BALTIMORE, JULY 18 -- Right-hander Ben McDonald, the Baltimore Orioles' highly publicized No. 1 draft choice of 1989, will make his first major league start here Saturday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Manager Frank Robinson decided tonight to expand his four-man rotation to five, with McDonald the fifth man for the time being. The decision came after Dave Johnson was chased in the fifth inning by the Texas Rangers.
"The four-man is just not working consistently," Robinson said. "That's not to say the five-man rotation is going to give it to us, but maybe we'll get a little better and more consistent efforts than we had from the four this time." . . .
If the Orioles could get a few more timely hits, they probably would win the AL East pennant in a walk.
After drawing eight walks against Texas tonight, the Orioles led the major leagues with 402 walks. Baltimore is a threat to reach 700, a mark no team has reached since the Orioles of 1970 drew 717.
Randy Milligan (77) and Mickey Tettleton (70) are one-two in the major leagues. Only once in the last 45 years have two players from the same team finished one-two -- Wade Boggs (105) and Dwight Evans (97) for the Boston Red Sox in 1986.
A paltry .250 team batting average has contributed to another noteworthy statistic. The Orioles have left 724 runners on base, tops in the majors. . . .
Reliever Brian Holton was not available for tonight's game. He underwent oral surgery today and stayed home to recuperate. . . .
Over the first 40 home dates, the Orioles averaged 30,336 fans. That compares favorably with a year ago, when the club set an attendance record by averaging 32,503.