Chicago and the White Sox had been tough on Dennis Martinez before tonight. Last Wednesday night in Comiskey Park, a fan threw a bottle and hit him, opening a cut in his head that required four stitches. The next day, Martinez, in relief, was victimized for three hits and five runs without retiring one White Sox batter in an 18-5 Oriole defeat.
There were no such problems with Chicago tonight.
The right-hander scattered seven hits and with relief help from Tippy Martinez, escaped two late-inning jams to shut out the White Sox, 3-0.
"I'm happy for Dennis because I said from the beginning of the season we have five stoppers," said Baltimore Pitching Coach Ray Miller. "And he proved that tonight. What did Dennis do differently from last week? He just kept the ball away and changed speeds well."
Martinez got all the support he needed in the first inning when the Orioles scored all of their runs on Benny Ayala's two-run homer after Ken Singleton's runs-scoring single.
Chicago could have had a 1-0 lead after the first. Bill Almon led off the game with a single to left and advanced to third on Wayne Nordhagen's single after one out. Almon tagged up and crossed the plate on Greg Luzinski's lazy fly ball to center field, easily beating Al Bumbry's throw to the plate.
But Oriole Manager Earl Weaver immediately told catcher Rick Dempsey to appeal the play at third because he thought Almon left the bag too soon. Dempsey threw to Dauer and third-base umpire Rich Garcia never hesitated in calling Almon out, nullifying Chicago's only run.
"Bobby Winkles, our third base coach, said Bill did not leave the bag too soon," Chicago Manager Tony LaRussa said. "I had a good view, too, and I didn't think he left early."
After Nordhagen's hit, Martinez, who began the game with a 22.09 earned-run average, retired 20 of the next 22 White Sox. He allowed only singles to Luzinski in the fourth and seventh innings.
But in the eighth, Martinez walked Chicago pinch-hitter Bobby Molinaro, who in eight pinch appearances has a single, a triple and six walks. Molinaro advanced on Almon's single and Tony Bernazard walked to load the bases with two out.
After receiving a quick pep talk from Weaver at the mound, Martinez made Nordhagen foul off fast balls, then struck him out looking with a breaking ball on the outside corner.
The White Sox, who beat the Orioles three straight in Chicago last week, put two men on base in the ninth with only one out when Luzinski singled again and Chet Lemon doubled into the left field corner. But Tippy Martinez came on and retired Rusty Kuntz and Jim Morrison to end the game and pick up his second save.
The White Sox started the evening with a league-leading .318 team batting average and a hefty .373 mark against Oriole pitching this season. It was the first time Chicago has been shut out this season.
It was a good thing for Baltimore that the Martinez boys were in form because the Oriole hitters did little after the first inning off Sox loser Steve Trout (1-1).
The winning run was scored by the first Oriole batter, Bumbry. He walked, advanced on Rich Dauer's single and scored on Singleton's hit. (Singleton, one for four, dropped below .500: 24 for 49). Dauer was thrown out at third, but Ayala kept the inning alive with his line-drive shot over the left field wall, scoring Singleton and giving Martinez the cushion he needed for the Orioles to take two of three games here against Chicago.