They watched in horror as the disabled list again took a swipe at Brady Anderson.
In a worst-case scenario come true, Anderson aggravated the cracked rib that almost forced him to the disabled list earlier this month when he slammed into the center-field wall in the fifth inning. The night became a total loss for the Orioles seven innings later when shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who had driven Anderson into the wall, homered against Terry Mathews with two outs in the 12th.
Now almost forced into a roster move, the Orioles pick themselves up today and look for the healthy.
"You run into that wall, you can get injured. But like I said, when I'm out there playing I'm not thinking about it. It's a play I normally make. It's a play where I might have injured it even before," said Anderson.
Anderson left the game after batting in the eighth to undergo X-rays. The pictures showed the original fracture but no additional break, Anderson said.
Just as importantly, Anderson will have to provide manager Davey Johnson and general manager Pat Gillick some idea today. If Anderson cannot at least serve as designated hitter, the Orioles likely will be forced to place B.J. Surhoff on the disabled list and activate Tony Tarasco, who joined the club on Wednesday. The club had planned to wait as long as a week for Surhoff's pulled groin to improve.
Anderson doggedly refused to leave the lineup when the season started. Hurt worse by last night's incident, he took a more cautious approach.
"I might have to [DH] for a few days. I might have to take a day or two off. We'll just see how it feels," said Anderson.
"At first, I thought there was no way the ball was going that far," said starter Scott Kamieniecki, whose seven strong innings were overshadowed by Anderson's reinjury. "He kept going back and I thought he was going to catch it. I was surprised when it took him to the wall. I wish he hadn't caught it if it meant we'd have him [today]."
"A wall like that doesn't give at all. I was running at full speed," Anderson said.
Anderson said he didn't remove himself because of pain but because of the game situation. When Chris Hoiles homered off Jim Corsi to force a 1-1 game in the eighth inning, Anderson thought he wouldn't be able to make a strong throw to challenge a run.
While Anderson winced in the clubhouse, the Red Sox made the Orioles hurt some more with Garciaparra. The loss dropped the Orioles to 12-6 and allowed the Red Sox within two games of their division lead.
Rick Trlicek (3-4) gained the win and Butch Henry covered the last two outs for his fourth save.
The Orioles finished the game without an extra outfielder on the bench and injured Jerome Walton in left field. Pete Incaviglia could have been transported from designated hitter or reliever Mike Johnson installed as an extreme option. A promising April now turns scary.
"We don't have much of a bench right now," conceded Johnson.
Nearly buried by the frantic ending was Red Sox starter Chris Hammond's overpowering six-inning emergency start and the work of Kamieniecki, no longer looked upon as a stopgap.
Hammond earned $1.6 million in 1995 with the Florida Marlins before collapsing last season. He was 2-6 in nine starts and in one 12-day span covering three starts survived only 4 1/3 innings, allowing 18 hits, 19 earned runs and five home runs. "Those were the worst three starts anybody in the history of baseball ever made," was Hammond's description after signing a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Red Sox last winter.
The Red Sox lured Hammond with the opportunity to again start. That opportunity never arrived this spring. Only concern over Tim Wakefield's elbow pushed him into last night's start, his first after eight relief appearances.
The Orioles touched him for only two hits in six innings.
Needing only 89 pitches, Kamieniecki went seven innings and allowed one run. The pitchers' duel was an unexpected find in a matchup of two projected Opening Day relievers. Kamieniecki was making his fourth start. Hammond was making his first because of Wakefield's tender elbow.
For seven innings, Kamieniecki suffered a flashback. While with the New York Yankees in 1994, he had lost, 1-0, to the Red Sox.
How unusual was the setting? The Red Sox hadn't participated in a 1-0 game since May 30, 1995. For the Orioles, it had been a whole week.
Hoiles' third homer also put the game into the bullpen, where the Orioles enjoy a clear advantage over the Red Sox. Arthur Rhodes followed Kamieniecki with four powerful innings in which he struck out five.
"He threw as many pitches  as he had all year," Johnson said of Rhodes. "I didn't want to hurt him. We should have scored a run in those four innings but we couldn't."
The Orioles' best chance passed in the ninth. Rafael Palmeiro singled to lead off the ninth against Heathcliff Slocumb and moved to second when Eric Davis walked. Cal Ripken extended only his second hitless game of the season with a double play that advanced Palmeiro to third. Incaviglia grounded to third to end the threat.
Opponent: Boston Red Sox
Site: Oriole Park
TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Red Sox's Tom Gordon (1-2, 3.42) vs. O's Jimmy Key (3-0, 1.35) or Scott Erickson (2-1, 4.19)
Tickets: 4,500 available
Pub Date: 4/25/97