"Hey, Bambi," Doug DeCinces hollered to old pitching coach George Bamberger in the madness of the Baltimore Oriole locker room, "have another beer. Slow that old ticker down. Don't have a blowout."
For the second time in 20 hours that Orioles had nipped the haughty New York Yankees in a game that threatened to cause heart attacks in both dugouts.
This time the Birds won, 4-3, in 12 nationally televised innings to nose into first place in the American League East by half-game. "We did it in full view of the whole country," crowed manager Earl Weaver, who admitted the afternoon was like "3-hours and 12 minutes in hell."
Eddie Murray and Billy Smith, two bargain-basement rookies on the skids, won the game.
Murray, 0 for 17 before his double won Friday's night game, 6-5, came to bat in the 12th with two on and two out looking at a 1-for-23 slump. He smoked a hooking liner into left to beat reliever Sparky Lyle.
Smith was a hero twice over. In the bottom of the 10th, with two on and none out, he speared Chris Chambliss' one-hop smash, then crawled out of the dirt to start a double play.
Ross Grimsely, who gave up a run in the first and second, then checked New York for eight innings, finished the escaped by getting Graig Nettles to fly out.
Smith was back in 11th, singling home at Pat Kelly for a 3-2 lead. But the Yanks answered in the bottom half, as Willie Randolph's single tied the game again.
If this victory was glorious for the Orioles, the step-children of the free agent era, it was galling for the million-dollar Yankees.
Manager Billy Martin benched Reggie Jackson today and lived to regret it. Right field replacement Jimmy Wynn, 0-for-23 before the game and 0-for-4 in it slipped and fell in the seventh on a line drive hit near him by Al Bumbry. The ball rolled to the wall for a tainted double and drove in the only two runs off Mike Torrez in the first 10 innings.
Martins was further galled in the bottom of the ninth after Nettles opened with a double. Martin was fined $2,500 a week ago for criticizing Yankee management for not bringing up a third catcher, Elrod Hendricks, from the minors for emergencies.
Today, with Thurmon Munson out with a cut and swollen index finger, there was an emergency. The Yanks were caught short with only one catcher, Fran Healy. With Nettles on second, none out, Martin wanted to pinch hit and sacrifice bunt. He couldn't. Healy had to bat, fouled off one bunt, then pooped out swinging. The rally died.
Again in the 10th the Yanks fizzled, thanks to Smith's brilliant double play.
In the bottom of the 11th, 0's head 3-2, it was Weaver's turn to pull his gray hair. A walk and sacrifice to start the inning had the gutty Grimsley in his umpteenth jam.
But Weaver stuck with the lefty the Orioles call "Captain Do Do" because of all the junk he throws. Weaver had asked for one pitch to many. Randolph's single into center brought on former Yank Tippy Martinez, who put out the fire and got the victory an inning later. Ironically, it was another Oriole Martinez - Dennis - who beat the New Yonkers on Friday.