In a fitting climax to a virtuoso pitching performance, Mike Flanagan struck out the final two Milwaukee batters with Brewers on first and second tonight to preserve the Baltimore Orioles' 3-2 comeback victory in front of 23,504 at Memorial Stadium.
Second baseman Rich Dauer slammed a one-out two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead - their first of the night. It snapped a four-game losing streak and kept the Orioles American League East lead at 5 1/2 games over Boston, which beat Cleveland, 3-2.
But Dauer had to share hero honors with Flanagan. The southpaw survived a 1-hour 21-minute rain delay in the fourth inning, went the route to win his league-lead-tying 15th game and victimized most of Milwaukee's dangerous batsmen with several of his 10 strikeouts.
Flanagan (15-7) scattered all six Brewer hits over the first eight innings to keep the late-starting Oriole offense within striking distance. He gave up only one earned run and that one came off a lucky roll of the ball for the visitors.
But that effort would have gone for naught had not Flanagan reached out for something extra and found it to chop down Charlie Moore (.345) and Robin Yount with the Brewers showing the tying and winning runs on first and second in the last inning.
Flanagan, who now is four victories short of his best season ever in his four-plus major league campaigns (19-15 with the Orioles last season), threw an extraordinarily high 153 pitches, but needed only seven to whiff Moore and Yount after Sal Bando reached base on a fielder's choice and moved to second when Flanagan issued his third walk of the game, to Him Wohlford.
Flanagan struck out Moore on a 1-2 fast ball to bring up Yount, who had singled in the third and socred the first Brewer run on Cecil Cooper's double.
Flanagan fired two fast balls: Yount missed on the first and fouled the second out of play.
"Charley Bree (who measures Oriole itchers' speed with a radar gun had told me I'd been throwing the fast ball in the 90s (mph) all night," Flanagan said. "I'm usually around 89, so I knew I was going pretty good."
Flanagan then sizzled a slider to Yount, who was so mixed up that he slung the bat past third base as he fanned for the game's final out.
"Demper (catcher Rick Demper) had called a hell of a game," Flanagan said. "I didn't throw to any one batter the same way twice: If I pitched him inside once, I'd go outside the next time. I hadn't thrown the slider in five innings."
Dauer's shot in the eighth fulfilled a promise he mace to himself and some teammates before the game.
"I was telling guys that I dind't care what I did as long as I did something to help out," Dauer said.
The Orioles had tied the socre, 1-1, on Eddie Murray's 16th home run, a leadoff shot three rows into the right field bleachers in the seventh. But Milwaukee came right back in the eighth with its second Lady Luck run.
Yount had scored from first in the third inning when Cooper's hot grounder down the third base line bounced off the base of the stands and rolled dead in foul territory 150 feet above the nearest Oriole.
In the eighth, Don Money hit a shot to the left field fence, which John Lowenstein failed to hold onto when he crashed while gloving the ball. Center fielder Al Bumbry twice bobbled the ball while trying to find the handle and his error allowed Money to reach third. Cooper then got him home with a sacrifice fly.
"That play (in the eighth) took a lot out of us," Dauer said. "But, the way we've been losing lately, you sure don't want to lose a game when Flanagan was pitching great."
Pinch hitter Terry Drowley dropped a double in left-center with one Oriole out in the eighth and Billy Smith came in to pinch run. Bubmry then atoned for his miscue in the top of the frame with a single, putting Smith on third, and a steal of second on a low-percentage fast ball by Bill Castro - the fourth Brewer pitcher of the game. That set up Dauer's 10th game-winning RBI of the season: on a fly ball to the right field corner on a 2-1 pitch.
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