- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2001


MIAMI Pro Player Stadium is Mike Hargrove’s House of Pain.

The former Cleveland manager watched his Indians lose a chance at a World Series championship in an 11-inning, Game 7 loss here to the Florida Marlins in 1997.

And in his first return to the scene of that devastating defeat yesterday, this time as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, Pro Player provided some more bad memories.

It wasn’t a World Series loss, but the 7-1 beating the Orioles took yesterday from the Marlins and pitcher Matt Clement before a crowd of 25,285 carried its own brand of hurt. It was the Orioles’ eighth loss in their last 10 games, dropping them nine games under .500 (41-50) for the first time this season.

Speaking of hurt, Orioles first baseman David Segui left the game after reinjuring his left knee when he caught his spikes during an at-bat in the first inning.

The loss also continued starting pitcher Jason Johnson’s road woes. He is 2-5 away from home and 6-1 at Camden Yards.

Johnson appeared to be on his way to a Camden Yards-type of performance, holding the Marlins to two runs through the first six innings. But he received no run support from his teammates as Clement (5-6) held Baltimore scoreless through the same six innings.

Former Oriole Charles Johnson hit the shot that sent Baltimore spiraling, leading off the seventh with a home run over the right-field wall to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead.

“That was just poor location,” Jason Johnson said. “I was trying to go down and in, and it was down and out. That’s the way it goes. It was a bad pitch.”

Eric Owens followed with a single to right but was forced out at second on a ground ball by reliever Vladmir Nunez, who came in for Clement in the sixth. After 97 pitches, Hargrove decided to pull Johnson, and the manager called on left-hander B.J. Ryan.

However, Ryan had little to offer. He struck out Luis Castillo but gave up back-to-back singles to Alex Gonzalez and Cliff Floyd, allowing Nunez to score for a 4-1 Florida lead. Hargrove then brought in Chad Paronto, but he fared no better. Paronto threw a wild pitch, which allowed Gonzalez to score, and then served up a two-run homer to Mike Lowell, who finished with three RBI. Four of the Marlins’ five runs came with two outs.

The game began on a bad note for the Orioles.

After Cal Ripken was honored with a 15-minute pregame ceremony that included an appearance by former Orioles manager Earl Weaver, Castillo, the Marlins’ leadoff hitter, hit a ground ball to third. Ripken handled it cleanly, but his throw was off the mark, and Castillo reached first on the error.

Florida didn’t score that inning but got on the board in the fourth on a solo home run by Kevin Millar and again in the sixth on an RBI double by Lowell.

It wasn’t much better for Ripken at the plate. He argued a called third strike in the third with home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez and went hitless, snapping his hitting streak at 15 games. However, Ripken did drive in the Orioles’ lone run with a ground out in the seventh.

After Clement got Ripken and Brook Fordyce on called third strikes in the third, he finally allowed a hit when Jason Johnson singled to left. But the two previous strikeouts didn’t please Hargrove, who came out of the dugout after the single and argued with Marquez.

After the game, Hargrove refused to use the calls as a reason for his team’s lack of offense.

“That’s a crutch,” he said. “[Clement] pitched well.”

And for the most part, so did Johnson.

“I thought Jason threw the ball well,” Hargrove said. “But [Clement] threw just as well.”

Notes Segui, who missed Saturday’s game in Atlanta with a sore left knee, left the game in the bottom of the second. Jeff Conine moved to first, and Jay Gibbons came in to replace Conine in left field. Hargrove said Segui will be examined today and is listed as day-to-day… .

Willis Roberts, the winning pitcher in Saturday night’s victory over Atlanta, threw a scare into the Orioles when he complained of dizziness on the mound and again in the clubhouse after the game. Yesterday the right-hander said he felt fine and believed it was because he failed to eat enough that day.

“I didn’t eat much before the game, and it was hot,” he said. “I feel good now.”

Hargrove also chalked it up to Roberts’ failure to eat properly. Ironically, Roberts had come under fire earlier this year for eating too much before he pitched.

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