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The 1988 Streak
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  •   And the Getting Beat Goes On

    By Richard Justice
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, April 13, 1988; Page C8


    The 1988 Streak:
    Game 7
    BALTIMORE, APRIL 12 -- He juggled the lineup, held a couple of meetings and got a nice ovation when he took his first lineup card to home plate.

    But on a cold, blustery night, the song remained pretty much the same for the Baltimore Orioles, who spoiled Frank Robinson's debut as manager by getting only two hits and losing, 6-1, to the Kansas City Royals.

    Only 11,180 showed up at Memorial Stadium to see one of the greatest Orioles of all time become the franchise's first black manager. By the end of the evening, they'd seen another piece of history as the winless Orioles established a franchise record by beginning a season with seven straight losses.

    This one didn't look much different from the six under Cal Ripken Sr., as Mark Gubicza and Dan Quisenberry held Baltimore to an unearned run and two singles.

    "I felt a little strange out there," Robinson said. "I don't have a real good feel of the game, and it'll take me a few days to get the flow of it. Everything is tough for us right now. Some of our veterans are struggling, and that makes it tougher for the young guys. But once it breaks, it'll be okay. We've got a lot of runs and hits coming to us, and I hope they come soon."

    Meanwhile, the incredible numbers roll up for the Orioles, outscored, 49-8, and outhit, 76-40, in their seven games.

    Worse, bad news may be stacked on top of bad news. Designated hitter Larry Sheets, one of the few not in a batting slump, took a Gubicza fastball on his left wrist in the seventh inning and was taken for X-rays. Even if no break is found, it's unlikely he could play for a few days.

    Robinson gave right-hander Oswald Peraza (0-1) his first major league start and he allowed five hits and five earned runs before leaving with none out in the fifth inning. He took a 1-0 lead into the fourth, but was tagged for back-to-back home runs, a two-run shot by Frank White (three hits, four RBI) and a solo by Bo Jackson far over the Orioles' bullpen and into the left field football bleachers.

    "Maybe {Peraza} was trying to be too fine," Robinson said. "He was getting behind, and that's when he got hurt."

    Gubicza (2-0) limited the Orioles to two hits in seven innings. They did get a run in the first inning when new leadoff man Joe Orsulak beat out an infield single and eventually scored on Cal Ripken Jr.'s sacrifice fly. It was Ripken's first RBI of the season.

    Otherwise, the Orioles continued in the same deep hitting slump that helped get Ripken Sr. fired. That's especially true for the middle of the order as Fred Lynn, Eddie Murray and Ripken Jr. are nine for 76 (.118) with the one RBI.

    Robinson's first major lineup change was to move leadoff man Jeff Stone (.042) to ninth in the order in a switch with Orsulak. He has promised more changes Thursday against left-hander Floyd Bannister, and it's possible the platooning of prominent veterans Terry Kennedy and Lynn could begin then.

    Up, 3-1, the Royals broke the game apart in the fifth after Kevin Seitzer led off with an infield single and George Brett walked. Robinson brought in reliever Mark Williamson, who walked Danny Tartabull and allowed a sacrifice fly to Jim Eisenreich and a two-run single to White.

    Orioles Notes:

    First baseman/outfielder Jim Traber was demoted to Class AAA Rochester for his fourth International League sojourn, called the move "ridiculous" and asked to be traded or released.

    "They said they're sending me down because they have too many left-handed hitters," said Traber, who got to bat twice this season. "Is that my fault? Have I played against any left-handers?"

    © Copyright 1988 The Washington Post Company

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