The Baltimore Orioles opened defense of their American League championship today with a four-run burst in the first inning that carried them to a 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Jim Palmer was the winning pitcher.

The temperature at game time was 40 degrees and the infamous Chicago lakefront gale set the wind-chill factor at 22 degrees. The cold did not affect the Orioles.

Bill Veeck, the White Sox owner-president-promoter-cheerleader, tried to warm the bodies and souls of the 35,539 partisans in Comiskey Park by having them wave small American flags to the tune of a Star Spangled medley that began with the National Anthem. It had no warming effect on Veeck's White Sox.

A rejuvenated Palmer froze the Chicago bats for seven innings, while allowing only six hits and one earned run and striking out four. The 34-year-old, three-time Cy Young award winner gave way to Oriole reliever Tim Stoddard in the eighth inning and retired willingly to the warm clubhouse.

"It was cold," Palmer said. "But the weather didn't bother me as much as it would have if we hadn't gotten four runs in the first inning."

Al Bumbry opened the game with a pop-fly double past Claudell Washington, who got a late start before stumbling in left field. Mark Belanger bunted Bumbry to third and reached first when Lamar Johnson dropped pitcher Steve Trout's easy toss to first base.

Trout hit Ken Singleton with a pitch loading the bases with none out. Eddie Murray ended the slump that started in the 1979 World Series with a ground double down the third-base line, just under the reluctant glove of Chicago's Alan Bannister, who made his first start in five years at third. That made it 2-0.

Trout balked home the third run, Doug DeCinces grounded Murray home and the Orioles had four runs on two less-than-potent hits. The Chicago fans showed their disfavor by taking off their mittens just long enough to give their Sox a loud, sarcastic ovation.

From there, Palmer held Chicago to four hits -- only one for extra bases -- through seven innings and looked like the pitcher who had won 20 games eight straight years, as opposed to the back-pained Palmer who suffered through a 10-6 record last year.