The Baltimore Orioles and 44,646 fans enjoyed a lot of laughs at the expense of the world champion New York Yankees tonight. The last one celebrated the Orioles' come-from-behind 8-6 victory.
A two-out, two-run double by Eddie Murray created a 606 tie in the seventh and Lee May promptly untied it with his 12th game-winning RBI of the season. But the key play of the inning was contrived by Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver.
Singles by Ken Singleton and Gary Roenicke, with Oscar Gamble's fumble in left tacked on, sent New York starter Tommy John to the showers with runners on second and third and two out, the Yankees ahead, 6-4.
Although the switch-hitting Murray is a superior batter from the left side, New York Manager Billy Martin called on right-hander Ron Davis, choosing a 9-1 six-save record over cold statistics.
But Martin, who personally yanked John, apparently had second thoughts, because Art Fowler, the ptiching coach, waddled out to talk to Davis before he had thrown a pitch. That gave Weaver a chance to lodge his almost nightly formal protest. In the process, Davis fussed while Weaver fumbled for almost 10 minutes.
Finally, announcer Rex Barney told the crowd, "Manager Earl Weaver is protesting the two trips to the mound. Manager Billy Martin is protesting Weaver's protest."
The fans loved it. After a foul tip by Murray, Weaver was back out for more discussion. The exasperated Davis was about to become worse off, and the fans a lot happier, because Murray lined a shot up the alley in right center to tie the game. May drilled a grounder through Gold Glove third baseman Graig Nettles and Murray $&(WORD ILLEGIBLE $&)See ORIOLES, C2, Col. 1> $&(WORD ILLEGIBLE $&)ORIOLES, From C1> tore around third as Nettles chased the ball down the line.
The eighth Baltimore run was a laugher, too. After Mark Belanger's a one-out single in the eighth, pinch hitter Al Bumbry lined a shot to center. Bobby Brown, the onetime Oriole farmhand, raced back, turned, stuck up his glove and dropped the ball. He had trouble picking it up, too, and Belanger scored on what was charitably scored a double and an error.
Tippy Martinez earned his seventh victory in relief of Dennis Martinez and said, smiling, "That was hilarious." Weaver might have been expected to be smirking a bit, too, but instead he gave the media an invitation to depart his office after the questioning got around to his motives for the on-field filibuster.
Murray had not faced Davis before and he said he enjoyed the lengthy wait before he blasted his double.
"It gave me a chance to see him throw in the warmups," Murray said. "He threw so many warmups I had a good look at everything he had."
"He (Weaver) doesn't rattle me at all, claimed Davis. "He's just a terrible manager. All he is is a showboat."
A second trip to the mound is prescribed by the rules, but there is considerable doubletalk involved, so perhaps the American League should be glad Baltimore won. Otherwise, Weaver might never shut up.
A matchup of a 15-game winner, John, and a 14-game winner, Dennis Martinez, figured to be a low-scoring duel, but Oriole-Yankee watchers have learned that anything can happen when these clubs meet.
Tonight, Bobby Murcer came down with the flu, necessitating a last-minute Yankee lineup switch. Gamble took his place in left field and ended his two-week hitless streak in New York by whacking four straight hits, all involved in run production, including a two-run homer. Chris Chambliss rapped a two-run homer.
Benny Ayala had a similar blow for Baltimore and Brown leaped above the top of the fence in center to rob May of another.
John survived three walks and three wild pitches in the third and fourth innings and departed after throwing 119 pitches in 6 2/3 frames.
The Yankees slipped ahead, 5-4, in the sixth, when Dennis Martinez left. They had a chance to put away the game with the bases loaded and one out, but Martin permitted lefty Brad Gulden to bat against southpaw Tippy Martinez, who fanned him. Bucky Dent then grounded into an inning-ending force out. Martin sent up a hitter for Gulden the next time around.
The crowd sent the season attendance to 1,095,619 with 26 dates left. That is more than the total attendance in 21 of the Orioles' 25 previous seasons and only 108,000 short of the record figure in 1966.
More than 8,000 tickets remain for Saturday night's game and 10,000 are left for Sunday. CAPTION: Picture 1, Benny Ayala is congratulated by teammates Mark Belanger.; Picture 2, Ken Singleton after hitting two-run homer in first to match blow for Yankees by Oscar Gamble who went four for four; Picture 3, As Tommy John fell to 15-6 before 44,646. Photos by Richard Darcey - The Washington Post; Picture 4, Yankee Manager Billy Martin and rookie umpire Dallas Parks, right, have a few words as umpire Dave Phillips listens. By Richard Darcey - The Washington Post