The box score will show that three Oriole pitchers held the Minnesota Twins to seven hits in their 3-2 victory in Memorial Stadium. But the Twins could easily have had four or five more without the exceptional defensive play of Oriole third baseman Doug DeCinces.
The Orioles scored all the runs they needed in the first two innings. Al Bumbry led off with a single and Rich Dauer drove him in with a double. Jim Dwyer scored Dauer on a sacrifice fly. In the second, Dauer drove in Gary Roenicke with a sacrifice fly.
Dauer, who had pulled a muscle in his left rib cage in batting practice, left the game in the seventh when the injury was aggravated by Twin Gary Ward's slide into second base.
After winning pitcher Mike Flanagan (3-2) allowed a game-opening home run to Ward, Minnesota's Roy Smalley lined a one-hopper down the third base line that seemed destined for the left field corner. But DeCinces dropped to one knee, backhanded the ball over the bag and threw Smalley out by a step. Flanagan, who needed ninth inning relief help from Tim Stoddard and Tippy Martinez (his third save), got another big play from DeCinces in the third inning.
Sal Butera drove a fast ball into the hole between shortstop and third. The ball was already past DeCinces when he dived to his glove side, snagged the ball on one hop and threw out Butera. DeCinces made another fine play on a Pete Mackanin ground ball in the seventh with a man on base. After that play, the 11,096 in Memorial Stadium gave DeCinces a standing ovation in the middle of the inning.
He fielded nine chanced in all, and was largely responsible for Flanagan's retiring 16 Twins in a row after Ward's homer.
"When (left-handers Scott) McGregor and Flanagan pitch," DeCinces said, "I get more chances. I was all over the place tonight. It's kind of funny. Each ball seemed a foot further than the play before. I had to make a little bit better play each time. You can get in a groove fielding, just as you can at the plate."
Flanagan got his third straight victory, but didn't have his best stuff. "I had a great breaking ball. That's the only reason I was able to stay in so long. But I couldn't spot the fast ball like I wanted and the velocity was never there. I just ran out of tricks at the end."
The Twins scored their second run in the ninth when Mackanin (three hits) drove home Mickey Hatcher, who had doubled, with a line single to center. Tim Stoddard came on to allow a bat-handle single to Ron Jackson.
At that point Oriole Mananger Earl Weaver brought on Tippy Martinez, who struck out Twin pinch hitter Chuck Baker on three pitches and got Butera to ground out to end the game with Minnesota runners on first and second.
The losing pitcher was Roger Erickson, who retired 14 of the last 15 Orioles and allowed the Birds only five hits in going the distance. It was Baltimore's sixth win in their seven games.