George Vukovich's grand slam highlighted a six-run eighth inning that enabled the Indians to break a 2-2 tie and beat the Baltimore Orioles, 8-4, today. Intermittent rain held attendance at the home opener to 52,150.
"I didn't know how the ball carries in this ballpark," said Vukovich, who was playing his first game in Cleveland Stadium. "But that's the best I can hit it."
The grand slam was the first of his career, and it was the first ever given up by left-hander Tippy Martinez.
"The mound was slick," Martinez said. "I slipped."
Sam Stewart (0-1), working in relief of Scott McGregor, walked Alan Bannister, Toby Harrah and Andre Thornton to start the eighth, although Bannister was caught trying to steal second.
Martinez came in to pitch to Ron Hassey, whose single put Cleveland ahead, 3-2.
Martinez walked Manny Trillo to load the bases, then struck out Rick Manning. That brought up Vukovich.
The Indians' new manager, Mike Ferraro, had used Vukovich as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning and left him in to play right field. Vukovich, a left-handed hitter, has seldom faced left-handers in the majors, but Ferraro let him hit.
Shortstop Julio Franco, who came with Vukovich last December in a much-criticized trade with the Phillies, followed Vukovich's homer with his first major league home run.
Rick Sutcliffe (2-0), who led the American League with a 2.96 ERA last year, struck out five, walked four and gave up two runs on five hits in eight innings.
The Orioles, who scored no earned runs off Sutcliffe in 24 innings in 1982, ended the streak at 26 1/3. Leo Hernandez walked in the third inning and stole, then Dan Ford doubled.
The Indians sent out Ed Glynn to pitch the ninth but he gave up Hernandez's first major league homer and later walked Eddie Murray with the bases loaded.
That brought on Dan Spillner, and he struck out pinch hitter Gary Roenicke with the bases loaded in the ninth to earn his second save.
Ken Singleton of the Orioles had a double and a homer.