The champagne never was uncorked in the Oriole locker room tonight, so most of the Birds began uncapping beers.

Not Eddie Murray. The 23-year-old first baseman sat in front of his locker, put his feet up on a chair and sipped on a cup of grape juice.

He stared straight ahead and grimly, quitely answered questions about his eighth-inning bases-loaded line drive that landed in Dave Parker's glove for the final out of the inning with the O's trailing, 2-1, in the seventh game of the World Series.

"He took something off his fast ball," Murray said, his voice barely audible. "It was a changeup. It might have been a little low and outside but it was to good to take with two strikes.

"When I hit it, I knew I hit it hard, I hit the pitch as good as I could hit it, in fact. I knew it wasn't out but I hoped it would go in the alley anywhere to his (Parker's) left or right.

"When Parker caught it I felt let down. Hey man, I wanted to the hit, right? That's all I wanted to do, get a hit."

The last 21 times that Murray came to bat in this World Series he tried to get a hit -- an failed. But it was his final at-bat that he and his teammates will remember for a long time.

"If the ball goes a little one way or the other it's a three-run double and Eddie's the hero of the Series, " Manager Earl Weaver said. "It that a hit, all people would have talked about all winter would be that hit. Now . . . Weaver shrugged.

Three lockers down from Murray sat Ken Singleton, surrounded by reporters. With men on second and third in th eighth Pirate Manager Chuck Tanner ordered pitcher Kent Tekulve to walk Singleton (who finished the series hitting .357) to load the bases and get to Murray.

"He made the right move," Singleton said. "I wouldn't have pitched to me in that situation either. I really wanted a chance to hit, you know, either do it or not do it but have a crack at it.

"I was disappointed they walked me but I understood it. I've been walked before and I'll probably be walked again. I had faith in Eddie. Tekulve threw a good pitch and he hit a line drive. What more could he do? He gave it his best shot."

Murray, still nursing the grape juice, was not comforted by his teammates' pats on the back and handshakes. It was not until long after President Carter left the locker room that he started for the showers.

"He threw a good pitch," Murray said of Tekulve. "I just wanted the ball to fall somewhere. He's a good pitcher but he's just a pitcher, nothing special.

"I didn't take it as any special challenge or anything when they walked Ken. All I was thing about was 'get a hit, get a hit.'

"I didn't."

No one in the Oriole clubhouse was blaming Murray for the loss. DeCinces, standing next to Murray, reached over and said simply: "We had a great year, man. There's 24 other teams that wish they had the chance we had tonight."

Murray nodded his head but he didn't seem to hear. He was still staring straight ahead, glaring at reporters as if to say, "Why can't you leave me alone in my misery?"

Most did. "If Eddie had a slump like this in midseason, went cold for seven days, hardly anyone would notice," said Weaver. His batting average would probably drop about four points or so. But when it happens in the World Series, everone notices."

The little manager smiled when first President Carter, then Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes came into his office to offer congratulations, but he admitted that losing the Series was a big letdown.

"I feel bad," he said. "we won 10, games. We needed 109, we fell one short. The frustration will stay for awhile but I'm proud. We had an outstanding season. We beat the Yankees, the Red Sox and California in the playoffs.

"Our bats went stale one game too soon," Weaver said.

"Certainly, I feel sad, no doubt about it," he added. I down empty because the object of the game is to win.

"I won't go home and hit against any walls," he said, "but I won't necessarily relax either. We had just about every move we wanted to more, but when the ball players don't come through, your moves don't look quite as good.

"I felt okay at the plate," Murray said, the grape juice almost gone now. "They made some good pitches, I took some bad swings.

"What can I say? We wanted to be No. 1 in the world and we ended up No. 2. It hurts."

The grape juice was now gone. Murray still hadn't moved. Behind him a vendor was chattering, "Don't talk to them, Eddie, you hit a line drive, man, forget about it, just forget about it."

Would he forget any time soon? Murray was asked.

"No," Murray said, tossing the cup away. "Would you?"