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Orioles' Playoff Hopes Are Dealt a Blow, 8-7

September 24, 1996|From Associated Press

BALTIMORE — When the Brewers visited Camden Yards this time, it didn't rain. The Orioles probably wished it had.

Milwaukee damaged Baltimore's hopes of catching the New York Yankees in the AL East with an 8-7 victory in 10 innings Monday.

The game, originally scheduled on Aug. 12 as the opener of a three-game series, was twice rained out and rescheduled. The Brewers weren't happy about having to make two extra trips to Baltimore.

"I'm just glad it didn't rain today so we'd have to make it up on the 30th," said Matt Mieske, who singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th. "We've lost out on two off dates."

The Orioles lost out on a chance to improve their playoff position.

They dropped 4 1/2 games behind New York in the AL East, pending the Yankees' game Monday night against Boston. The loss also reduced Baltimore's lead in the wild-card race to one game over Seattle, which played at California.

"It's a big loss. But they're all big and devastating losses at this time of year," Orioles manager Davey Johnson said. "They're all big. We can't afford to blink. We've got to win every ball game, the way I look at it."

The Orioles will close the season with two games in Boston and four in Toronto.

John Jaha, who homered and drove in four runs, led off the 10th by drawing a walk against Terry Mathews (2-2), the fifth Orioles pitcher. Jaha advanced to second on Jose Valentin's sacrifice bunt and, after a groundout by Marc Newfield, scored on Mieske's single.

"We have some things we want to accomplish, too," said Mieske, "like getting to .500. We have to go 5-1 on this road trip. You don't want to lose the first one and then have to win five in a row."

Doug Jones (5-0) got the victory by retiring the Orioles in order in the ninth. Mike Fetters pitched the 10th for his 31st save, getting Brady Anderson on a fly ball with two outs and two on.

The Brewers are enjoying the role of spoiler down the stretch.

"We've been playing the top teams like Baltimore, Cleveland and Texas, and we've been playing them tough," said Jaha. "These are like the playoffs for us."

Mike Mussina allowed six runs and eight hits, including homers to Jeromy Burnitz and Jaha, in seven-plus innings, and failed in his bid to become the Orioles' first 20-game winner since Mike Boddicker was 20-11 in 1984.

"I thought I had pretty good stuff, better than the results ended up being," said Mussina, who will get one more start in his quest for 20 wins.

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