This is my kind of game," owner Edward Bennett Williams of the Orioles said, beaming, as he watched Eddie Murray hit a grand slam and a bases-empty homer, Rich Dauer hit a three-run homer and Cal Ripken a three-run homer last night in Memorial Stadium. "An orgy."
"None of us knows what to make of this team," Hank Peters, the Orioles' general manager, said. "Sometimes, like tonight, we look like the very best team in baseball. And other nights, you'd think we had impostors out there."
In this Jekyll and Hyde season, the Orioles were on their best behavior tonight as they won their sixth consecutive game, 12-5, to sweep a three-game series from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Orioles, trailing, 2-0, transformed this game with an eight-run third, their biggest inning of the year.
The crucial hit was Murray's grand slam on the first pitch of the night from reliever Ken Schrom. Murray, who has 19 RBI in his last nine games, changed a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead with the Orioles' seventh grand slam of the year and their third grand slam in the last four games in Memorial Stadium.
Storm Davis got the victory as his diving curve ball helped him get nine strikeouts in seven innings. He entered the game in the first inning when Scott McGregor, after only 12 pitches, told Manager Earl Weaver that the chronic tendinitis in his shoulder kept him from getting loose. This was the second straight start in which McGregor got no one out.
"I felt like I was throwing 60 mph, but I was not hurting at all," he said. "There was no need to stay out there. It's weird when your arm doesn't hurt and you're expecting it to, and you still can't throw hard."
"There's a good chance Scotty will start Sunday," Weaver said. "He's in one of those ruts were he has good stuff on his 'throw day' between starts, but nothing in the games. Sunday would be his throw day, so maybe we can fool it (the arm)."
The way Davis (4-3) pitched, McGregor might not be missed for a while. Davis allowed one hit in his first five innings, and, in all, six singles and three runs. Tippy Martinez, who hardly needs work, got the last six outs.
"My arm feels better," Martinez said before the game. "Now, it's sore again. Before, it was so tired (from overwork) that it was numb all over. Now, I know where it aches again."
The Orioles, now 67-57, trail Boston by a game and Milwaukee by 6 1/2. Nonetheless, their 37 runs in the last four games bode well for a bona-fide stretch run. Crucial bats are hot: Murray, with 23 homers, has hit .381 in his last 27 games; Gary Roenicke's on a 14-game hitting streak; Ripken with three hits this evening, is 17 for 40 and has 20 homers and 70 RBI this year, and Rich Dauer reached base five times with three walks, a single and homer.
The Orioles' eight-run third was all ominous thunder and two bolts of lightning. Dauer and Al Bumbry began with walks against right-handed starter and loser Jim Gott.
Soon, Gott felt like he was back in the Pioneer League. The Blue Jays were paralyzed by Glenn Gulliver's poor sacrifice; they forgot to cover third, threw late to second, then threw late to first, too, getting nobody.
Ken Singleton's RBI single left the bases loaded for Murray. In came Schrom. Murray looked for a breaking ball, got it and scattered bleacher customers above the 360-foot sign in right.
Later in the inning, Dauer unloaded off Schrom into the lower left field bleachers with two on, and, in the fourth, Ripken deposited a 400-foot homer into the bleachers in straight left.
This evening's crowd may have been denied one piece of history. In the eighth, Bennie Ayala faced Dave Geisel with the bases loaded and one out; Murray was on deck. No one has ever hit grand slam homers from each side of the plate in the same game.
Ayala flied to short center; coach Cal Ripken Sr., with the Orioles ahead by eight runs, sent Dauer home where he was out by six feet. Murray smashed his bat into the dirt in the on-deck circle.
Murray led off the next inning. His home run hit the foul pole.
"Did I know it?" Murray asked. "Should I lie or tell the truth. Yeah, I did think about it (switch hitting grand slams)."
"Make a joke of everything," said Dauer, firing a tape wad at Murray.
"You could have pulled a muscle and gone back (to third) or faked that you missed the ("go") sign . . .like you always do," said Murray, firing back a wad of his own. "You blew my chance."
"What do you want, Murray? Two million dollars a year?" Dauer asked.
And, since winning streaks cure all ills, everybody left laughing.