On a night that signaled a rebirth of the 1980 major league baseball season, pitcher Steve Stone scattered three hits and Ken Singleton cracked a two-run, eighth-inning homer to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
The Orioles, trailing, 3-2, in the eighth, produced a rally reminiscent of the kind that characterized their 1979 championship season.
al Bumbrey started the rally with adouble down the left field line. Rich Dauer singled, scoring Bumbrey. ThenSingleton, after working Tiger reliever Dave Rozema to a 3-2 count, crashed a line-drive over the left-field fence.
Stone's win raised his record to 6-3,while Tippy Martinez, who retired the Tigers in order in the ninth, collectedthe save. Tiger starter Jack Morris (4-5) got the loss.
Hours before the game, Oriole owner Edward Bennett Williams, referring to the players'strike that was averted early today, spoke to the Birds in the clubhouse.
"I said, 'Men, everything that happened before today doesn't count, look at it that way. Tonight we start a newseason,'" Williams said.
The Orioles' new season started witha bang went into a brief tailspin, then climaxed with a flourish.In the firstBumbrey beat out a bunt, then stole second, Dauer and Singleton were both walked by Morris before Eddie Murray produced a sacrifice fly to left scoringBumbrey with the Orioles' first run.
In the third Dauer again walked and Singleton slapped a double to right to put the Birds ahead, 2-0.
The Orioles' tailspin came in the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out, the Tigers' Richie Hebner stroked an easy double-play ball to Murray at first. Shortstop Mark Belanger, waiting to receive Murray's forceout throw, watched the ball fly over his head all the way to Gary Roenicke in left. Two Tigers scampered home on the error and Detroit led, 3-2.
The 16,274 Oriole faithful then waited until the eighth for the comeback. Everything was back to normal tonight at Memorial Stadium, as the Birds were born again.
Before the game Manager Earl Weaver slouched on a bench in the Orioles' wooden dugout, sucking on a filterless cigarette and grousing about the bruises, bumps and sprains that have plagued his Birds in this young season.
There was first baseman Murray, reaching over a wooden partition and scrawling autographs for the Unruly youngsters who screamed for his attention. s
The threatened players' strike, whichfor months darkened the spirits of players, fans and owners alike had been averted. So the turnstiles turned, the gloves and caps were donned, and themerry bunch in Section 34 roared O-R-I-O-L-E-S as the Birds squared off against the Detroit Tigers.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," yelled longtime Baltimore fan Joe Melenric, a 20-year-old Houstonian whopurchased tickets for last night's game months ago and flew home just to see theOrioles play at home. "I mighta killed somebody if they'd gone ahead andstruck," he said, watching wide-eyed as the Birds took batting practice.
"Now we get our act together," Singleton said, chewing sunflower seeds and tossing a ball across the infield. "There's no excuse now."
When did you find out about the agreement?" someone asked him.
"At 7 this morning."
"you musta been real happy." "Yeah," Singleton anwsered. "I went back to sleep."
"The strike," said shortstop and player representative Mark Belanger, smoking a cigarette in the clubhouse before tonight's game, "woulda hurt everyone real bad. Now it's time to have some fun again."
So everything was as it should have been last night a the ballpark in east Baltimore. "What are ya gonna do, just think about that," reflected Gordy Warner, a 34-year-old fan sipping a beer in Section 30. "without baseball, my God, we wouldn't have nothing to take our minds off Carter, Reagan and and all that mess. It woulda been hell."