Ken Singleton of the Orioles got in some extra batting practice today for Tuesday's All-Star Game here in the Kingdome.
The Baltimore right fielder drove in three runs with a double and a homer to back Dennis Martinez's four-hitter, a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
It was Singleton's 21st homer and second in two days here, and provided a fitting ending for the long Oriole road trip.
Today's blast left the All-Star bound Singleton just three shy of his career high for a season (24 in 1977) and ties him with Boston's Jim Rice for fourth place in the American League.
Martinez tied Mike Flanagan for the club lead in wins with the victory. Both have 12-6 records. Martinez has won two straight to rebound from a four-game losing streak. Earlier this season, he won 10 in a row.
The Orioles have won five of their last seven games after beginning this road trip with five straight losses. It was the seventh time they've beaten Seattle in eight tries this year.
The Orioles go into the All-Star break with a two-game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East, the seventh time in the club's history that it has led at the break. On four of the previous six occasions, Baltimore went on to win the division or pennant.
In beating the Mariners the second game in a row, the Orioles cooled down one of the league's hottest young pitchers. Seattle starter Rick Honeycutt had won five straight and six of his last seven games, allowing only one earned run in his last 25 1/3 innings. In his last two outings, he threw a three-hitter and a two-hitter.
But he has yet to beat Baltimore and was chased midway through the fifith inning today, suffering his sixth loss in 12 decisions.
Martinez lost his shutout in the seventh when Dan Meyer drove home Willie Horton with a sacrifice fly after Horton tripled.
The only other hits off Martinez were Bruce Bochte's first-inning double, Joe Simpson's second-inning single and Bob Stinson's eighth-inning infield single. Martinez retired 15 straight batters between Simpson's single and Norton's triple.
Three members of the Orioles' bullpen crew delighted the crowd of 11,159 between the seventh and eighth innings when they caged the famous San Diego Chicken. The bird, performing at Mariner games prior to appearing at baseball's 50th All-Star Game, was rolled off the field in an equipment cart. He later escaped.
"It (the home run) came at the right time to help us win a ball game," said Singleton, a nonstarting All-Star selection. "Actually, I just missed another one in the first inning, but I got jammed. "If you can keep the ball away from center field here, you've always got a chance for a home run.
"We've still got the lead. That's the important thing. And now we'll be going home. It seems like we should be home for the rest of the season, we've been on the road so much."
"The whole club had a little slump and I did, too," explained Martinez, who needed only 96 pitches today. "I now have 12 (victories) and a shot at winning 20, but if I only win 17 or 18 and we win the pennant, that'll be fine, too. That's what we're all working for as a team."