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The 1988 Streak
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  •   Orioles Lose, 9-3, Tumble to 0-8

    By Richard Justice
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, April 14, 1988; Page B1


    The 1988 Streak:
    Game 8
    BALTIMORE, APRIL 13 -- Their new manager brought them out early for extra batting practice, then wrote up a brand-new lineup, one that didn't include three regulars, but did have Carl Nichols, Tito Landrum and Wade Rowdon.

    And nothing changed.

    For Frank Robinson's second game as manager, the Baltimore Orioles plowed onward into one of the deepest and darkest slumps in history by collecting four hits and losing to the Kansas City Royals, 9-3, before 12,027 at Memorial Stadium tonight.

    That's the eighth straight defeat for the winless Orioles, who now have one of the 14 worst starts in major league history -- the 1988 Atlanta Braves are also 0-8. The last American League team to start a season with eight straight losses was the 1968 Chicago White Sox (0-10), and the Orioles are in sight of the worst start ever -- 0-13 by the 1904 Washington Senators.

    "One day it's all going to fall into place," Robinson said. "I hope. I hope. I hope. I've seen teams in slumps and teams lose, but I've never seen a team go like this. You almost always have one or two guys hitting the ball hard. We just don't have anyone."

    Right fielder Danny Tartabull had four hits and four RBI and third baseman Kevin Seitzer and shortstop Kurt Stillwell had three hits apiece to lead an 18-hit Kansas City offense. They got 10 of those hits and six runs off left-hander Mark Thurmond (0-2), who was around for just 3 2/3 innings in his first bad appearance since joining the Orioles this spring.

    Meanwhile, Kansas City's Floyd Bannister won his second straight start by pitching six innings of two-hit ball and taking a 9-2 lead into the clubhouse.

    Bannister held the Orioles hitless until Landrum sliced a broken-bat single to right in the fifth, and before the night was over, they got a triple and single from Rick Schu and Eddie Murray's first home run (the second for the Orioles).

    Robinson had promised to make some lineup changes, and with a left-hander pitching, he benched left-hand hitting Fred Lynn, Terry Kennedy and Jeff Stone, making the moves that deposed manager Cal Ripken Sr. had not.

    Lynn, Kennedy and Stone (who did pinch-hit) are hitting a combined .130, but that's even spectacularly bad for a club that has a .176 team batting average and has been outscored, 58-11.

    Not that it mattered. Thurmond struggled from the beginning and had his team out of the game by the fourth inning. The Royals strung together singles by Seitzer, George Brett and Tartabull for a 1-0 lead in the first.

    They made it 3-0 in the third when Seitzer drew a two-out walk and Brett singled. Tartabull scored Seitzer with a single, and Frank White doubled over Landrum's head in right for another.

    They added three in the fourth, two in the sixth and another in the seventh, but 3-0 must have looked like 16-0 to the Orioles.

    "I made some bad pitches," Thurmond said. "They got a lot of ground-ball hits {six infield hits}. I wanted them to hit it on the ground -- but at someone. I didn't have much rhythm, and I tried to struggle through as best I could. It just didn't work out."

    The Orioles broke up Bannister's shutout in the fifth when Larry Sheets reached first on an error by first baseman Brett and eventually scored on Landrum's single. They picked up another run in the sixth when Cal Ripken Jr. drew a leadoff walk and Schu tripled. Murray's homer came off reliever Steve Farr in the eighth.

    "One of these games it's going to come together," Thurmond said. "They hit them a half-step out of our reach and ours wind up in somebody's glove. We've just got to keep plugging along, and things will change."

    Orioles Notes:

    Robinson would like to add former Oriole Don Buford to his coaching staff and probably will when Buford's commitment to the University of Southern California, where he's an assistant baseball coach, is fulfilled in July . . . The firing of Cal Ripken Sr. is not the quickest managerial change in history. The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers replaced Clyde Sukeforth after one game, and the 1960 Philadelphia Phillies did the same with Eddie Sawyer . . . Reliever Don Aase will throw in a simulated game this weekend, and Robinson said he probably won't be activated until Tuesday in Milwaukee, the first stop on a four-city, 12-game trip . . . He does expect outfielder Ken Gerhart to be activated to play Saturday night against Cleveland Indians . . . The Orioles entered tonight's game with five extra base hits. Five AL individuals had more . . . In their first 63 innings, the Orioles had more than one hit seven times . . . Ripken Jr. played in his 1,000th major league game tonight, 935th consecutive, but only his second when his dad, Cal Sr., wasn't in uniform . . . Rookie Jose Bautista pitched 5 1/3 innings in relief of Thurmond . . . With interest in the club at a feverish level, outfielder Joe Orsulak will be at the Orioles Baseball Store in Washington, 914 17th St. NW, noon to 2 p.m. Friday.

    © Copyright 1988 The Washington Post Company

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