A couple of bad hops made it a bumpy Monday night for the Baltimore Orioles.
A grounder that skipped past shortstop Cal Ripken and another that scooted over first baseman David Segui sent the Indians to a 6-4 victory at Cleveland, dropping the Orioles 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East.
Baltimore fell to 2-5 on a trip that has two games left in Cleveland. The Orioles will play their last 10 at home, including the final four against the Blue Jays.
“We can’t afford to lose a whole lot more games,” said second baseman Harold Reynolds, who threw away another grounder that glanced off Segui’s glove.
Last week in Boston, Baltimore squandered a four-run lead and a three-run lead, losing both games to the Red Sox. This was another tough night for the Orioles, who could not hold a 3-0 edge behind Fernando Valenzuela.
Randy Milligan’s two-hopper skipped over Ripken’s right shoulder and capped a four-run fifth inning that made the score 4-3.
Valenzuela (7-10) was coming off his first victory and first complete game since July 23.
In between, he had started nine games, losing two and leaving without a decision in the other seven. He had gone from American League pitcher of the month in July to a 13.95 earned-run average in August, prompting speculation that his arm was beginning to feel the effects of the 400-plus innings he has thrown since the beginning of the Mexican Summer League season last year.
Valenzuela gave up a long double in each of the first two innings, but he held the Indians scoreless until the Orioles could get on the board. Mike Pagliarulo finally staked him to a two-run lead in the fourth with his sixth home run since joining the club Aug. 15, and Brady Anderson added a run-scoring single in the fifth to increase Valenzuela’s margin for error.
It wasn’t enough. The Indians opened their half of the fifth with four consecutive singles to score two runs and drive Valenzuela out of the game. Todd Frohwirth came on in relief to strike out Albert Belle, but Milligan bounced a bad-hop single over Ripken to drive in two more runs and give the Indians the lead.
“If you look at the infield now that the (NFL’s) Browns are playing, on balls up the middle there are a lot of bad hops because that’s where the goal line is,” Indian Manager Mike Hargrove said. “The ball Milligan hit almost took Cal’s head off. You can’t cuss it, you just know it’s one of the hazards of sharing the field with a football team. That’s one of the things we won’t miss at the new stadium next year.”
Texas 2, Seattle 1--Rafael Palmeiro hit his 37th home run in the 10th inning at Seattle as the Rangers remained 4 1/2 games behind the division-leading Chicago White Sox in the AL West.
The Rangers tied the score in the ninth inning when pinch-hitter Ivan Rodriguez singled home Rob Ducey. It was only the second time this season the Rangers had won when trailing after eight innings.
Cris Carpenter (4-1) pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth and Tom Henke pitched a scoreless 10th to earn his 38th save.
Detroit 6, Milwaukee 3--Kirk Gibson had a two-run triple and Tony Phillips had three hits at Detroit to lead the Tigers.
Winner Mike Moore (13-9) held Milwaukee to three runs on six hits and three walks in six innings. Ricky Bones (10-11) struggled for the second consecutive start, giving up six runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. In his last two starts, he is 0-2 with a 12.10 ERA.
Oakland 2, Kansas City 1--Rookie Todd Van Poppel won his second consecutive start as the A’s made first-inning RBI singles by Troy Neel and Mike Aldrete hold up at Oakland.
Van Poppel (6-5) remained unbeaten in four September starts, with two no-decisions. He left the game after George Brett led off the ninth with an infield single. Roger Smithberg got the final three outs for his second save after giving up an RBI groundout by Kevin McReynolds.