DETROIT, JULY 23 -- Randy Milligan's four-for-four game may have been the best news to come out of the Orioles' 9-3 bashing of Chicago Sunday in Baltimore.
He was one for 11 in the first three games of the series, in which the Orioles got five hits each game. And despite Sunday's 13 hits, the team is last in AL hitting at .248.
If the Orioles need a power boost, he is the one to provide it -- his 20 homers lead the team and put him sixth in the AL.
"I feel very good at the dish right now," he said. "When I'm playing bad, the ball is past me before I can see it, but when I'm doing well the ball seems so slow. And right now it's looking kind of slow."
He said he hopes Sunday's perfect day may be the start of something, "but those days don't happen very often, except for maybe Wade Boggs."
He said the Orioles are in the same sort of groove: "As a team, we haven't felt this good about the way we're playing all year. Maybe it's because we're healthy -- we finally have the team that we wanted from the start of spring training."Make-Work for Bullpen
Manager Frank Robinson has had to find ways to work his bullpen; going into tonight's game, starters had pitched into the fifth inning in seven straight games.
"When your starters pitch well, your bullpen doesn't get enough work," said Robinson, "so I keep them sharp by getting them up and throwing in the bullpen.
"I'd rather have them getting not enough work than too much." . . .
Cal Ripken's errorless streaks for games and chances, both major league records for a shortstop, are common knowledge.
But younger brother Bill has a streak of his own. His errorless streak at second base is at 42 games, a personal best.
The Orioles came within one out Sunday of their 10th straight errorless game, which would have tied the club record. Left fielder Joe Orsulak misplayed Ron Kittle's single with two outs in the ninth to halt the streak.
The Orioles lead the league with a .987 fielding percentage, on pace to break the major league record of .986 they set last year. . . .
Tigers catcher Mike Heath's vigorous argument with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck tonight was not so much over a ball-strike call, but over something Heath said.
With Mike Henneman pitching to Phil Bradley, Heath set up outside the strike zone. The pitch was inside, and Hirschbeck called it a ball.
When Heath said: "I hope I don't get crossed up again," Hirschbeck took it to mean Heath was going to let the next pitch go through and hit Hirschbeck.
"He's threatening to kill me," Hirschbeck said after the game. "I've never heard anything like that before. I've got a wife and kids."
But Heath denied that that was what he meant: "That's pretty low of him to think I'd do that."