NEW YORK, JUNE 16 -- In his brief career with the Baltimore Orioles, Alan Wiggins has made just about every kind of mistake possible -- mistakes on the bases, at the plate and at second base.
Tonight, he made perhaps his worst, suffering a mental lapse that was the biggest play in the New York Yankees' 6-5 victory before 28,292 at Yankee Stadium.
He did it in the sixth inning of a 4-4 tie and at a time when the Yankees had two runners on base and two out. Reliever Mark Williamson got Wayne Tolleson to hit a grounder to shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., who fielded the ball and prepared to throw to second for an inning-ending putout.
But Wiggins never went to the bag to take the throw, looping behind the base. Ripken was forced to go to first, his throw was late and Tolleson was credited with a single.
Willie Randolph followed with a two-run single for a 6-4 lead, and the Orioles (28-36) were headed for their 16th loss in 18 games.
After the game, Orioles Manager Cal Ripken Sr. shut the clubhouse door for about five minutes and again aired out his team. He apparently focused much of his screaming at Wiggins.
"There are no excuses for that," Wiggins said. "None at all. I just thought the ball was going up the middle and didn't go to cover second. I screwed it up. That's all you can say."
Ripken Sr. agreed, saying, "In my book, there's no excuse for that. I don't know what he was thinking. You'll have to go ask him."
If there was any blame left over, it surely went to Ken Dixon, who made his first start since April 25 and allowed four runs and three homers in 5 1/3 innings. The Orioles twice gave him the lead, and he twice gave it back within an inning. In his last six appearances, he has allowed 19 earned runs in 19 2/3 innings. He has given up eight homers in that stretch.
"He just gave up too many runs," Ripken said. "We gave him two leads, and he didn't hold them. I feel he threw well, but I always feel he threw well. He just continues to make mistakes. When you make mistakes, you lose."
The Yankees finished with 11 hits, including two homers and three RBI from Dave Winfield, who has 15 homers this season. Dan Pasqua also homered. But the winning runs came off Williamson (2-4), who took a loss he didn't deserve.
Wiggins' play ruined what might have been a big night for the Orioles, a night when Ripken collected three hits, including the 1,000th of his career in the sixth inning.
At 26, he became the youngest player in franchise history to reach that milestone. Brooks Robinson, Ripken's boyhood idol, was 51 days older when he got his 1,000th hit in 1964.
The Orioles got 13 hits off three pitchers. Former Oriole Rich Bordi (3-0) got the victory despite allowing two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, and Dave Righetti pitched the final three innings for his 13th save.
Starter Charles Hudson lasted only 2 1/3 innings and was lucky to get that far. The Orioles left the bases loaded in the first inning, left two runners on in the second and took a 2-0 lead in the third.
Ripken led off the third with a single and went to second on Eddie Murray's grounder. Fred Lynn then hit his 10th homer, and Yankees Manager Lou Piniella brought in Bordi, who was released by the Orioles in spring training.
Bordi held off the Orioles until the sixth, long enough for the Yankees to get a 2-2 tie.
Dixon was good for a while, allowing only two singles in the first three innings. But in the fourth, Mike Easler led off with a double to right, and Winfield hit an opposite-field homer for a 2-2 tie.
The Orioles got the lead back in the sixth. Larry Sheets singled with one out and Mike Young walked. Wiggins singled to right to load the bases, but Bordi almost got out of the inning.
He struck out Jim Dwyer for the second out, but Ripken bounced his 1,000th hit into center to score Sheets and Young for a 4-2 lead.
"It makes you feel good," Ripken said of the milestone. "It's gratifying to reach it at this point. It seems it has come fairly fast. It doesn't seem I've been playing that long."
Dixon needed about 10 minutes to give those runs back. He got Easler on a fly to left to open the sixth, but then got a pitch out over the plate to Winfield, who hit a towering homer to left. Dixon threw two pitches to Pasqua, and made another mistake, this one winding up in the right field seats for a 4-4 tie.
Ripken Sr. brought in Williamson, and although it wasn't all his fault, the Orioles started to come apart.
Mike Pagliarulo and Mark Salas led singled. After Williamson struck out Henry Cotto for the second out, he got Tolleson to hit what should have been an inning-ending grounder to Ripken, who looked up to find second base unoccupied.
After Randolph grounded his two-run single to right, Williamson got Gary Ward on a fielder's choice grounder to end the inning. But the damage had been done.
Wiggins did help get one of those two runs back in the eighth. He led off with a single, went to third on Ripken's grounder and scored on Murray's single to center.
Wiggins, pitcher Scott McGregor and coach Elrod Hendricks helped New York Mayor Ed Koch begin his Alliance Against Drugs program today. The three Orioles spoke to youngsters at Junior High School No. 117 and St. Nicholas of Tolentine School.