Baltimore relief pitcher Tim Stoddard suffered a dose of double trouble today as the Orioles lost to the Oakland A's, 5-4.

First, he was unable to put down the A's eighth-inning rally. Then, several hours after the game, official scorer Chuck Dybdal of the Contra Costa Times took the loss away from Tippy Martinez and charged it to Stoddard, who faced only one batter.

Dybdal made the change after studying a section of the baseball rule book that says "when a pitcher puts runners on base, and is relieved, he shall be charged with all runs subsequently scored up to and including the number of runners he left on base when he left the game, unless such runners are put out without action by the batter."

The confusion arose after Jim Palmer, who started the eighth, gave up a single and two walks, loading the bases.

Stoddard came on and was greeted by Cliff Johnson's two-run single, making it 4-3. Martinez walked Wayne Gross, reloading the bases, and Davey Lopes hit into a home-to-first double play, forcing Dwayne Murphy, the last batter Palmer faced. That left runners at second and third, and Dan Meyer singled them home.

Although Gross scored the winning run, under the rules the tying run, the third of the inning, still was Palmer's responsibility, while the fourth run was Stoddard's man.

The decision left Martinez at 0-3. The loss was Stoddard's first decision this year.

Tuesday night, the Orioles beat the A's, 7-1, as Scott McGregor won his fourth straight and Stoddard was impressive in relief, striking out two of his three batters.

Stoddard started the season on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, and it took five weeks of rehabilitation before he could pitch again.

"I feel so good I could cry," he said.