Steve Stone and the Baltimore Orioles can be forgiven if they are seeing the world through rose-colored glasses these days.
Right-hander Stone, after four straight defeats, tried wearing glasses tonight and joined the Orioles' corps of overpowering hurlers with eight innings of seven-hit, two-walk, one-run pitching against the Texas Rangers.
Doug DeCinces' error and Don Stanhouse's gopher ball, which gave rookie Pat Putnam his second homer of the game, make the final score of 4-3 closer than the 30,806 fans cared for, but the Orioles nevertheless clung to first place with their 33rd victory in 46 games.
More important than the results was the possibility that Stone, a highly paid free-agent acquisition, may be ready to earn that bundle after some ineffective performances.
"The glasses helped me see the catcher a little bit more," Stone said. "Against Texas in Texas, I wasn't seeing Rick Dempsey's signals very well. I had worn glasses for night time early in my career and I decided to wear them tonight.
"I was able to get good location tonight and control was the secret to the success, that and getting in a real good pitch when I had to. I'm not going to say putting on glasses will make me another Jim Palmer, but the way things have been going in this streak I'm ready to try anything."
When Stone walked John Grubb on a 3-2 pitch to start the game, the pitcher could hear the boo-birds begin to rehearse their tune in the upper reaches of Memorial Stadium. Except for Punam's fifth-inning homer, however, they found little else to criticize this time.
"I think anybody who says he doesn't hear those boos is lying," Stone said. "As hard as you try to put the whole world out of your mind when you go out there, some things creep up on you.
"When I came here, it was a case of leaving behind, by my own choice, everyone I knew, my businesses, and going to a new city and a new situation. I have a new house but it isn't ready and I've been moving from place to place. I have no feeling of stability.
"As much as you are a pro, I don't think anybody gives you credit for being a human being, and understands the problems you face. This is one of the few professions where you are subject to the immediate reaction of spectators. The good thing about it is that with a few good games, the same people who have been booing will be cheering. It's just as easy to turn them around."
Run-scoring singles by Gary Roenicke and Lee May sent the Orioles ahead to stay in the fourth inning against Texas' Dock Ellis. After Putnam conneted on a Stone fast ball in the fifth, May and DeCinces produced RBI singles in the sixth.
DeCinces' two-out single, which finished Ellis, was his first hit since April 26. He had been 0-for-14 since returning Tuesday from a six-week layoff with a torn back muscle.
Stone survived an eighth inning in which Buddy Bell rifled a double off the left field wall and Al Oliver drove a ball two feet foul into the seats in right. For the ninth, Manager Earl Weaver went to his bullpen for the first time in four games.
Stanhouse was betrayed by DeCinces' fumble of John Ellis' grounder before Putnam blasted one over the fence in center. Two routine outs were followed by Gary Holle's first major-league hit, a double to right-center. But shortstop Mark Belanger, a defensive replacement, gobbled up Bump Will's grounder and all was rosy in Baltimore. CAPTION: Picture, Gary Roenicke gets hand on plate to score Orioles' second run in fourth. Texas catcher Jim Sundberg disputed call. AP