The Orioles missed the Easter festivities today because they had a ball game, so they staged a parade of their own, walking eight Boston batters in a lugubrious, windblown 6-0 loss to the Red Sox.
Boston starter John Tudor allowed only six hits and one walk in pitching his first major-league shutout. The Orioles' Mike Flanagan couldn't find the plate, and when he departed with two out and the bases loaded in the sixth, four runs were in on seven hits and seven walks.
Reliever Don Stanhouse immediately walked in the fifth run. Runs were scoring so effortlessly that Red Sox third baseman Carney Lansford refused to believe it when told afterward that he had four RBI.
"Nah," he replied, "that's impossible."
Impossible, perhaps, but true. Lansford had but one base hit, which scored a run, but forced in three more on a mishandled ground ball, a walk and a sacrifice fly. Carl Yastrzemski got the other two RBI on a walk and a ground out as he went zero for three at the plate with two strikeouts.
Oriole Manager Earl Weaver was marveling before the game that the 42-year-old Yastrzemski was in the lineup after having played both ends of Saturday's doubleheader. Yastrzemski evidently knew there was an Easter basket waiting for him. In addition to the free RBI, his two free passes pushed him past Mickey Mantle on the all-time walks list with 1,735. Only Babe Ruth (2,056) and Ted Williams (2,019) have more.
A Memorial Stadium crowd of 11,235 braved blustery breezes and cold that felt more severe than the 55 degrees announced at game time. They came to see Flanagan in his first start this year, but what they saw was not pretty.
"It wasn't the Flanagan of old," said Lansford. "He wasn't throwing the ball as hard, and when he has trouble with his curve ball he's in trouble, because he has a great one."
The veteran left-hander had trouble from the start, giving up two runs in the first inning. Dwight Evans led off with a first-pitch line single to right and moved promptly to second on Glenn Hoffman's line single. Flanagan walked Jim Rice to load the bases and Evans scored on Yastrzemski's ground out to second.
Hoffman scored from third when third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. bobbled Lansford's grounder for the first Oriole error of the year. It was ruled an earned run on the grounds Hoffman would have scored whether Ripken made the play or not.
The Red Sox added a run in the third on two walks and Lansford's single, picked up two in the sixth when Flanagan walked Yastrzemski and Stanhouse walked Lansford, both with the bases loaded, and rounded out the scoring in the eighth when reliever Tippy Martinez yielded two singles and Lansford's sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, only slugger Eddie Murray, who went three for four with a double, was having any success against Tudor. The left-hander had shut out the Orioles for six innings in his last appearance at Memorial Stadium, July 5, 1980, and today ran his scoreless string against them to 15 innings.
The Red Sox, who shut out the Orioles, 2-0, in their season-opener Saturday, in two days put together half as many shutouts as they had all last year, when they managed four.
Tudor's best pitch was his fast ball, which the Orioles' pitching coach, Ray Miller, clocked at about 84 mph. "The fast ball tailed away, and when he turned it over and slowed it down, it dove," said Miller.
Tudor said the winds, whipping from left to right field at about 12 to 15 mph all afternoon, helped his pitches by adding motion to them. As for Murray, who is batting .500 with seven RBI after four games, Tudor said, "He's just a great hitter. Fortunately, the one time they had runners on, I managed to get him out." That was in the sixth, when Murray grounded into a double play.
If there was a bright spot for the Orioles, who now prepare for their first trip of the year with stops at Kansas City, Chicago and Boston, it was their continued defensive excellence. Center fielder Al Bumbry made two fine plays, including a leaping, one-handed grab of Hoffman's long fly ball; second baseman Rich Dauer stopped a third-inning rally with a diving snare of Dave Stapleton's grounder, and Dan Ford made a racing, one-handed grab in the seventh to keep Lansford's sacrifice fly from becoming a two-run double.
In addition, Stanhouse pitched well after walking Lansford, and Martinez looked comfortable in his two-innings of one-run relief. It was the first appearance of the season for both.