The Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles performed for a nationwide television audience today and in 3 hours 52 minutes produced more plot twists than any soap opera. Regular Sunday afternoon Memorial Stadium habitue's among the 16,684 fans could pretty well guess the ending, however.
The White Sox, on Tony Bernazard's 10th-inning single, won, 8-7, leaving Baltimore without a victory in five Sunday afternoon contests in Memorial Stadium this season.
The Orioles were losers despite the personal accomplishments of Eddie Murray, who hit dramatic home runs -- one a grand slam -- from both sides of the plate for the third time in his career.
Murray's third-inning grand slam, batting right-handed against Ross Baumgarten, gave Baltimore a 4-2 lead. Less than 24 hours earlier, Doug DeCinces had won a game for the Orioles with a grand slam.
Then, after Chicago scored four times in the ninth to go ahead, 7-5, Murray's two-run left-handed home run against Ed Farmer forced extra innings.
Harold Baines, the expatriate from Maryland's Eastern Shore, opened the 10th with a double into the left-field corner against reliever Dave Ford.
Left-hander Jeff Schneider became Baltimore's fifth pitcher and 21st player, entering with a 15.43 earned-run average. It was hardly a surprise that the White Sox quickly won it, on Chet Lemon's sacrifice and Bernazard's single to center.
Bernazard ended the season against Baltimore with a .571 average, 24 for 42 plus seven walks, and had the winning RBI in four of Chicago's six victories. By winning six of nine, the White Sox won the season series for the first time since 1974. By splitting the six games here, they prevented the Orioles from winning the Memorial Stadium half of the schedule for a 14th straight season.
Jim Palmer, winless since May 25, pitched seven strong innings for Baltimore and left after 82 pitches with a 5-3 lead. Tim Stoddard, who had saved his last three, retired the side in the eighth and struck out Lemon to open the ninth. The Sunday jinx seemed about to end, when Bernazard walked, with Stoddard frowning fiercely at umpire Larry McCoy.
Bobby Molinaro, a short-time Oriole in 1979, followed with a bloop double down the left-field line. Shortstop Mark Belanger threw out Bill Almon for the second out, Bernazard scoring to make it 5-4 as Molinaro held second. Ron LeFlore, however, dropped a single into right to tie the game.
Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver then took out Stoddard, who stared at McCoy in traditional Hatfield manner all the way to the dugout and then threw his glove against the wall.
"Stoddard said he had a little tenderness," Weaver said. "I went out with the intention of leaving him in if I heard the right words, but I didn't. That doesn't mean he wanted to come out."
Of the "tenderness," Stoddard said, "That didn't have anything to do with the game." Of McCoy, he said, "He missed two calls that cost us a ballgame. I'm not one to complain about umpires, but I struck out Bernazard twice."
Lefty Tippy Martinez replaced Stoddard and threw three straight balls to left-handed-swinging Mike Squires. On the third, LeFlore stole second. Chicago Manager Tony LaRussa then sent Lamar Johnson up to bat and he was given an intentional fourth ball.
"I was waiting to see what LeFlore did," LaRussa said of the unusual 3-0 substitution. "There was no question LeFlore would steal. If he made it, I wanted Johnson swinging against Martinez. If he was out, I wanted Squires at first in the bottom of the ninth, with three left-handed hitters among the first four against Farmer."
The managerial wheels continued to spin, with Weaver bringing in right-hander Ford against Carlton Fisk. Ford is no Stoddard and Fisk hit a 1-1 pitch to center. LeFlore scored and Johnson headed for third, where Al Bumbry's wide throw got past both third baseman DeCinces and Ford, who did a woeful backup job as the ball rolled to the box-seat railing and Johnson scored.
"There's no reason for Ford not to be there to pick up the ball," Weaver said. "He got over there but did nothing else. Getting over there and getting behind the bag is two different things."
Jim Dwyer, an eighth-inning defensive replacement for Ken Singleton, drew a four-pitch walk from Lynn McGlothen to start the bottom of the ninth. Farmer replaced McGlothen and Murray put his second pitch in the seats. Weaver used three pinch hitters in a vain bid to win it in regulation, but Dan Graham struck out and Jose Morales grounded out with runners on first and second. That left it up to Ford and Schneider.
For further aggravation, the Orioles could count empty seats. The five dates this week averaged 16,732, none reaching 20,000. Before the strike, the club was averaging 22,729.