Orioles Hit 6 Homers, Top Angels : Mike Young Blasts 2 in Extra Innings, 8-7
DeWayne Buice sat on the floor of his dressing cubicle, his shoulder on ice and his mind numbed by the events he had just witnessed.
“I can’t believe it,” Buice mumbled over and over.
His catcher, Darrell Miller, called it the “epitome of frustration. I don’t think things can get any worse.”
His manager, Gene Mauch, paced his office like an expectant father. “Baseball is ridiculous,” he said. “Just ridiculous. “
In incredible fashion, the Angels lost their sixth straight game Thursday night, 8-7, to the Baltimore Orioles in 12 innings.
It ended on a homer that:
--Was the Orioles’ sixth home run of the evening.
--Was Mike Young’s second home run in as many at-bats in extra innings.
--Came on an 0-and-2 pitch after Young fouled off a pair of bunt attempts.
--Was a drive over the right-field fence that gave Baltimore the major league record for most home runs (56) in one month.
Young, a .150 hitter, erased a 6-5 Angel lead with a solo home run off Buice in the 10th inning to make sure there would be an 11th--and a 12th.
In the 12th, the Angels scraped together another run, giving Buice another lead to protect. But Buice walked leadoff hitter Lee Lacy on a 3-and-1 count to bring up Young again. This time, Young was called on to sacrifice.
“My job was to get the bunt down,” Young said. “I didn’t do it.”
Baltimore Manager Cal Ripken didn’t mind.
“He did a better job of hitting the ball out of the ballpark,” Ripken said.
Young did a job on a forkball. With it, Young sent the Orioles into the record book and the Angels reeling to Toronto after perhaps their most crushing defeat in a rapidly unraveling season.
This time, the Angels rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 5-1 to take leads of 6-5 and 7-6 before having the door slammed on their noses.
“That’s as hard as a bunch of players can play and come away empty,” Mauch said.
“I don’t know a hell of a lot about if there are pitchers cheating, but if I was a pitcher, I’d damn sure find a way. Just to even it up. I’ve never seen such semi-swings-- semi-swings-- go out like that in my life.”
Larry Sheets hit home runs in his first two at-bats. Rick Burleson hit his second in as many nights. Cal Ripken added a fourth, all in the first four innings against Angel starter Willie Fraser.
“That isn’t Murderer’s Row,” Mauch said, pointing toward the Baltimore clubhouse. “A player is supposed to be rewarded for putting good contact on the ball, but they weren’t even putting their ‘A’ swings on the ball. Tonight, ‘C’ and ‘D’ swings were getting the ball out of the park. Rooster (Burleson) hits a ball one-handed to the warning track in right field. It’s unreal.”
There has been talk of a livelier baseball being used in the major leagues this season. There has been talk of Memorial Stadium being converted into a launching pad with the installation of a huge instant-replay board in right-field, altering the wind currents so that the ball flies out of the park.
Earlier, Mauch scoffed at such talk.
He isn’t scoffing anymore.
“Maybe it’s just this ballpark at this minute,” Mauch said. “But I’m flabbergasted by what I see. For years, veteran pitchers learn how to ‘hide’ the ball in center field--keep it off the lines. Here, there ain’t no place to hide it.
“I’m very well aware we’re playing with the same ball in the same park. But tonight . . . that just galls me.”
Maybe the ball and the wind patterns had something to do with Baltimore’s six home runs. Then again, maybe Angel pitching had something to do with it.
En route to their record-setting month, the Orioles hit 42 home runs in their last 19 games. Five of those games have been played against the Angels, yielding a total of 13 Baltimore home runs.
“We have an amazing knack of enabling .150 hitters to get something going,” Mauch acknowledged.
Each of Baltimore’s eight runs was the result of a home run. Fraser gave up five runs on four homers over four innings. Buice (2-3) surrendered three runs on a pair of homers over the final three-plus innings.
Only middle reliever Chuck Finley, who pitched four-plus scoreless innings, emerged without powder burns.
“Finley kept the ball in the ballpark,” Mauch said. “He should get some kind of award for that.”
Buice, who couldn’t keep two balls by Young in the ballpark, called it “unbelievable.”
“Two home runs to the same guy in one game,” Buice said, shaking his head. “I got to give him credit on that second one. It was a good pitch, low and away. I didn’t make a mistake. He hit my best stuff.”
In such a style did the Orioles make history and the Angels plunge to even lower depths. What’s a team to do?
“We’re playing hard,” Mauch said. “That kind of grinding will be rewarded.”
It hasn’t been yet.
Angel Notes Add Home Runs: In 19 games at Memorial Stadium, the Orioles and their opponents have combined to hit a total of 67 home runs--an average of more than 3.5 a game. With home runs by Ruppert Jones and Wally Joyner, the teams combined for eight Thursday night, a Memorial Stadium record. The previous record for most home runs by a team in a single month was 55, held by the 1947 New York Giants . . . After receiving nerve-block injections in his rib cage for the second time in a week, Angel reliever Donnie Moore has been advised by doctors not to resume throwing until at least Monday, which figures to scratch Moore from the rest of this trip. John Candelaria, however, is eligible to return from the disabled list today and could rejoin the team as early as next Monday in New York. Either way, his next start figures to come after the Angels return to Anaheim. Gene Mauch’s pitching schedule for the Yankees reads Mike Witt on Monday, Willie Fraser Tuesday and Don Sutton Wednesday. “If John shows up in New York, maybe he’ll help out in the pen for a while,” Mauch said. “Maybe that’ll be our approach. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll just hand him the ball down the line.” . . . Desperate for pitching help, Mauch and General Manager Mike Port are intrigued by the availability of 35-year-old reliever Greg Minton, who was released by San Francisco Wednesday. Minton was 1-0 with a 3.47 earned-run average and one save in 15 appearances with the Giants. “Mike and I talked about Minton today,” Mauch said. “Everybody would like to have the Minton that was. I don’t know about the Minton that is. It might be one of those things where a change of scenery, a change of leagues is all he needs. I’m sure Mike will look into it.” . . . Had the Dodgers waited a month, Port would have looked hard at the idea of signing Jerry Reuss, the 37-year-old left-hander who is currently 0-3 with Cincinnati. Said Mauch: “It makes no sense why Jerry Reuss is pitching in Cincinnati and not here. But at the time he was available, we had five starting pitchers going good and a bullpen full of aces. We were in hog heaven.” The Angels also may have waited to long to pursue Dan Petry, whom the Tigers were shopping around earlier this month. Detroit was looking for a right-handed power-hitter and a third baseman--Doug DeCinces fits the bill--but the Tigers have since won 12 of 14 to return to contention in the AL East and are now reluctant to break up their starting rotation . . . Brian Downing has yet to make an appearance in left field this season and, with his right thigh muscle still sore, he isn’t planning to debut there soon. “If it wasn’t for the DH, I’d be on the DL,” Downing said. “No way am I going out there. Not when I can’t run to first base.” . . . When he was back in Anaheim, Yankee pitcher Tommy John swore that Don Sutton toyed with a knuckleball--and could throw a good one--when both were teammates on the Dodgers. When asked about it, Sutton, who pitches tonight against Toronto, laughed and said: “One more start like the last one and I’m gonna start using it.”
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