Jim Palmer regained that winning feeling today. The Baltimore righthander, so discouraged after a poor effort in Toronto Tuesday that he volunteered for bullpen duty, turned in 7 2/3 solid innings as the Orioles defeated Minnesota, 6-3, for their fifth straight victory.
Reliever Tim Stoddard added to the smiles in the Orioles' dressing room by striking out the last three Minnesota batters to reinforce his own confidence and assure the Orioles' 12th consecutive triumph over the Twins.
Eddie Murray rapped two doubles and a single for his fourth straight three-hit game as the Orioles collected 13 hits against three Minnesota pitchers. In sweeping the series here, Baltimore had 46 hits.
Some suspect fielding kept Palmer from completing the game. Right fielder Ken Singleton failed to reach Mickey Hatcher's first-inning fly ball down the line and it fell for a double, the only hit off Palmer until the fifth. Left fielder Gary Roenicke fumbled John Castino's sixth-inning single, permitting an unearned run to score. And third baseman Doug DeCinces could not handle Castino's hard grounder with two outs in the eighth; it was scored a hit, the seventh off Palmer, and he was replaced by Stoddard.
"I felt fine today; I'm all right," Palmer said. "I was really in command. It was a totally uneventful game. Of course, the runs make things a lot easier.
"It was cold in Toronto and I had no feeling in my hand, which isn't too good for a pitcher. I just couldn't get any feeling up there. My hand was numb when I woke up today, but it cleared up. I'll remain in the rotation at least until Stony [Steve Stone, who will be examined Monday for a sore elbow] comes back."
"He said he'd do anything to help the club, so I said, 'Win a game,' and he did," Manager Earl Weaver said. "There's nothing wrong with him. His ERA is three [actually 3.20], isn't it?"
There was nothing wrong with Stoddard, either, although he had an earned run average of 6.00 and had made only seven brief appearances. In the ninth, after walking Roy Smalley, he fanned Butch Wynegar, Gary Ward and Pete Mackanin.
"I hadn't thrown a slider for a strike for a while," Stoddard said. "Maybe I've been a little tight. I didn't start out well, but today I decided to relax out there and let my body do it. I felt nice and relaxed and I went after them."
The Orioles had built a 6-0 lead by the top of the sixth. They scored in the first on a single by Rich Dauer, who had three hits, and Murray's two-out double. In the third, Dan Grahamhs two-run single made it 3-0. Two wild pitches by Minnesota starter Roger Erickson boosted it to 4-0 in the fourth and Murray had an RBI single in a two-run sixth.
"I just was hurting before," Murray said of his terrible start this year, when he was affected by a lingering virus. "It's good to hit the ball hard again. Hitting the ball, period, you've got to feel good."
"We have no punch," Minnesota owner Calvin Griffith bemoaned afterward. Needled California scout Bill Rigney, "I feel sorry for you, Calvin. I can't stand to watch this team anymore, either."
Rigney was here primarily to watch Erickson, who has been the subject of trade discussions, but the right-hander hardly was impressive in giving up 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.