The Baltimore Orioles tried to get cute one too many times tonight, and saw two errors explode in their faces for a 5-4 loss to the Texas Rangers before 12,384 at Arlington Stadium.
Count the mistakes.
Leading, 4-1, in the eighth, Orioles second baseman Alan Wiggins allows a bloop double by Texas first baseman Pete O'Brien to fall in. Rookie Pete Incaviglia follows with his first big league homer.
Count the errors. Leading, 4-3, in the ninth, and with runners on first and second, reliever Don Aase's pickoff throw gets past first baseman Eddie Murray for a throwing error.
Wiggins hustles down the line, picks up the ball and fires to catcher Rick Dempsey in plenty of time to get lead runner Tom Paciorek for what should have been the final out of a 4-3 Orioles victory.
Instead, Paciorek slaps the ball from Dempsey's hand, scores, and when the ball rolls away, Oddibe McDowell scores the winning run.
"We get two errors on one damned play," Manager Earl Weaver said. "That's just like last year. All last year, things that didn't have any right happening happened."
Weaver didn't seem to know who to be madder at, Wiggins for not catching O'Brien's pop, Murray for not catching Aase's throw or Dempsey for letting Paciorek knock the ball out of his glove.
As for, Murray, he made no excuses. "It wasn't a bad throw from Aase ," he said. "McDowell came back and jammed me up and I couldn't catch the ball. I just couldn't reach around him to get the ball. He stopped my arm from getting to it."
Still, the Orioles (2-2) might have won because Wiggins' throw to Dempsey was accurate and in plenty of time.
Dempsey made no excuses, either, saying: "It was a bang-bang play. I stuck my arm out and he was right there. Hell, it was terrible."
The Orioles appeared to be cruising to victory after scoring twice in the second inning and once in the third for a 3-0 lead. Storm Davis pitched 6 1/3 strong innings, and reliever Tippy Martinez was effective until Incavigilia launched his homer into the center-field seats.
Aase (1-1), who has appeared in three of the four Orioles games, got a loss he probably shouldn't have had.
"In the end, they have three throws to make," Texas Manager Bobby Valentine said. "They have to pick it up after the wild throw, throw it and hold onto it. When Paciorek was coming home, I thought to myself: 'Hit him as hard as you can.' "
The Orioles got 10 hits off four pitchers, including three by right fielder Lee Lacy. But, again, the Orioles were inefficient in the clutch, going three for 12 with runners in scoring position. In four games, they are six for 36.
Davis had a rocky start, walking McDowell and Curt Wilkerson to open the bottom of the first inning. He was shaky enough that Weaver had Dennis Martinez warming up in the bullpen, but Davis got out of the inning by striking out O'Brien and Gary Ward and getting Incavigilia on a fielder's choice groundout.
The Orioles then got a 2-0 lead in the second. Murray was safe on third baseman Steve Buechele's error, and Fred Lynn doubled off the wall in right to put runners on second and third. Mike Young scored one run with a single to left, and Juan Beniquez got the other in with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Orioles made it 3-0 in the third on singles by Lacy and Ripken, a walk to Murray and Lynn's RBI groundout.
The Rangers got a run off Davis in the sixth when McDowell hit a home run into the bleachers in right-center to make it 3-1. But the Orioles came right back with a run in the top of the seventh off Dave Rozema to make 4-1.
Rozema relieved starter Mike Mason to begin the inning and never finished it. With one out, Lacy singled to center for his third hit.
Ripken then singled to right, and when Incaviglia kicked the ball before he fielded it, Lacy scored all the way from first.
Davis lasted three batters into the seventh, getting Ward on a pop to Murray and walking Larry Parrish and Don Slaught.
Valentine sent Darrell Porter up to hit for Buechele, and Weaver countered with Tippy Martinez.
Did Weaver know something?
Valentine came back with Paciorek to hit against Martinez. For his career, Paciorek is zero for 10 with six strikeouts against Martinez, and he flied to center for the second out.
Valentine sent up another pinch hitter, Toby Harrah, to hit for Scott Fletcher, and Martinez got him on a groundout to shortstop.
After watching third baseman Floyd Rayford take a tentative round of batting practice then bow out of infield practice, Weaver said he believes Rayford is still several days away from being able to play.
Rayford has bone chips in his left thumb and is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but it appears Wednesday is the earliest he can return . . .
Meanwhile, with Jackie Gutierrez going zero for seven and making two errors in the first three games, Weaver gave a start at third base to Beniquez tonight. Beniquez hadn't played there in a game since 1979 and had only limited time at third in spring training, but he said: "I don't mind. It's a big adjustment, but I want to get in there." Weaver wanted him in there because he came into the game hitting .636 (seven for 11) against Mason. Beniquez not only handled five defensive chances nicely, he drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, walked and singled.