Earl Weaver thinks it's time that the Baltimore Orioles, and everyone else in the American League, started paying attention to the Oakland A's outfield.
The Baltimore manager, who was ejected today for the first time this year, was not amused to see Al Bumbry thrown out at third base twice in the A's 3-1 victory before 25,565 at Oakland Coliseum.
"We've got to learn, with this outfield, that they get to the ball in a hurry and they throw it to the base," Weaver said after the Orioles had had grand scoring opportunities ended by left fielder Rickey Henderson in the second inning and center fielder Dwayne Murphy in the eighth.
"I don't like aggressive base running, especially against an outfield like that," Weaver continued. "Those guys have so much ability. Anybody who isn't a believer in them by now better had be."
Dennis Martinez, who entered the game with a 5-0 lifetime record against the A's, went the distance, but his record fell to 9-6.
After the Orioles scored an unearned run on two errors by A's second baseman Davey Lopes in the first inning, Martinez set the tempo for the game by getting called for a balk in the A's half. Things went downhill from there.
Henderson drew a leadoff walk, and second base umpire Ken Kaiser, a hulk of a man, called the balk. The Orioles were upset, Eddie Murray so much so that he was thrown out the first time this season.
"In my judgment, it was a balk," Kaiser said. "I wasn't sure if Murray was playing the game, umpiring or playing manager. It's kind of tough to do all that."
Weaver was ejected by home plate umpire George Maloney in the fifth inning for editorial comments on ball and strike calls.
"That's not important," Weaver said. "We lost a ball game. That's important."
Oakland tied the game, 1-1, in the second inning when Wayne Gross led off with his third home run, over the fence in right-center field.
Murphy singled up the middle in the third inning and Tony Armas hit his 10th home run of the season, to left, to finish the scoring.
It was Armas' 13th career homer off the Orioles, more than he has against any other team. It was also the right fielder's third home run in as many days.
It was understandable that Weaver was not in a good mood. The Orioles had their leadoff hitter on base five times after the first inning and failed to score.
In the third, Bumbry and Rich Dauer opened with singles off starter Tom Underwood (5-4). Dan Ford lined out to left and Benny Ayala, Murray's replacement, hit what appeared to be a single to left. Bumbry, thinking the ball might be caught, held up and was forced at third on Henderson's throw. Gary Roenicke hit into a fielder's choice to end that threat.
Cal Ripken Jr. led off the third with a double to right, but was stranded. Double plays ended threats in the fifth and sixth.
In the eighth, Bumbry led off with his third single. When Dauer singled to center, Bumbry tried for third and Murphy threw him out.
"When I was charging the ball, I saw him slow up, but all of a sudden it was a big surprise to me to see him going to third," Murphy said. "Tony (Armas) yelled at me."
Dave Beard entered the game after Dauer's hit and retired the five Orioles he faced to earn his eighth save.
Henderson stole his 83rd base in the A's 87th game.
Storm Davis (1-1) will start for Baltimore here Sunday in place of Jim Palmer, who is suffering from a stiff neck and sore elbow. Brian Kingman (1-5) will pitch for Oakland.
"The doctors say we can use Palmer," Weaver said earlier. "But we probably won't take the chance. He's definitely not starting Sunday. . .We've got a tired pitching staff, especially the bullpen. I think the all-star break is going to do us some good."