It was tankard night at Memorial Stadium but by the time the game was half over the fans were crying in their beer.

Doug DeCinces, grand slam home run hero one night earlier, was one of the reasons. He made three of Baltimore's five errors as the Orioles were beaten, 9-2, by the California Angels.

"When you leave home to go to spring training, you know there are going to be a few days that make you very, very happy and a few that are going to make you sick," said Angel Manager Gene Mauch after the game.

That was his way of being nice to DeCinces.

The third baseman, who entered the game with more errors for the season (12) than the rest of the Oriole lineup combined, misplayed leadoff hitter Brian Downing's grounder to start the Angel fifth.

Ed Ott singled Downing to third. Butch Hobson sent a medium speed grounder DeCinces' way and the hapless third baseman watched in horror as it rolled up and out of his glove.

One run scored on what should have been a double-play ball. It was to get worse.

They had led, 2-0, going into the inning, and Steve Stone looked as if he would make a triumphant return. The 1980 Cy Young Award winner had pitched cleverly and strongly up to that point, giving up only three hits. It was his first start since May 16, when he had developed tendinitis.

But with one run in and Angels on first and second, none out, Rod Carew singled to drive in the tying run. The comedy of gaffs progressed.

Rick Burleson popped a sacrifice bunt and first baseman Eddie Murray dived to grab it. The ball landed in his glove but squirted out when he hit the turf. It was a base hit to load the bases.

Stone (2-4) walked Fred Lynn to drive in the go-ahead run. Reliever Sam Stewart was called in but more disasters were ahead.

Pinch hitter John Harris grounded a likely double play ball that Murray fielded but inexplicably failed to throw anywhere. He bobbled the ball briefly, then ran to first to retire Harris as the Angels' fourth run scored.

Boos from some of the 34,862 fans turned to laughter. Oriole subs shouted at their mates from the dugout. Pitching Coach Ray Miller said, "They were telling Eddie not to worry, that somebody had pumped air into the ball."

With men on second and third, Dan Ford was walked intentionally to load the bases and Don Baylor later singled in two runs, making it 6-2.

Twelve batters had gone to the plate by the time it ended with the bases full. All but one of the six Angel runs were unearned. Stone was in the showers disgusted and the game was all but over.

"Surprised?" said Stone. "Nah, I've been in this game 13 years. Nothing surprises me."

Oriole General Manager Hank Peters was less diplomatic. "Have you ever seen anything more hideous?" he asked.

The defeat was doubly disappointing to the Orioles because the Detroit Tigers, whom they trail in the pennant race by a half-game, lost to Minnesota tonight. An Oriole victory would have put Baltimore in first place.

But the Orioles still hadn't finished stumbling. In the seventh inning, Baylor's leadoff six-hopper scooted through DeCinces' legs for error No. 3, one short of tying the major league record for third basemen in a game. After Baylor scored on a Downing single, Oriole rookie reliever Jeff Schneider booted an Ott sacrifice bunt and threw the ball into center field. Ott and Downing wound up at second and third and scored on Burleson's single, rounding out the nine-run debacle.

DeCinces, who was the star of pregame TV shows as a result of his game-winning grand slam on Thursday, took it all in stride.

"The only error I thought was really bad was on Baylor's grounder, the one that went right through my legs," he said.