The Baltimore Orioles parlayed some oldtime religion, a case of conjunctivitis and two home runs by a .096-hitting sub into a rousing 3-2 extra-inning victory over California today.
The hero of this bizarre affair was veteran Pat Kelly, who got to play only because .367 hitter Ken Singleten, who won Saturday night's game with a 10th inning single, showed up at Memorial Studium today with a swollen eye.
Kelly, 32, who was two for 23 before today and did not learn he was starting until minutes before the game, blasted a single and two home runs. His second blow, over the right-field fence to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning, made a winner of seven-hit pitcher Ross Grimsley and defeated righthander Paul Hartzell.
"I regret having to play baseball games on Sunday," said Kelly with a grin, "because it means I can't hear a good Baptist revival service in the morning.
"I've never been a dinger man (home-run hitter)," said the devout new Christian, "but I've found new strength in the Lord. I wish everyone could have the experience."
The Orioles, now 10-8 and playing far better than expected, treated the unselfish journeyman like a prince in his moment of glory.
"Wouldn't you know he'd hit 'em on Sunday,' teased Pitcher Tippy Martinez, "and against the Angels."
"if you want to send a telegram to Kelly, just address it 'In Care of Heaven,' crowed Tony Muser.
"Let me move out of here and give the man room," said RBI champion Lee May, abandoning his adjoining locker and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] gifts - to Kelly as he was interviewed over and over.
Finally, May scattered the fourth estate like Jesus dispersing the money changers. "Where have you reporters been all spring," May intoned, "while my man Kelly has been struggling." Let him rest now. He has struck two home runs, preached a sermon, drunk beer and eats my nauchies. That's enough. Go away."
Even Singleon, with his 486 on base percentage this year, didn't mind stepping out of the spotlight for a day. "I should be back tomorrow," he said, clutching his eye droos. "I guess I just got too much of Nolan Ryan's smoke in my eye Saturday night.
The Orioles other savior today was Grimsley. He infuriated the Angels, who hit a miserable 186 as a team for this series, with his assortment of slow, and slower, changerups.
In the 10th with the man in scoring position, he threw eight straight teasers to Bobby Grich and Bobby Bonds and lured both into feable ground outs.
After the eight inning, in fact, Bonds and Don Boylor were so mad they screamed at Grimsley as the teams changed sides, challenging him to " throw just one pitch like a man."
Grimsley grinned, shrugged and yelling right back. "There were a few adjectives flying," said the lefty whose 2.90 ERA is only fourth best among the Orinle starters. "What do they expect? East balls down the pipe?"
The Angels righthanded sluggers - Gritch, Bonds Baylor and Joe Rudi - finished 0 for 15 against Grimsley.
The Orioles two victories in three extra-inning games this weekend seemed ominous to Angel Manager Norm Sherry. "Low scoring games aren't our style," he said.
"Look at the team they had on the field at the end - Skaggs, Murray, Smith, Garcia, DeCinces, Shopay. Harlon and Kelly. A lot of fans probably couldn't identity what team that is. But they beat us," said Sherry.
"Everybody wants a million bucks to sign, but teams like Baltimore and Oakland are putting hungrey kids on the field and you can't tell the difference. Maybe there isn't much difference."
The Birds, young and old, would like to agree.
"All I know," said Billy Smith, who snapped his first slump, 0 for 12, with two hits, "Is that everybody's crazy helping everybody else andgetting keys hits."
Old coach Billy Hunter looked the 260 team ERA and predicted it wound't go up much. It'll surprise me end if we don't lead the league in pitching."