Scott McGregor made it short and sweet tonignt. "That's a good way to put it," said McGregor, who pitched a four-hitter and beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 1-0, in exactly 1 hour 51 minutes.
It was the Orioles' shortest game this season and their seventh win in their last nine games.
McGregor threw 80 pitches, "the lowest I've ever seen," said his pitching coach, Ray Miller. "There were 62 strikes and only one 3-2 count." Then, he threw a change-up for a strike.
"It was phenomenal. We call him Dr. Small. He has a PhD in pitching."
Manager Earl Weaver smiled and said, "We told him to throw 75 pitches and he could start tomorrow. But he screwed up and threw 80."
Which was a good thing, because Toronto starter and loser Dave Stieb was almost as good, allowing only five hits, two to the first two batters.
Ken Singleton, who studies pitchers the way some kids study baseball cards, noticed last year that Stieb tends not to repeat his pitches, throwing one fast, one slow. And that's how he started out tonight.
Al Bumbry led off in the first with a double off the rightfield wall. He scored the first and last run of the night when Stieb fell behind 3-0 on Richard Dauer, and Dauer doubled down the third-base line.
Singleton, who went one for three tonight (and is 21 for 40 in the last 12 games), may have thought he knew what was coming on the 3-1 pitch. He hit it hard but right at second baseman, Damaso Garcia, who threw Dauer out at third.
Singleton and his theory were left stranded at second base. Stieb gave up only three more hits through the next seven innings, and the score remained 1-0.
McGregor had it all tonight. "You've got to keep it through nine innings," he said. "That's the trick."
With one out in the ninth, McGregor gave up a single to catcher Bob Davis, who went to second when Alfredo Griffin bounced to third. But McGregor fanned pinch-hitter Garth Iorg on three pitches for his sixth strikeout.
Owner Edward Bennett Williams was one of 14,884 who wittnessed the masterful performance. Asked what he thought the Orioles, who are 13-8 in in June, would have to do to catch the Yankees, he said, "I don't know. We've proved you don't do it by playing .650 ball."
Weaver is conceding nothing: "We played .800 and lost a game (to the Yankees). Now we've played 9500 for four games and picked up two in the loss column. You can't project what anyone's going to do."