Tippy Martinez retired Fred Lynn on a pop fly to Doug DeCinces for the final out with the tying run on second in the bottom of the ninth inning tonight and the Baltimore Orioles held on for a 6-4 victory over the California Angels to snap a five-game losing streak.
With two out in the ninth, Tim Stoddard walked Butch Hobson and Bobby Grich doubled down the left field line. Martinez then came on to preserve victory for Scott McGregor (6-2) and keep the Orioles percentage points ahead of the New York Yankees atop the American League East.
The Orioles did not arrive at their hotel here until 5 a.m. today because mechanical problems had delayed their flight from New York. But in the first inning they showed no ill effects of that long night's journey into day, touching Angel starter Mike Witt for three runs.
Witt started the trouble himself, yielding one-out walks to Rich Dauer and Ken Singleton. That got up right-hander Jesse Jefferson and left-hander Andy Hassler in the Angel bullpen, and those two began throwing in earnest when Eddie Murray lined a 2-1 offering into left-center field for a two-run double. John Lowenstein followed with a drive just inside the right field line that went for another double, with Murray scoring.
Baltimore catcher Dan Graham flied out, with Lowenstein moving to third, then Witt walked DeCinces and went 2-0 on Gary Roenicke before Manager Gene Mauch decided he had seen enough. Jefferson took over and finished walking Roenicke to load the bases, but then choked off the rally by getting Lenn Sakata on a called third strike.
His bid for a sixth straight win over California having been strengthened considerably by his teammates' first-inning exploits, McGregor promptly went out and got himself into trouble.
The left-hander gave up a one-out double to Rod Carew and walked Rick Burleson. But he got Don Baylor to hit into a double play to end that frame, and went through the second in one-two-three fashion thanks to a faux pas by Grich, who turned toward second to elude Murray's tag attempt after DeCinces' high throw and was retired in a rundown.
In the bottom of the third, California got one back on Bobby Clark's single and Carew's two-out single to right.
Baltimore countered California's run with one of its own in the top of the fourth on singles by Roenicke, Jim Dwyer and Dauer, but the uprising ended on a freak play that led Manager Earl Weaver to protest the game. With Dwyer at third and Dauer at first, Singleton hit a bouncer toward Grich at second base. Dauer, running to second, and Grich, coming in on the ball, collided, and when it was ruled an interference-aided double play, ending the inning, Weaver protested, feeling only Dauer should have been called out.
However, the Orioles built their lead to 6-1 in the top of the sixth. Roenicke, who had suffered a slight ankle injury on a pickoff attempt at first in the fourth, got things started with a ground-rule double to left and Sakata singled to put runners at the corners. Dwyer got one home, and finished Jefferson's night, with a single to right, and Dauer lined the first pitch from Luis Sanchez up the middle for another run.