Jim Palmer failed to complete a game for the 10th time in 11 starts tonight, but two-run singles by Terry Crowley and Kiko Garica assured the Baltimore Orioles a 5-2 triumph over the slump-ridden California Angels before 18,683 fans.
Palmer did go 7 2/3 innings, good enough for his sixth win against three losses, but Tim Stoddard was on the scene for the save when Garcia clinched the outcome with a basesfilled single in the bottom of the eight.
Garcia, the stocky shortstop just recently off the 15-day disabled list after suffering lower back problems, connected off reliever Mark Clear after the Angels had scored once in the eight to narrow the deficit to 3-2.
"It was a fast ball," noted Garcia, who had gone hitless in three prior trips to the plate. "He threw both fast balls and sliders to me, but once he got behind I didn't think he'd come back with a slider."
Ironically, Garcia probably would not have batted had John Lowenstein been healthy. Lowenstein bruised a hip Sunday in Seattle, last stop before the 10-game home stand that opened tonight.
Crowley, lately bothered by a hamstring pull, also appears healthy. His two-run single in the first inning helped stake Palmer to a 3-0 lead. After Ken Singleton walked with two out, Eddie Murray singled. Pat Kelly's double to right scored Singleton. Crowley singled up the middle to score Murray and Kelly.
Palmer gave up a run in the second on Joe Rudi's single, which scored Jason Thompson from second, and then coasted into the eighth. The veteran right-hander, who has not lost to the Angles at home since 1975 (6-0), retired 10 straight batters from the fourth inning into the seventh.
But in the eighth, with one down, Rod Carew singled to center and Thompson walked. Carney Lansford then popped to right to leave it to Rudi. Tim Stoddard replaced Palmer.
Rudi already had helped keep the game close when he jumped above and reached over the eight-foot left field fence in the second inning to grab Rick Dempsey's 350-foot bid for a home run.
Now Rudi managed to get a piece of a Stoddard fast ball, and his opposite-field single to right scored Carew. But Bobby Grich grounded to Garcia to end the Angel rally.
Andy Hassler, who had replaced Angel starter Chris Knapp in the seventh, walked Mark Corey and Dough DeCinces in the eighth. Clear came in and loaded the bases on a walk to Dempsey before Garcia connected.