One win, five losses. It’s another funky week for the Orioles, who dropped seven straight in May before roaring back. June ends with manager Joe Altobelli’s team at 40-33, two games back of Toronto. Five times now, the Orioles have fallen from first place, with more lead changes to come.
Detroit takes two of three games, including a 9-0 victory Altobelli calls “the most embarrassing performance we’ve had this season.” The announced crowd of 25,796 agrees, raining boos on the team at Memorial Stadium. The Orioles escape to New York, to be swept by the Yankees, twice in 4-3 extra-inning walk-off victories. In both games, closer Tim Stoddard is the goat.
The only win is a lulu — a near no-hitter for right-hander Storm Davis, the youngest Oriole who handcuffs the Tigers, 3-1. His only mistake: a home-run pitch to Rick Leach, to the first batter in the ninth inning. Cal Ripken Jr. and Al Bumbry connect for Baltimore, and Bumbry makes a leaping, over-the-shoulder catch at the fence in the eighth inning to keep Davis’ gem alive.
Fed up with failures, the Orioles banish pitcher Dennis Martinez (4-11) to the bullpen and ship Leo Hernandez, their sieve-handed third baseman, to the minors. He’s replaced by Todd Cruz, newly acquired from the Seattle Mariners, who’ll play a crucial role down the stretch for the soon-to-be world champs.