Dennis Martinez pitched an eight-hitter and Eddie Murray provided the winning run with a home run in the sixth inning as the Baltimore Orioles edged Kansas City, 2-1, tonight.
The victory was the 10th in a row for the Birds. Martinez (3-1) pitched his first complete game after spending most of the first half of the season on the disable list with a sore shoulder.
In his first start in nearly three weeks, Martinez bested southpaw Larry Gura, whose record dropped to 16-5. It was Gura's first defeat since July 13 and broke a personal six-game winning streak.
Murray broke up a 1-1 game with his 20th homer, a shot to left, leading off the sixth.
"He had thrown me two fast balls the time before," Murray said. "I was looking for a breaking ball on the first pitch and I got it."
The victory enabled Baltimore to keep pace with the New York Yankees in the American League's East Division. The Yanks beat the Chicago White Sox, 3-1, and still lead by 2 1/2 games.
"We needed this kind of game from Dennis," said Oriole Manager Earl Weaver, "because it would have been only three days' rest for our regular four starters. We could get them some rest by getting them knocked out, but I'd rather do it this way.
"Dennis is completely healthy. He showed us that in Miami (when sent to rehabilitate in the Florida State League) and in Milwaukee."
The Orioles started the game with three straight hits against Gura, who had an 8-3 career record and 1.40 earned-run average against the Birds.
Al Bumbry, the only left-handed hitter in the lineup, grounded a single off shortstop U.L. Washington's glove. Rich Dauer's hit-and-run ground single to left sent Bumbry to third. g
Gura, with a league-leading ERA of 2.17, induced Ken Singleton to pop the ball into right field, but it fell in front of the on-plodding Clint Hurdle for a double that scored Bumbry.
Gura pitched out of further trouble by striking out Murray on an assortment of soft stuff, walking Benny Ayala intentionally to laod the bases, striking out Doug DeCinces on a slider and forcing Rick Dempsey to fly out to left.
George Brett, batting .390, extended his hitting streak to 24 games with a two-out single in the bottom of the first. The Royals' third baseman stole second, but was stranded when Darrell Proter popped to third.
Kansas City tied the score in the bottom of the second despite some sloppy base running. Willie Aikens grounded a single to center and Martinez plunked Amos Otis with a curve that didn't.
The Orioles then came up with two outs on an unconventional play. Hurdle grounded to Dauer, who flipped to Kiko Garcia to force Otis at second. Garcia's throw to first rolled past Murray, who recovered in time to get Aikens at the plate by half a block.
Singles by Washington and Frank White finally got Hurdle home with the tying run. Willie Wilson grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Orioles got leadoff singles by Dauer in the third and DeCinces in the fourth, but Gura retired the next three batters each time.
Martinez, making his first start since July 21, created some excitement for Manager Weaver by walking John Wathan and Porter in the third and Hurdle to lead off the fourth, but both times the Royals could not come up with the clutch hit.
Orioles went back on top, 2-1, when Murray belted Gura's first offering in the top of the sixth 350 feet down the left field line. It was Murray's 20th home run.
Ayala followed with another drive to left, but Wilson made a leaping grab at the wall to prevent an extra-base hit. Gura then settled down and retired DeCinces and Dempsey on ground balls.
After Hurdle's walk in the fourth, Martinez retired eight straight batters before Hurdle grounded a double between DeCinces and the bag with two out in the sixth. Washington grounded to short to end that threat.
Martinez gave the capacity crowd renewed hope in the bottom of the seventh. White lined a 1-0 pitch just outside the left field foul pole before grounding out to Garcia. Then with two outs, Martinez walked Wathan to bring up Brett, the league's top hitter. The Oriole right-hander induced Brett to loft a medium fly ball that Bubry roamed over to catch in left field.
The Royals again were on the verge of tying in the eighth, but a slick play by Garcia sotpped that rally. Porter led off with an infield single to deep short. With one out, Otis singled to right-center, sending Porter to third.
Hurdle then rolled a slow grounder past the mound. Garcia picked up the ball, stepped on the bag at second and threw to first in time to nip the slow-running Hurdle with an inning-ending double paly.
Gura kept the Royals within striking distance, retiring the last 12 Orioles.
Washington led off the Kansas City ninth by popping up a bunt that Dempsey dove to catch in fair territory. Pinch hitter Jamie Quirk then fouled off several 3-and-2 pitches before flying out to Bumbry in right-center.
Dauer then made a diving stop of Wilson's ground ball, but the Royal left fielder legged it out for a hit. That brought Weaver to the mound, but he decided to stay with Martinez. Wilson promptly stole his 48th base, but was left stranded as Wathan grounded to short for the final out.