The Orioles won their fifth straight game tonight behind the impressive resurgences of Mike Flanagan and Gary Roenicke, who sank the White Sox, 6-2, and guaranteed themselves at least one more night in the dugout without Manager Earl Weaver.
Flanagan (7-8), flaunting a changeup he hadn't thrown with authority in years, held Chicago to five hits in 8 1/3 innings before getting relief help from Tim Stoddard.
Roenicke hit an RBI double in the second inning and a three-run homer in the third, thereby personally accounting for all the runs the Orioles needed.
After the game Weaver, who was serving the last day in his week-long suspension for overzealously disputing an umpire's call, was nowhere to be found. But he had assured those who asked before the game that if his team won tonight, he would not upset the applecart by returning to the dugout Tuesday.
Weaver said he'll stay out until the Orioles lose. And well he might, since tonight's victory marks only the second time this year they have put together a streak of five straight.
Good omens came out of Baltimore's performance. Roenicke had been on a slide, batting only .200 in his last 39 games, and lowering his average from .298 to .246. He had had only one homer in his last 31 games, after hitting 14 early in the season.
Flanagan was 0-3 since beating Detroit on June 25. In that time, his earned-run average for five starts was a horrendous 7.52.
Reliever Stoddard (1-3) had not pitched in a week and had been doing badly in late-inning performances before that. Tonight he came in to get the last two outs and did so handily, getting strongman Carlton Fisk to ground into a game-ending double play.
Said Flanagan, whose life turned topsy-turvy late last month when it was announced that his wife was about to give birth to the nation's fourth test-tube baby, "I felt good. I threw more changeups and it worked out well." He was parading around the clubhouse nestling his new daughter, Kerry Ellen, born July 9.
Pitching Coach Ray Miller concurred that the changeup had made a difference. "Things look good," said Miller. "He threw 17 changeups, more than any other day this year. It's the change that makes his fast ball work."
Catcher Rick Dempsey said Flanagan started mixing in offspeed pitches after Roenicke's homer provided a cushion. "It's the change that makes his fast ball so awesome," said Dempsey.
Roenicke took early batting practice before the game and said he determined that he'd been swinging up at the ball in his efforts to end his slump by homering. "It's frustrating," he said, "when you hit 15 homers in the amount of time I did and then you can't get another one. When I try to hit homers, I can't."
The Orioles were the beneficiaries of some mediocre fielding by the White Sox, who have the worst fielding percentage in the league.
An error by shortstop Vance Law in the third inning set the stage for Roenicke's shot deep into the left-field seats. With one out, Rich Dauer grounded to short. Law made a nice grab but threw high, the ball popping out of first baseman Tom Paciorek's glove for an error.
Cal Ripken Jr. grounded to first, with Dauer out on the force play at second, but Ripken safe on the late relay to first.
So instead of three outs, there were two and a man on base because of the error. Eddie Murray singled and Roenicke pounded the next pitch over the wall.
His 16th homer tied John Lowenstein for the team lead and delighted a crowd of 17,703 who came out on a 92-degree night.
It also delighted acting Manager Cal Ripken Sr., whose record is 5-1. Ripken said after the game that he'd enjoyed the week but would enjoy it more, "If I was managing my own team, instead of Earl Weaver's team."
Asked if that meant he was a candidate to succeed Weaver in 1983, Ripken said yes. "I want to manage the club in 1983," he said. "Make no bones about it."
Other good notes: Reliever Tippy Martinez was named league coplayer of the week, along with the Brewers' Robin Yount, for his six appearances last week in which he pitched nine innings and gave up one hit and no runs.
The only sour note: Al Bumbry left the game after two innings with a pulled thigh muscle. He said he wouldn't know until Tuesday how severe the injury was.