he Baltimore Orioles climbed out of last place tonight with a 16-hit offense that left the Seattle Mariners reeling, 11-4.
John Lowenstein led the barrage, getting a triple, double and single that increased his hitting streak to 11 games and his average to .380. Cal Ripken Jr. had a double and two singles.
Jim Palmer pitched four shutout innings in relief of Sammy Stewart and earned his first save since 1975 as Baltimore took over sixth place in the American League East, one-half game ahead of Toronto.
The Orioles had a three-run lead before Seattle starter Gene Nelson could produce an out. Al Bumbry walked, Rich Dauer singled to center and Dan Ford lined a 1-1 pitch into the left-field stands for his fourth home run.
Adding to the Mariners' problems, catcher Bud Bulling was hit in the groin by a foul tip and had to leave the game. Since regular catcher Jim Essian broke an ankle Wednesday, that brought in rookie Dan Firova, who arrived this afternoon from Nuevo Laredo of the Mexican League.
Seattle quickly tied, scoring three times in the bottom of the first. Ford's throw from right field, which skipped past catcher Rick Dempsey into the Seattle dugout, let in two runs and set up the third.
Baltimore chased Nelson and took a 5-3 lead in the second. Ripken grounded a double down the third base line and took third on Dempsey's sharp single to center.
When a pitch bounced away from Firova, the young catcher hustled to his left to retrieve the ball and flipped it to Nelson guarding the plate. However, the pitcher dropped the ball even before Ripken reached home and was charged with an error. Dempsey, who took second on the play, scored when Sakata singled to center. That was all for Nelson.
Baltimore boosted its margin to 8-3 with three runs in the third. With one out, Terry Crowley singled to right. Lowenstein followed with a two-bagger into the gap in left-center. It seemed rash of third base coach Cal Ripken Sr. to send Crowley home, but he made it when shortstop Todd Cruz's offtarget throw bounced away from Firova.
Lowenstein, who reached third on Cruz's error, tried to score on Ripken's grounder to second. Since the infield was drawn in, Lowenstein was caught easily, except that Firova dropped the ball.
While many in the crowd booed, Dempsey lined a ball into right-center, where right fielder Al Cowens failed in a somewhat nonchalant bid for a backhand catch. Ripken then scored on Lenn Sakata's opposite-field double to right.
Palmer relieved Stewart with two on and none out in the sixth.
Baltimore first baseman Eddie Murray, after going zero for three, was given the rest of the night off to nurse his injured left hand. Gary Roenicke batted for Murray in the sixth, then replaced him at first.