Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Southpaw Mike Flanagan was sitting in his lucky seat, pounding his fist in his lucky glove and pulling his lucky hat ever lower over his eyes, when Eddie Murray's black bat struck 10th-inning lightning.
"I was fightin' the bad vibrations, but they were winning," grinned Flanagan, moments after the Baltimore Orioles had escaped with their 12th consecutive victory, 3-2, over Seattle in 11 innings.
For the second night in a row, Larry Harlow delivered a single to bring in the run that sank the Mariners.
The Oriole streak had been down to its final out just minutes before. In the bottom of the 10th inning with no one on base, two out and the Mariners ahead, 2-1, the crowd chants of "Go, go" that began the inning had changed to "Please, please."
Flanagan had pitched one of the Orioles' most brilliant games of the season, facing two men above the minimum through nine innings. But a wind-blown pop-fly double in the first and a solo homer by Leon Roberts in the 10th had put him behind, driving him to his lucky, for-special-occasions-only seat next to the pole in the home dugout.
"If it had been anybody at bat except Eddie Murray, I'd have been real worried," Flanagan said. "But Eddie's won or saved at least seven games for me in less than a year with late-inning hits."
Murray, like the rest of the O's, until then had looked like Lou Costello against the Mariners' Glenn Abbott.
"I was thinking curve ball," said Murray. "He'll do anything not do give up a homer in that spot, so he's not going to throw a fast ball near the plate."
So Murray lashed his ebony stick into a 1-1 curve, driving it through a brisk cross-wind into the Mariner bullpen to retie the game.
Once reprieved, the O's only waited one more inning to bring Flanagan his ninth win.
"Just a matter of time," Flanagan joked after the 11-inning five-hitter brought his record to 9-4. "Lucky hat, lucky glove, lucky seat. Even had my legs crossed. They weren't getting me out of there until we won. I was coming back out for the 12th inning, too. Call me Mr. Tough."
Flanagan was kidding, but don't tell Seattle. Flanagan retired 18 Mariners in a row at one stretch, got 20 outs in 20 batters, and retired the side in order eight times. The young Mariners were lucky if they deflected one strike in three before it slapped into catcher Rick (Brick) Dempsey's glove.
Seattle's untainted run came on Roberts' homer that cleared the leftfield fence by a foot. Even then outfielder Pat Kelly took an awful wrong-foot jump that kept him from making a difficult but plausible catch.
Kelly, who had double home the O's first run, atoned for his fielding in the 11th. After his leadoff walk, he stole second. Billy Smith's sacrifice bunt attempt eluded reliever Ehrique Romo for a hit. After a Smith steal and a walk loaded the bases with none out, it was pick-a-hero time for the O's.
Kiko Garcia declined the role, tapping into a short-to-home force, but Harlow ripped a liner off the drawn-in first baseman's glove.
"People are in the parking lot trying to get back into the park," crowed Oriole outfielder Ken Singleton. "Just like last year."