The Baltimore Orioles came out smoking against the Detroit Tigers on this cool and hazy Independence Day, but the fire quickly fizzled like a dud firecracker.
The Orioles scored once on two hits in the first inning but never again. Dan Petry shut them down on only one hit through the final eight innings, the Tigers winning, 6-1, before 15,880.
The Orioles, who had won Friday and Saturday games here, kept intact their record of failing to sweep any series of three games or more as the season approaches the halfway mark. It wasn't for lack of desire.
"When (Al) Bumbry came out and smacked the first pitch for a single I knew they were looking for a sweep," said Petry. "That was a good pitch, down and away. I told our guys, 'These guys are here to play. I hope you are.' "
Bumbry scored two outs later on Eddie Murray's single. It looked like the start of a continuation of Saturday night's massacre, when the Orioles hit five homers in an 8-3 rout of Detroit.
But Petry, for the first time in two years using a curve ball along with his standard fast ball and slider, settled down. He allowed only one more base runner until the eighth inning, when Baltimore loaded the bases with two outs on a single, walk and hit batsman, then failed to score.
Meanwhile, the Tigers were flailing at Mike Flanagan's early offerings. The left-hander allowed only two hits through five innings, the second being Mike Ivie's fifth-inning home run that tied the game.
But in the sixth Lou Whitaker and Lynn Jones singled. After two popups, Flanagan made his only "really bad pitch of the night, and that took us out of the game," he said.
It was a fast ball up and over the plate that Lance Parrish deposited halfway up the upper deck in left-center. His 11th homer of the year made it 4-1 Tigers.
Two walks and a two-out infield single by Jones loaded the bases against Flanagan in the seventh. When he yielded a two-run single to Tom Brookens, Weaver sent him off with Baltimore trailing by the final score.
It was Flanagan's seventh loss against six wins, but Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson said he didn't deserve to lose so badly. "The only two balls we hit hard off him were the homers," he said. "He could have lost it, 2-1."
The victory was in character for the Tigers, who with their right-handed-hitting power lineup are 16-10 against left-handers and only 23-25 against right-handers.
Flanagan, who was besieged by reporters when the Orioles arrived here Friday amid reports that he and his wife were about to become parents of the fourth test tube-fertilized baby in the United States, said the hubbub had no effect on him. He is still waiting for good news from his wife Kathy, who is expecting their first child in a matter of days.
Weaver said the Orioles "came out dry" for this day game after a night game. Indeed, after the first-inning surge, they looked uninspired at the plate.
Said Petry (8-5), who pitched his second career three-hitter, "I just tried to hold 'em down until we came alive."
Weaver marveled that his team, which survived a nine-game losing streak early in the season; Detroit, which recently ended a 10-game losing streak, and Boston, in something of a swoon, are all still alive in the American League East.
"We're fortunate to be where we are," Weaver said. "Detroit is fortunate to be where they are. The (Milwaukee) Brewers and Red Sox are fortunate to be where they are. And the Yankees are fortunate to be anywhere."
The Orioles moved on this evening to the West Coast, where Scott McGregor (8-6) faces California's Ken Forsch (7-6) Monday night.