The Baltimore Orioles got six hits in the top of the eighth inning, but it was a run-scoring, bad hop single by Len Sakata that beat the Texas Rangers, 8-6, tonight.
Sakata, a late game infield replacement for third baseman Glenn Gulliver, hit a two-out pitch that skipped into left field and scored Rich Dauer from second base. The RBI, Sakata's first game winner this year, gave the Orioles a 7-6 lead.
Designated hitter Ken Singleton added an insurance run with a single to left, Baltimore's sixth hit that inning scoring Al Bumbry from second.
"I was very fortunate to make contact," Sakata said. "God made another miracle. He created a bad bounce."
Cal Ripken Jr. had tied the score at 6 by leading off the eighth with a homer. With two out, Dauer singled to right, Bumbry to left, and that set up Sakata. Following Singleton's single, Eddie Murray flied out to center to end the rally.
The Rangers, who had squandered a 4-2 lead, launched a mild threat in the bottom of the eighth. Buddy Bell hit a two-out single, but was stranded as relief pitcher Stoddard (3-4) struck out cleanup hitter Dave Hostetler. Bell was the 10th Ranger left on base.
In the ninth, Texas left its 11th after a one-out walk to designated hitter Bill Stein. Stoddard struck out Jim Sundberg, then got Mike Richardt to fly out to left fielder Gary Roenicke to end the game.
The Rangers scored first with a run in the third. Sundberg doubled down the left field line, was bunted to third by Richardt and Bucky Dent got his first RBI as a Ranger, hitting a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Rangers increased their lead to 3-0 and finished starter Mike Flanagan in the fifth. Following Sundberg's walk and Richardt's single, Dent hit a fast ball into the left field corner for a double. Sundberg scored and Richardt went to third.
Flanagan intentionally walked George Wright to load the bases and got an infield fly from Billy Sample, but walked Bell, forcing in Richardt. Right-hander Storm Davis replaced Flanagan and got Hostetler to end the inning with a fly ball to Roenicke, then playing right field.
The Orioles scored twice in the sixth, as Dauer poked a one-out double into left and got to third base on a wild pitch by Texas starter Charlie Hough. Dauer scored his team's first run as Bumbry grounded out to second baseman Richardt.
Gulliver got things going again for the Orioles, looping a single to right. Singleton then hit a grounder to Hostetler, which the first baseman let go between his legs. Hostetler was charged with another error as the next batter, Murray, hit a shot that bounced off his chest and into right. Gulliver scored from third and the Orioles had runners on the corners. After Murray stole second, John Lowenstein walked to load the bases. But Hough got Ripken to ground out to third.
After the Rangers had taken a 4-2 lead in bottom of the sixth, the Orioles struck again in the seventh, taking a 5-4 lead as Hough lost control of his knuckler. Working on a three-hitter, he gave up a two-out double to Dauer. Dauer went to third on a wild pitch and, following walks to Bumbry and Gulliver, scored on a passed ball. Reliever Dan Boitano walked Singleton to load the bases.
Murray gave the Orioles their first lead with a single to right that scored Bumbry and Gulliver. Jon Matlack (5-6) replaced Boitano and retired the side as Dan Ford fouled out to Sundberg.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Rangers took the lead again. Bell led off with a homer. One out later, Larry Parrish hit an infield single, took second on shortstop Ripken's throwing error and moved to third on Stein's single. Sundberg struck out, but Parrish scored as right fielder Ford dropped a sinking liner hit by Richardt.