Harnisch Stays Loose, Keeps Baltimore in Tight Race, 5-3
Pete Harnisch hadn’t pitched in two weeks and pennant pressure was weighing on the 22-year-old rookie’s shoulders as he made his return to the Baltimore Orioles’ rotation.
Harnisch allowed three hits in 6 1/3 innings Monday night as the Orioles defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-3, to remain one game behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East race with five games left.
“I tried to really relax,” Harnisch said. “It was probably the biggest game I’ve pitched to date.
“I just wanted to keep the team close. I didn’t expect to go nine. I didn’t want to go go out there and blow it and get knocked out early and make (Manager) Frank (Robinson) have to use the bullpen.
“It’s a big win because now we’re assured of at least a chance in Toronto.”
After two more games in Milwaukee, the Orioles visit Toronto for a three-game series against the Blue Jays. Toronto beat Detroit, 2-0, Monday night, eliminating the Brewers.
“We’ve got two more games here,” Robinson said. “Don’t give me that Toronto stuff.
“They’re all big, they have been for some quite some time. This one is no bigger than the others or bigger than the one we will play (tonight). What it did was keep us on the same pace with Toronto and kept pressure on them, and that’s what we have to do.”
Harnisch (5-9) won for the first time since Sept. 7, getting relief help from Mark Williamson, who retired the five batters he faced. Rookie Gregg Olson allowed one hit in the ninth for his 27th save.
Harnisch, idled by the Orioles’ use of a three-man rotation, allowed only one hit through the first six innings, a leadoff single in the first by Billy Spiers. Spiers stole second, took third on a grounder and scored on Paul Molitor’s sacrifice fly for a 1-0 Milwaukee lead.
“Pete pitched excellent and gave me much more than I could have expected,” Harnisch said. “It was the key to the game.”
It stayed 1-0 until the Orioles tagged Milwaukee’s Teddy Higuera (9-6) for three runs in the third and two in the fourth for a 5-1 lead.
Stan Jefferson and Phil Bradley hit two-out doubles in the third to tie the score, and Tim Hulett singled home the go-ahead run. Cal Ripken doubled home Hulett.
Bob Melvin hit a run-scoring double in the fourth and Jefferson added a sacrifice fly.
Milwaukee’s Greg Brock hit a two-run homer in the seventh.