Indians Dump Orioles to 0-3
By Richard Justice
As bone-chilling winds howled off Lake Erie and 53,738 spectators huddled beneath blankets, the Orioles again were unable to put together anything resembling an offense, collecting three singles and losing, 3-0, in the Cleveland Indians' home opener.
In falling to 0-3 for the first time since 1984, the Orioles helped reward Cleveland left-hander Scott Bailes, 25, with the first complete game of his young career. In his 28th start, he needed only 113 pitches to finish off a team that was baffled by a diet of slow breaking pitches and fastballs on the hands.
The Orioles again got a terrific performance from a starting pitcher, but, like Mike Morgan on Wednesday, Mark Thurmond (0-1) had one lapse. That came in the seventh inning when he got the first two outs then allowed a single and two walks to load the bases. Before reliever Doug Sisk walked catcher Andy Allanson to force in the first run, there was the question of whether Thurmond should not have been pulled earlier.
It was his longest performance since 1986, and Manager Cal Ripken Sr. later said Thurmond did appear to be tiring.
"I wanted to give him every opportunity to get out of the inning," Ripken said. "But he just ran out of gas."
Pitching moves won't matter unless the Orioles start to hit. They've scored one run in their first 27 innings, and the slumps are spread around so evenly and to so many corners of the clubhouse that placing blame is impossible.
The Orioles have been outscored 18-1 in three games, and are hitting .143. Their run scored on Larry Sheets' grounder in the second inning of the second game. They have two extra base hits in three games and the slumps have touched Eddie Murray (two for 12), Fred Lynn (one for 11), Cal Ripken Jr. (one for 11) and new leadoff man Jeff Stone (zero for 11).
"Bailes pitched well, but he caught our offense in a dry spell," Ripken Sr. said. "We've got to get it going. Right now, everybody is trying a little too hard. They're trying to get base hits, and that just isn't the way to go about it. You're supposed to go up there and hit the ball hard."
A moment later, he added confidently: "The hitting will come around. We'll hit and score runs. I'm glad to see us pitching this well. That's what we wanted to improve on."
Orioles hitters got only three runners in scoring position tonight, twice leaving runners on third and once on second. They almost scored at the beginning as Stone walked and stole both second and third. But with runners at first and third and one out, Murray hit into a double play.
They had another chance in the second when Sheets walked with one out and was balked to second. But Mel Hall made a nice running catch of Rick Schu's liner, and Terry Kennedy flied to right.
Their last chance came in the fourth when Murray dumped a single to left, stole second and went to third on Allanson's throwing error. But he stayed there as Lynn struck out and Sheets grounded out. After the fourth, they had only three more base runners, and one of those was erased by a double-play grounder.
Thurmond was in trouble only once early, and that was in the second. He breezed into the seventh with a shutout. But Cory Snyder's two-out single changed the game. Thurmond threw four straight balls to Hall, then walked Jay Bell, too.
That's when Ripken went for Sisk, who forced home the run with four straight balls to Allanson.
"I can't think of the last time I've done that," Sisk said. "Maybe 1984. That's the bad thing. That's what killed us as far as I'm concerned."
Julio Franco followed with an infield single to third that ended up scoring two runs. Hall scored as Schu threw to first, and his throw was a close one.
But umpire Dave Phillips called Franco safe, and Bell started home as Murray argued the call. Murray's throw was late and skipped past Kennedy.
"Eddie thought the guy was out at first base," Ripken Sr. said. "Maybe the umpire wasn't watching the ball. Maybe he didn't think Eddie could catch it. Eddie made a helluva play to come up with it."
The subplot to the game was that this was the first time former Orioles general manager Hank Peters has seen many of his former players since being fired by Edward Bennett Williams last Oct. 5. Peters watched the game alone in his private box as the Indians' president and said he felt "some emotion. You can't just sever ties after 12 years and not feel something. I've got a lot of friends there and a lot of nice memories.
"But there's no bitterness or anything like that."
© Copyright 1988 The Washington Post Company