BASEBALL Bones rattles complaining Orioles

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The Independent Online

Accusations of ball-tampering are not confined to cricket, and the Baltimore Orioles skipper, Phil Regan, had a complaint to make about Ricky Bones.

The Milwaukee Brewers pitcher brilliantly shut out the Orioles, with no hits over seven and a third innings, while Kevin Seitzer and John Jaha each hit two-run home runs in a 7-0 Brewers win in the Orioles' opening home game on Monday night.

"He was changing speeds really good but at least seven balls were scuffed," Regan said. "All the balls were scuffed in the same place."

"I wasn't doing anything wrong," Bones retorted. "I'm a sinker pitcher - sinker, slider, curve. I didn't scuff the ball."

The Milwaukee manager, Phil Garner, backed him up. "Bones did a masterful job," he said. "He threw the ball where he wanted."

Graeme Lloyd pitched the rest of the game without allowing a hit to give the Brewers a fifth win in their first six games and make Baltimore's record two wins and four defeats.

Baltimore's Mike Mussina lasted only four innings and surrendered five runs and nine hits, also allowing the home runs by Seitzer and Jaha.

The fall-out from the strike continues to affect baseball attendances, and there was a muted air to proceedings as the San Francisco Giants continued their rivalry with the LA Dodgers.

Terry Mulholland pitched seven scoreless innings and Glenallen Hill hit a two-run homer to lead the Giants to their third shut-out of the season in a 7-0 win over the Dodgers. But the game was played before 10,828, the lowest turn-out at San Francisco's Candlestick Park since 10 September last year. It was the smallest crowd to witness a Dodgers-Giants game in San Francisco since September 1985.

"It was strange seeing such a small crowd for a Dodger game in Candlestick," the Dodgers manager, Tommy Lasorda, said. "I could hardly believe it. I hardly got booed."