It was incorrectly reported in yesterday's late editions that Lance Parrish is the Detroit Tigers' third baseman. He is their catcher.
The chants started in the Baltimore Orioles' dugout in the eighth inning.
"Come on, Tippy," several voices would chorus, exhorting Orioles reliever Tippy Martinez to nail down an 8-7 comeback thriller over the New York Yankees.
Moments later, players reported, Richie Dauer and a half-dozen others would begin screaming, "Come on, Lance."
The Yankees didn't know what these crazy yells were all about. The New Yorkers were perplexed enough by this inspired Oriole team that had ignored their 6-3 lead, ignored Dave Winfield's grand slam home run, and steamrolled them with two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh.
Now, who is this Lance, the Yankees wondered?
Finally, with two out in the ninth inning, Martinez stood on the mound, Willie Randolph stood on third base representing the tying run and Winfield--the man with 10 homers in his last 15 games--strode to the plate.
The "Come on, Tippy" chants lasted just three pitches. That's how long it took Martinez to overpower the swinging Winfield with three untouched curve balls.
The Orioles, their 8-7 victory secure, danced into the dugout.
No sooner had they left the field than Dan Ford, who had been listening to the radio, burst into the clubhouse and yelled in disbelief, "Lance did it! Two run-homer in the 11th. Milwaukee loses, 4-3."
For a moment, the Orioles, now two games behind the Brewers in the American League East race, were almost too stunned to cheer.
The Lance was Lance Parrish, third baseman of the Tigers. For some reason, when word had arrived that the Brewers had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th, the Orioles had decided to try casting their psychic energy toward Detroit. Parrish had been their choice for hero.
Now, just seconds after one of their most dramatic and exciting victories, the Orioles learned that their ESP was working, too. "Thank you very much," and "Way to go, Lance," echoed in the locker room.
Moments later, the Milwaukee score was flashed on the scoreboard and the crowd of 18,892, which was meandering toward the exits assuming Milwaukee would win, gave a gasp, then a roar. The fans, too, sensed that, suddenly, this faint hope of a pennant race was real.
For a month, the Orioles have been winning and praying, hoping to get close enough to the Brewers to make Harvey's Wallbangers show just how good they are, or aren't.
And now, they're there, only a measly one back in the loss column after the 20th victory in their last 24 games. Meanwhile, Milwaukee has lost seven of its last dozen games. What was a 7 1/2-game deficit now seems thin as smoke. To boot, the Boston Red Sox lost a doubleheader this evening, falling 2 1/2 games behind Baltimore, with three more losses.
"Everybody else is lookin' over their shoulders and we're just playin' ball," said Sammy Stewart. "We threw away our rear-view mirrors a while back and now we're just lookin' ahead."
No matter how far the Orioles go this season, they will get few jolts more electric than this evening's sequence. Trailing by three runs after a six-run Yankee fifth inning, the Orioles answered and won with authority.
They won with base-running speed from first to third, with a squeeze bunt and with two daring scores from third on short fly balls. They won with a vital pinch-hit triple by the slumping Ford and a long-relief victory by rookie Mike Boddicker, the first victory of his major league career. And they got the winning run on a grounder that went under the glove of the classiest Yankee, Graig Nettles.
In short, they won in all the ways that are atypical for them, and, thus, all the more inspirational.
After Winfield's grand slam, the Orioles got angry. With one out in the sixth, Cal Ripken Jr., whose error had led to an unearned run, hit a routine grounder to Nettles, but beat the throw to first for a scratch hit. When Gary Roenicke blooped a single to center, Ripken sped to third. All that running pumped up Rick Dempsey. Also, as he stepped up, the crowd gave him a standing ovation for just having a birthday (his 33rd). Dempsey responded with an RBI squeeze bunt, knocking out Jay Howell.
Reliever Curt Kaufman was shaken by the crowd's thunder and walked both Al Bumbry and Terry Crowley, forcing home a run and cutting the Yankee lead to 6-5.
By now, the momentum had swung. "High drama," said owner Edward Bennett Williams.
In the seventh, Ford tripled a foot over Ken Griffey's head as the outfielder got a soda in the face from a fan as he went for the catch at the wall; Ford's successful gamble for third opened up the whole inning. The infield came in and Ripken chopped a seeing-eye single over loser Rudy May's head into center.
Gary Roenicke, who singled home a run in the fourth, doubled. Dauer, who had scored John Lowenstein with a short sacrifice fly to Griffey in the fourth, now scored Ripken with an even shorter sacrifice fly to right to break the tie.
All that was left was the coup de grace. Pinch-hitter Benny Ayala hit a two-hopper that Nettles would normally get easily. This time, the ball was faster than the reflexes and into left for an RBI hit and an 8-6 lead.
When Roy Smalley hit his second homer in the eighth, knocking out Boddicker after three innings, Nettles' misplay became huge.
Finally, in the ninth, the Orioles showed all their gumption. Randolph opened with a double. Martinez then struck out Jerry Mumphrey and got Griffey on a grounder, Randolph taking third. Up stepped Winfield. Three pitches later, down he sat. And the Orioles could stop cheering for Tippy and start thanking Lance.