Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Ever since the All-Star Break, Baltimore Oriole manager Earl Weaver has been complaining about his pitching. "We need some complete games and we're just not getting them," the little manager has said yesterday.
Ross Grimsley, the lefthander with the long curly hair and slow-motion fast ball, answered Weaver's request last night. He held the Cleveland Indians to four singles, was only in trouble one, and pitched the Birds to a 3-1 win.
It was only Baltimore's second complete game since the All-Star break.
"Earl told us in the meeting yesterday that individual records didn't matter anymore; it was going to have to be a team thing, so I don't know what this complete game bit is," the reticent hero said afterward. "I'm just out there trying to pitch my game; keep the ball down and keep the batters off balance."
Both Grimsley and Indian starter Al Fitzmorris did just that for most of the game. Each breezed through the first five innings with little trouble, using almost nothing but breaking pitches.
"Getting this type of game is big, real big," Weaver said. "I got to rest Dennis (Martinez) and now we should be in much better shape in the bullpen the rest of the week. Once we got past the first few innings, I felt better."
The Orioles finally got to Fitzmorris in the sixth. Billy Smith led off with a single, his team's third hit of the night. On a 3-1 pitch to Elliott Maddox, Smith took off on an apparent hit and run. Maddox missed the sign, however, and laid down a bunt.
As has happned so often this season, what looked like an Oriole mistake worked out perfectly. Maddox' bunt was perfect and Smith easily moved to second. From there, Ken Singleton drove Maddox home with a line single to center, his 66th RBI of the season.
That run would have been all Grimsley had needed if third baseman Doug DeCinces had not bobbled Andre Thornton's perfect double-play ground ball in the seventh just long enough for Thornton to beat the eventual relay from Smith.
Grimsley lost his cool for a moment at that point and wild-pitched Thornton to second. He stomped around the mound cursing himself for a couple of seconds and then gave up a two-out single to Bill Melton that scord Thornton with the tying run.
"We've gotten here playing good fundamental baseball," Weaver said. "I have to keep them from over-husting and trying to play above their capabilities, which we did a couple of times tonight. I have to keep on them about that."
Weaver was a little less worried after the O's put together a classic late-inning rally to win the game, and pull within 2 1/2 games of idle Boston. Tony Muser led off the eighth with a pinch hit double (batting for Dave Skaggs). Smith then laid down a perfect drag bunt and easily beat it out. Finally, Elliott Maddox went with an outside pitch to right field, as a hitter should do with men an base, to drive in the winning run. Lee May's single gave Baltimore an insurance run.
"When I saw them bring (reliever Jim Kern) in after Muser's doubel I was pretty sure I'd see a fast ball," Maddox said queitly. "With the man on third, I wanted a fly ball. But the pitch was down and away and I just sorta sliced it."
Grimsley struck out just one batter (in the first) but had to throw only 103 pitches, which was fortunate for him, since it was another humid, steamy night.