BALTIMORE, JUNE 3 -- Curt Young and Jay Howell controlled the Orioles' bats tonight and the Oakland Athletics, taking advantage of Baltimore pitching that was anything but controlled, scored a 7-3 victory at Memorial Stadium.
Young (7-3) allowed eight hits and no walks in 7 1/3 innings, and, by the time Mike Young hit a two-run home run off him, the Orioles were already in too deep. Howell finished in hitless order.
The Orioles have lost five of their last six and were 3-5 on this homestand. They are tied with Chicago for the worst home record in the American League (9-16). Baltimore's 18-9 road record is the best in the league, and the Orioles will try to improve on it Friday when they play at Toronto, beginning a stretch of 26 games against AL East teams.
The Athletics got three runs off starter Jeff Ballard (2-2), though they probably should have had more, given his nine walks in less than six innings.
"He was all over the place," said Baltimore Manager Cal Ripken Sr. "He was up, down, in and out."
The Orioles treated the 15,286 on hand to a 1-0 lead in the third, but lost it right away as Ballard gave up three runs in the fourth. The A's then blew open the game with four runs in the eighth inning off Dave Schmidt. Mike Young cut the margin to 7-3 in the eighth with his fourth home run of the year, but Howell shut down the Orioles after that.
"We didn't put anything on the board," Ripken said. "What we did was too little, too late."
The Orioles hit the ball reasonably hard tonight, but usually right at someone. Or at least close enough to someone.
Lee Lacy, who drove in the first run, would have had his third hit of the game if center fielder Luis Polonia had not make a leaping catch against the wall.
"It's exciting to see a guy go back and save two runs," said Curt Young, who had given up a single to Rick Burleson before Lacy came up. "I don't let a hard-hit ball bother me. An out's an out. If you get beat on that time at-bat, you have to give them credit. Fortunately, they hit the ball right at people. I just wanted to keep us in the game long enough for us to score some runs."
It did take a while, even though Ballard was giving them ample opportunity. He walked batters in every inning.
After Lacy doubled home Burleson in the third for the Orioles' only lead, Ballard walked Mark McGwire to start the fourth. Jose Canseco then sent his seventh home run of the year over the Orioles' bullpen in left-center field.
Then the inning grew strange. The A's used the first two batters in the inning to produce two runs, then used the next seven to get one. Up following Canseco, Ron Cey walked and went to second on Mike Davis' bloop single. After Terry Steinbach flied out, Polonia forced Mike Davis at second with a slow ground ball to shortstop. Cey advanced to third, from where he scored on second baseman Burleson's error on Tony Phillips' hard-hit grounder. Ballard gave up a his third walk of the inning and sixth of the game to Alfredo Griffin to load the bases. But he escaped without further damage when Carney Lansford flied out to right.
Ballard walked another batter in the fifth but escaped. He started the sixth by walking Steinbach. He got Polonia to fly out, and Steinbach was thrown out trying to steal when it appeared the batter, Phillips, missed a sign. But Ballard then walked Phillips. That brought his total to nine and his manager to the mound. Ripken decided fate had been tempted enough and Ballard had thrown enough pitches.
"He was damn lucky he didn't give up more runs than three," said Ripken. "He made some pitches to get himself out of innings. There is nothing wrong with him that I'm aware of; he was just getting behind his hitters. I stayed with him because he was getting out of things and then of course he got to a point where he ran himself out of gas."
In 5 2/3 innings, Ballard gave up only three hits, but he was on a pace that would have set an Orioles record for walks. On Aug. 30, 1961, Jack Fisher walked 12 in an 11-4 nine-inning victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
After allowing a bunt single to Griffin, Schmidt retired four straight A's. But he gave up runs to Davis and Polonia, then walked Griffin -- his fourth of the game, which was as many as he had in 425 at-bats during his 1984 season with Toronto.
Before the game, Scott McGregor met with Ripken to discuss, in the manager's words, "a whole flock of things."
McGregor (2-5, 6.11) spent his second night in a row in the bullpen, and he'll be there indefinitely. Tonight, he relieved Schmidt to start the ninth inning, and gave up two singles, the first to Reggie Jackson, but didn't allow a run . . .
General Manager Hank Peters said there would be an announcement Thursday on the status of Tippy Martinez, who has been rehabilitating at Class A Hagerstown. Being a 10-year man, Martinez can request a release instead of accepting a minor league assignment. Martinez has said he thinks he can pitch in the majors, so it's expected he would want a release.