Photo Caption -- Milwaukee infielder in Brewers-Orioles action in yesterday's editions was misidentified. It was Bill Spiers. (Published 6/16/90)
BALTIMORE, JUNE 14 -- There were liberating moments for the Baltimore Orioles tonight, chief among them the performance at the plate of Cal Ripken, who went three for four and won over an anxious crowd.
But in the end, the Milwaukee Brewers were the team breathing the louder collective sigh of relief at Memorial Stadium. They escaped with an 8-5 victory before 32,067 spectators, winning the last two games of a three-game series and sending the Orioles to two games under .500.
Bob Sebra, who pitched 2 2/3 relief innings and gave up one hit, won his first decision in the American League (1-0). The loser was Brian Holton (2-2), who also pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief and gave up one earned run.
Milwaukee's Dan Plesac, who gave up two late home runs in a loss here two nights ago, came on with one on and no outs in the ninth and, after issuing a walk, attained his 12th save -- leaving Ripken waiting on deck.
If there could be something more important than the outcome of the game, it might be the performance of the struggling Ripken. He entered the evening batting .156 in his last 25 games. His season average was .209. He was being booed by his hometown fans at what should have been a most gratifying time for him, a week in which he moved into second place on the all-time consecutive games played list.
Tonight he had two singles and a double, drove in two runs and looked around to see the customers giving him a standing ovation in the fifth inning. It was his first three-hit game since May 12.
Ripken didn't want to talk about his performance after the game, but Manager Frank Robinson did.
"I'm happy for Cal," he said. "It's been an awful strain on him. One game doesn't get you out of a slump, but it's certainly nice to see the hits come."
Talk about confidence-building situations. Fifth inning, the bases loaded and Ripken up. Nine times this season, he had faced a similar situation. He had made nine outs. Fifteen times in a row, stretching back into 1989, he had not gotten on base.
But this time was different. This time, with a 1-1 count, Ripken drove Sebra's pitch into the left field corner, where it hit the wall on one bounce. Ripken had a double, drove in two runs and the Orioles had tied the game, 5-5.
The Orioles had to fight back from a 5-1 fourth-inning deficit largely because starter Bob Milacki couldn't keep the ball down. "You can't live in the upper part of the strike zone," he said after giving up five runs, all earned, in 3 2/3 innings.
The problems started for Milacki when well-traveled veteran Dave Parker gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the second with his sixth home run of the season. Parker drove Milacki's first pitch of the inning, a fastball hanging over the plate, over the 376-foot mark in right field.
Baltimore caught up in the same inning on another leadoff home run, this one by Mickey Tettleton. His blast over the right field wall was his ninth homer of the season.
The Brewers added their second run in the third when Bill Spiers doubled down the left field line and scored on the one-out groundout of Gary Sheffield.
But that was nothing compared to the Brewers' fourth inning. With one out, Rob Deer dropped a double into left. Greg Brock followed with a double into right, scoring Deer. Brock stole third, and with the Orioles' infield drawn in, the next batter, Greg Vaughn, punched a single between short and third, scoring Brock for a 4-1 lead. Vaughn moved to second on Spiers's groundout and scored moments later when Paul Molitor ripped a single to right.
Milacki was removed from the game at that point and Holton came on to strike out Sheffield.
The Orioles came back with one in the fourth and three in the fifth. In both instances, Ripken was the catalyst.
After Tettleton walked to open the fourth, Joe Orsulak struck out, bringing up Ripken, who had grounded out in his first at-bat tonight. Ripken singled to left under diving third baseman Sheffield, moving Tettleton to second. Greg Walker drove a single to right-center to score Tettleton, and the Orioles were within 5-2.
It was a climactic fifth for the Orioles. With one out, Steve Finley beat out a drag bunt and went to second on a wild pitch. Randy Milligan followed by driving a single to the corner in left, scoring Finley.
Tettleton walked for the second time and Orsulak singled to left, loading the bases for Ripken. Brewers Manager Tom Trebelhorn came on to take starter Chris Bosio out and put Sebra in as the crowd began to build anticipation at the thought of Ripken coming to the plate with the bases full and one out.
And then to celebrate.
The Brewers, though, regained the lead in the seventh.
Spiers singled to right leading off and went to second when Molitor swung at and hit a pitchout, grounding out but saving Spiers, who was running on the pitch.
A wild pitch by Holton moved Spiers to third. He scored on Robin Yount's sacrifice fly to right off third Orioles pitcher Mark Williamson, who had just entered.
Milwaukee secured two insurance runs in the ninth. Spiers reached on Williamson's error, stole second and scored on Sheffield's single. It was Spiers's third run of the game. Sheffield scored several minutes later on a double steal. He beat Ripken's throw to Tettleton, just getting his left foot to the plate before the catcher put the ball in his chest. Sheffield writhed in pain for several minutes before getting up and walking off.