he Orioles got only three hits off Chicago's Steve Trout, but Rick Dempsey's two-run home run to left in the fifth inning and some lucky breaks on seemingly bad throws helped them beat the Chicago White Sox today, 2-1.
Baltimore, winning its second straight after losing nine in a row, stranded 11 White Sox runners and threw out three more, two in the suspenseful ninth inning.
Pinch hitter Rudy Law singled off winner Dennis Martinez (2-2) to begin the ninth, and stole second on a close play. Jerry Hairston, another pinch hitter, then grounded sharply to second baseman Rich Dauer.
Law, Chicago's fastest player, broke for third base, and his chances for getting there safely looked good when Dauer's throw began sailing. But third baseman Cal Ripken jumped high for the throw and quickly brought the tag down on Law, who started his slide much too early.
"It was an alert play on Dauer's part," said Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver. "It's a play you won't see once a season. It wasn't a bad base-running play by Law, though. It's one of those plays that's right or wrong, depending on what happens."
The excitement for the 16,233 in Memorial Stadium wasn't over, however. Ron LeFlore doubled into the left field corner, and Hairston rounded third despite getting a bad start off first base.
Left-fielder Gary Roenicke threw his relay on a short hop to shortstop Bob Bonner. He scooped up the ball, but bounced the relay throw to home in front of catcher Dempsey.
Dempsey had had trouble holding onto the ball all afternoon with a new glove, but had Ray Miller, the Orioles' pitching coach, bring him his old mitt after Law's hit. Dempsey came up with the bad throw and tagged the sliding Hairston for the second out. After a walk to Tony Bernazard, Tippy Martinez came on to strike out Steve Kemp and earn his first save.
"Two bad throws on one play and one out," said Dauer. "And I almost sailed another into the dugout. Maybe things are going right now."
Chicago took itself out of another inning in the eighth when Mike Squires, after driving in Harold Baines with a single, was picked off at first on a nice cutoff-relay from Ripken to Eddie Murray.
"Finally, we got somebody to hit the cutoff man and get a relay to throw the guy out," said Dempsey. "I don't know if I want to call that getting the breaks. They just did what they were supposed to. Chicago (which beat the Orioles three straight last week with daring base running) was sending guys last weekend who should have been thrown out by more than 45 feet."
Said Weaver, who became understandably testy during Baltimore's nine-game losing streak: "I've been waiting for one like this."
Overshadowed was a brilliant pitching performance by Trout (1-2), who has given up only six hits in his last 14 innings. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, but at that point, Murray--who has hit safely in 18 straight games, 14 this season--lined a shot off Trout's rear end.
Trout struck out Ken Singleton and Roenicke, but his high slider on a 1-1 count to Dempsey landed about 10 rows deep among the left field sunbathers. It was the only mistake the Orioles needed.
"It felt good to break out today," said Dempsey. "All we needed was somebody to hit, besides Eddie."
Dennis Martinez threw 130 pitches, gave up nine hits and had three strikeouts in winning his 11th straight game over 15 starts at Memorial Stadium. "He started getting erratic about the fifth or sixth inning," said Dempsey. "By the ninth, I was scared. But Dennis battled."