Storm Davis ripped through another lineup tonight, scattering six hits over 7 1/3 innings and allowing three runs.
Which is nothing new, since he has allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his 13 starts and pitched into the eighth inning in eight of them. What he also did tonight was lose again, this time by 3-1 to the New York Yankees before 47,220 at Memorial Stadium.
If he is not the best 5-6 pitcher in the game, he's certainly the best the Baltimore Orioles have. Unfortunately for him, he keeps pitching on nights when the Orioles are handcuffed by a Juan Nieves or a Kirk McCaskill.
Tonight, it was rookie Bob Tewksbury (5-2) and Bob Shirley. They held the Orioles to five hits in eight innings, then Dave Righetti pitched the ninth for his 15th save.
"Geeez," Orioles Manager Earl Weaver screamed. "You can't pitch any better than Davis has, and he can't win. There's just no way this is fair. He absolutely threw the hell out of the ball."
The loss was the 34-24 Orioles' second in a row to New York and their fourth loss in five games. It was also a little more costly then some of the others as it dropped the Orioles back to third place, 5 1/2 games behind first-place Boston.
Not that they were without chances. Twice tonight they had two runners on and only one out. They all stayed there.
Tewksbury scattered four singles over six innings and allowed the Orioles' run before Manager Lou Piniella brought in Shirley to pitch the seventh and eighth.
For a second straight night, leadoff man Rickey Henderson was a big part of the Yankees' offense. He got on base three times in four plate appearances with a run-scoring infield single and two walks. A night earlier, he was on base four times in five appearances and scored three runs.
"They're one of my favorite teams," Henderson said. "I can be going bad and be in a slump, but when I face Baltimore, I get out of it."
In Weaver's office, the mention of Henderson brought more screams.
"We've walked him, what, four times in two nights?" Weaver asked. "That's terrible. The umpires are just intimidated. He ducks under pitches, he twists, and every time a strike is called he gripes and gripes. The umpires are scared to death of him. He shows them up every night. A guy like John Shelby, who doesn't say a word, doesn't have a chance."
Just as Weaver had worked himself into a good rage over Henderson, he stopped abruptly.
"Well, that has nothing to do with us getting only one run," he said. "It doesn't help having Freddie Lynn, who has laryngitis, a sore wrist and sprained ankle out against some of these pitchers. But we're in a little bit of a slump."
A little bit of one. Since scoring 18 runs Sunday at Yankee Stadium, the Orioles have totaled 15 in five games.
Davis didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, and not all the hits he allowed were his fault. Still, they all counted and put him behind, 2-0.
Mike Easler led off the fifth by grounding an opposite-field double down the left-field line. After Juan Beniquez made a diving catch on Ken Griffey's drive to left, Mike Pagliarulo doubled to score Easler. Ron Hassey singled, and Davis walked Willie Randolph to load the bases.
Davis almost got out of it without another run scoring, as Mike Fischlin hit a checked-swing bouncer back to Davis, who threw to catcher Rick Dempsey to force Pagliarulo.
But Henderson beat out a grounder to Alan Wiggins at second to make it 2-0. Don Mattingly flied out to deep right to end the inning.
The Orioles had all kinds of chances the first two innings, but each time fell a hit short.
In the first, Wiggins singled to right and went to second on Lee Lacy's groundout. Cal Ripken walked, but with runners at first and second and one out, Murray grounded into a fielder's choice and Larry Sheets flied to right.
In the second, Tom O'Malley was safe on second baseman Randolph's error with one out and went to third on Shelby's single to center. But again, with runners at first and third and one out, Tewksbury got out of it, getting Dempsey on a fielder's choice and Wiggins on a groundout.
"He mixed his pitches very well," Piniella said. "He came into the rotation at an important time, got his breaking pitches over the plate, located his fastball. Let's not forget Storm Davis threw the ball well. We got some hits off him when we needed it."
Wiggins was the first of 10 straight Orioles whom Tewksbury retired between the second and fifth innings. Finally, Lacy led off the sixth with a single to center. Tewksbury walked Ripken on four pitches, but struck out Murray on a lollipop curveball and got Sheets to pop to Hassey behind the plate. Beniquez lined a single to center to close it to 2-1, but Tewksbury got O'Malley to ground to Mattingly at first.
The Yankees made it 3-1 in the eighth when Henderson walked and came around on a steal, Mattingly's fly and Dave Winfield's grounder.
After that, Weaver called for Brad Havens, who finished.
The Orioles had a base runner in both the seventh and eighth off Shirley, but no one past second. Righetti pitched a one-two-three ninth.
*Indians 11, Twins 2: In Cleveland, 61,411, the largest crowd in the majors this season, saw Andre Thornton get a two-run single and three-run homer against Minnesota.
Knuckleballer Tom Candiotti (4-6) won an 11-hitter, but walked no one. He had been averaging about two walks every three innings, which he had blamed on split fingernails.
"I just threw strikes tonight," he said. "After my last start, I got the nails wrapped in a cloth-like material with something like super glue. That makes them harder and keeps them from getting brittle and splitting."
The Indians turned three errors and a hit batter into a 3-0 lead in the first inning against former Indian Bert Blyleven (5-6). After getting a run in the third, they broke the game open with a four-run fourth.
Cory Snyder, the 1984 Olympic star making his major league debut playing in right field, tripled, then Andy Allanson singled. After Joe Carter singled, Thornton's 10th home run finished Blyleven.
*Red Sox 5, Brewers 3: Jim Rice doubled home the tie-breaking run after first baseman Cecil Cooper booted Bill Buckner's fifth-inning grounder in Boston.
Oil Can Boyd (8-4) allowed 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings and needed help from Bob Stanley, who threw 17 pitches -- 15 of them strikes -- to retire six straight and earn his 11th save.
*Royals 10, Angels 2: The lights went out for 38 minutes in Anaheim Stadium in the third inning but Kansas City's Steve Balboni provided the power on the field with two homers and four RBI.
His three-run homer highlighted a four-run first inning against Jim Slaton (4-6). His 12th homer this season came off Chuck Finley in the fifth.
Winner Bret Saberhagen (4-6) had lost two in a row.
*Tigers 10, Blue Jays 5: In Toronto, Darrell Evans' new batting stance yielded three hits and four RBI, including a three-run home run that won for Detroit.
"I had been keeping my hips open," he said, "and the result was I had no power and no bat speed. I just closed my hips and the ball flew out of here."
His 10th homer of the season broke the game open in a four-run third. Rookie Eric King (2-0), who allowed four runs on five hits in the first inning, held the Blue Jays to two hits over the next 5 1/3 innings.
*Rangers 2, A's 1: In Oakland, Pete Incaviglia's second RBI was a tie-breaking single in the eighth inning that gave Texas its 10th victory in 11 games.
Jose Guzman (6-6) allowed seven hits in 7 2/3 innings in sending the A's to their ninth straight loss.
Gary Ward opened the eighth with his third hit and Pete O'Brien sacrificed. Then Incaviglia grounded the ball into center field.
In the third inning, Texas center fielder Oddibe McDowell threw Bill Bathe out at the plate after Bathe stumbled tagging up on a fly
*Mariners 11, White Sox 10: John Moses' single over a drawn-in outfiled scored Spike Owen in the ninth inning in Oakland.