The Orioles' Steve Stone probably pitched himself onto the American League All-Star team tonight by holding the Toronto Blue Jays to one run on six hits in winning his eighth consecutive game, 4-1, at Memorial Stadium.
The 32-year-old right-hander tossed his fourth straight complete game and is tied with the Yankees' Tommy John for the American League lead in wins with 10.
Stone struck out nine -- mostly on sweeping curve balls -- including the final Toronto batter, Lloyd Moseby, in dramatic fashion. The 13,023 partisans gave Stone (10-3) a standing ovation after his final pitch and wouldn't stop cheering until he came out of the dugout for a curtain call.
The complete game was the 14th by an Oriole starter in the last 24 games. As a result of Stone's effort, Baltimore swept the three-game series from the Blue Jays, who have not won a game in Memorial Stadium since July 1978. The Orioles have won their last 13 games with Toronto.
Stone's teammates made sure the winning streak didn't end tonight by scoring three runs in the first inning off Toronto starter and loser Jim Clancy, who entered the game with a 6-3 record and the third-best earned-run average in the American League (2.32). The 24-year-old righty was knocked out in the first after retiring only one batter.
Oriole hitters Al Bumbry, Kiko Garcia, Eddie Murray, Terry Crowley and John Lowenstein jabbed Clancy silly with singles to every part of the outfield, giving Stone his three-run lead. Crowley's single to right stood up as the game-winner. Baltimore added its final run in the third when Lowenstein singled home Murray, who had doubled.
The only run off Stone was a line-drive home run in the fifth by 20-year-old rookie sensation Moseby, who has been in professional Baseball only two years.
"Moseby looks real good. He's going to be one tough hitter," said an impressed Stone. "I heard that one Toronto writer called him the next Dave Parker. I don't know about that yet but he looks sharp. He can hit the fast ball well."
Of more importance to Stone is what he will be doing during the period of July 7-9. He hopes he will be in Los Angeles for the All-Star Game, possibly as the starting pitcher for the American League and his Oriole manager, Earl Weaver.
"I would rather not have those three days off," Stone said with a chuckle. "I've had the All-Star break off for the last 12 years. "I'd rather be there this year, but that, of course, is up to Earl."
More accurately, that is up to Weaver and American League President Lee MacPhail, who will select the AL All-Stars not voted on by the fans.
"I'm having a meeting with MacPhail tomorrow, and Steve's name will definitely be brought up," Weaver said. "If MacPhail doesn't bring it up, then I certainly will."
Stone is off to the best start of his major league career. He said earlier the last time he pitched this well was in 1967 in Cleveland's Class A farm system.
Stone's major conpetition for the starting all-star assignment seems to be Tommy John. Both pitchers (10-3) are in a rotation schedule that would allow them three to four days' rest before the July 8 classic. However, before the July 8 classic. However, Stone said he wouldn't be too disappointed if he had to yield the starting assignment to John.
"I don't put myself in Tommy's class" Stone said. "He's been throwing the ball this well for years and years."
With the victory, the Orioles picked up half a game on the idle Yankee and now trail by 7 1/2. Baltimore won eight of 10 games on this home stand and takes on the Boston Red Sox in a three-game series this weekend in Fenway Park. The Birds trail Boston by half a game.