MINNEAPOLIS -- The Orioles again exhibited signs of reclaiming a solid starting rotation last night. Too bad they needed staples for the bullpen.
"It's not doing anybody any good. I want to get through at
least six," admitted Kamieniecki, who worked under manager Ray Miller's 75-pitch limit. "I wasn't very efficient with my pitches. I'd get ahead 0-2 and make a mistake. I'd get behind then I'd have to come in and pitch around some guys. It really wasn't very good."
Kamieniecki referred to himself as "wild within the strike zone." He walked two and threw a wild pitch. The two-out walk to Ron Coomer in the first inning advanced Paul Molitor, who scored on Lawton's single.
"I pretty much gave them a run there. You've got to make them hit the ball," said Kamieniecki.
The Orioles did too little with 12 hits, six for extra bases. Cal Ripken enjoyed a four-hit night and scored twice. B.J. Surhoff put the Orioles up 2-1 with a titanic blast into the right-field upper deck in the second inning. The Orioles had a hit in every inning but never received a breakout, a consistent theme to the last four weeks.
"Some guys are playing well on a given night, but we need more guys being more productive hitting and pitching," Kamieniecki said. "The pitching has not been that good the last two or three weeks. Last year we were pretty solid. If a guy didn't have a good start, the bullpen would pick us up. Or vice versa.
"The pitchers aren't giving the offense a fair shake right now."
For the visitors, it was another cruel reversal.
The Orioles took a 3-1 lead in the third inning when Brady Anderson broke an 0-for-27 skid by doubling off the Metrodome's right-field trash bag. He took third on a groundout and scored when Twins shortstop Pat Meares booted Rafael Palmeiro's grounder.
But like Hawkins, Kamieniecki found a lead slippery. Before he could get an out in the third, the Twins had forced a 3-3 tie on three consecutive hits and a Jeffrey Hammonds' error. Todd Walker led off with a double and scored when Ochoa followed with a single. Ochoa took second on a wild pitch that became huge when Molitor singled to right field. Ochoa, a former Orioles farmhand involved in the Bobby Bonilla deal, paused at third then scored on Hammonds' boot.
As he had predicted, Kamieniecki was yanked shortly after his 75th pitch. Slightly less predictable was the chaos that followed with Rhodes.
Three pitches into his 18-pitch appearance, Rhodes surrendered a home run to Lawton. "I feel fine. I just made one bad pitch," he said.
Rhodes returned with nothing for the seventh. Walker singled and Ochoa jumped Rhodes for a home run that scraped the left-field fence for a 6-4 lead. Miller then summoned Alan Mills.
The Twins' assault continued. Hardly looking like a team whose batting average had tumbled from .280 to .253 in its last 19 games, the Twins accepted two walks from Mills then bumped their lead to 7-4 on Marty Cordova's single.
"You've got to pitch the same way down two runs as if you are tied," said Mills. "You have to keep your team in the game. That didn't happen tonight."
Recent history suggested the night over. The Orioles entered 2-17 when allowing more than three runs. They left 2-18.
Opponent: Cleveland Indians
Site: Camden Yards
Time: 7: 05
TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Indians' Chad Ogea (1-1, 4.50) vs. Orioles' Doug Drabek (2-4, 7.22)
Tickets: 5,200 remain
Middle relievers Arthur Rhodes and Alan Mills were touched up last night. Mills, who had an 0.00 ERA until April 26, has struggled since with a 19.64 ERA while Rhodes was masterful until last night. A recent look:
Date .. Opp. .. .. .. .. IP .. H .. ER
5/1 ... vs. Min. (ND) .. 2 ... 2 .. 0
5/3 ... vs. Min (S) . .. 1 1/3 .. 1 .. 0
5/8 ... at T.B. (W) . .. 3 ... 0 .. 0
5/12 .. at Min. (L) . .. 2/3 4 .. 3
Tot. .. .. .. .. .. . .. 7 ... 7 .. 3
Date .. Opp. .. .. .. .. IP .. H .. ER
4/26 .. vs. Oak. (ND) .. 1 ... 4 .. 5
5/5 ... at Cle. (ND) ... 2/3 1 .. 1
5/10 .. at T.B. (L) . .. 1 ... 2 .. 1
5/12 .. at Min. (ND) ... 1 ... 2 .. 1
Tot. .. .. .. .. .. .... 3 2/3 .. 9 .. 8
Pub Date: 5/13/98