Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The Boston Red Sox left town in a hurry Thursday night with a tainted 5-4 victory in their hip pockets.
The Baltimore Orioles were left to count their sins.
The worst belonged to Kiko Garcia, henceforth in serious danger of being known as El Kicko. With two out in the top of the ninth, he carelessly tribbled the ball at shortstop, an error that presented the first-place Bosox with the final decisive run.
But Garcia was not alone. In the second inning, leftfielder Gary Roenicke played a routine double off the wall by Fred Lynn into an easy triple when he almost let the carom decapitale him. That extra base produced Boston's first run on a sacrifice fly.
The 20-11 Bosox got two extremely honest runs on Jim Rice's two-run homer in the third inning. Rice was actually trying to poke a hit-and-run single to right field, but the way he is crushing the ball, the line drive carried over the fence into the Boston bullpen with plenty to spare.
After Rice's blast, Martinez settled down, getting 17 outs in 18 batters, before allowing two men to reach with one out in the ninth. The Orioles trailed then by a mere 3-2.
However, usually dependable reliever Don Stanhouse joined the list of Birds who proved that an Oriole's head is large enough to accommodate goat's horns.
Bernie Carbo tagged Stanhouse's first pitch for an opposite-field RBI single. Nevertheless, it was Garcia's blunder two batters later - with men at the corners and two out - that decided this game.
Jerry Remy hit an easy two-hopper directly at Garcia. But the young, skitterish shortstop turned the routine forceout into a routine basketball play. He dribbled the ball once before making his shovel pass.
Second-sacker Billy Smith compounded the felony. He failed to keep the tag on the upright Carbo, who stumbled over the bag and languised like a beached seal for what seemed to be an eternity of a split second while Smith glared at the umpire rather than pouncing on Carbo. A third-out tag still might have preceded the runner crossing the plate.
The winner tonight was southpaw Bill Lee, the zany, junk-balling "Spaceman" who seemed washed up for much of the last two seasons after being injured in a brawl with the New York Yankees.Lee, tossing more slop than a hog farmer, now has the best record in baseball - 5-0.
Lee lasted only 6 1/3 innings tonight. He was knocked out by a balloon.
Lee was cruising with a 3-1 lead and one out in the seventh when a nutty blue balloon, tied in fancy knots like one of comedian Steve Martin's hats, floated out of the stands and directly to Lee.
Instead of popping it immediately, then getting back to work, he couldn't resist clowning.
Lee pretended to miss the balloon when he tried to step on it. Then he stuffed the outlandish thing in his hip pocket until the umpire facetiously ordered him to pop it.
The Spaceman, all smiles as the crowd laughed, never got another out. A line single and a hit batter later, he was on the way to the showers, sucking on his blistered thumb as he left, while the PA system blared the Johnny Paycheck song, "Take This Job and Shove It."
However, it was the Orioles who felt the frustration only seconds later. Eddie Murray, who gave the O's a sudden-death victory Wednesday with a ninthinning homer, came up with the sacks loaded, only one out and got ahead of the count, 2-0, against reliever Bob Stanley.
The Boston defense last night was as trusty as the O's defense was bad. Remy and Rick Burleson pulled off a nifty double play on Murray's chopper. The DP preserved a 3.2 Boston lead and allowed Leo to remain eligible for the win.
Bases-loaded fizzles were the Orioles modus operandi last night. In the ninth inning, a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases and brought Murray up as the potential winning run. The crowd pleaded, but a sacrifice fly, making the tally 5-3, was all he could deliver.
Lee May followed with what should have been an easy final-out liner to Rice in left. But Rice, who fields best as a DH, lost the ball in the lights. The fluke single made the count 5-4 and brought up dreams of a second straight sudden victory.
Roenicke, however, gave Rice a replay with a similar lazy fly and this time Rice gobbled it.