Even though Jim Palmer is not quite up to par, those otherwise "no-name" Baltimore Orioles seem determined to crash the American League aEast's pennant party.
The Orioles, with Palmer notching his 190th carrer victory, pinned a 6-3 defeat on the American League's even lesser-known birds, the Toronto Blue Jays, Monday night, and, in doing so, moved within 2 1/2 games of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL east.
Palmer, who had a seven-hit shutout for eight innings, didn't pitch the ninth and has completed only four of 12 starts since the All-Star break. Over that stretch, his record is 5.3, which makes the Orioles' stubborn refusal to fold even more amazing, since he's generally regrded as their meal ticket.
"I feel fine, but I did not have a sore spot in my shoulder tonight," said Palmer, who struck out seven and walked three in running his record to 16-11. "I wasn't too encouraged with my performance but we're playing well and we feel we can take it."
Meanwhile, it was once again one of those "no-names" - Dave Skages - coming through with the timely hits that helped Palmer and the Orioles keep pace with both the Yankees and second-place Red Sox. Skaggs drove home two runs with singles in the second and sixth innings.
Since being recalled from the minors at midseason to replac injured first-string catcher Rick Dempsey, Skaggs has been one of the Orioles' most productige hitters.
"The reason I'm hitting now is because they're no longer asking me to pull the ball like they did in the minors," said Skaggs. "They're letting me hit up the middle."
Elsewhere in the AL: White Sox 7, Twins 3
Bob Coluccio and Oscar Gamble each belted two-run singles during a five-run sixth-inning that enable the White Sox to deal the slumping Twins their fifth straight loss. The win, which went to reliever Dave Hamilton, moved the second-place White Sox within eight games of Kansas city. Rangers 3, Angle2
Mike Hargrove's two-run single and Dave May's RBI double gave Texas its runs and prevented Nolan Ryan from becoming the AL's first 20-game winner, Ryan, 19'14, gave up five hits and struck out nine in the seven innings he pitched. Indians 8, Tigers 1
Wayne Garland snapped a personal five-game losing streak with a six-hitter and Paul Dade FDrove in three cleveland runs with a pair of singles. Garland, 11-18, struck out five and walked two.