The Baltimore Orioles had blown a 7-0 lead against the Chicago White Sox and surely were beginning to wonder if they would add to their string of defeats at Comiskey Park.
But thanks to a two-out, two-run double in the seventh inning by catcher Rick Dempsey, the Orioles were able to earn a 10-8 victory this windy afternoon, spoiling the White Sox home opener before a crowd of 38,306.
The victory was Baltimore's first after 10 losses at Comiskey, dating to Aug. 10, 1980.
"After we blew that seven-run lead, I started to think that the jinx was here again," said Dempsey, who had been one for 13 before the hit. In fact, Dempsey's teammates had been making him carry a red plastic bat with his statistics taped on; "I don't want to talk about that," said Dempsey.
He didn't mind talking about his double, off reliever Dick Tidrow. It sailed over the head of right fielder Harold Baines, who apparently misjudged it.
"I hit the ball good, but I was fortunate that it stayed up and got over his glove," said Dempsey. "I think the field was soft out there. On any other day, Harold Baines would have caught that ball.
It was a lucky hit, just like the single we got to tie the game."
The Orioles trailed, 8-7, when Eddie Murray led off with a single and pinch hitter John Lowenstein walked off Dennis Lamp (1-1). Ken Singleton greeted Tidrow with a sacrifice, advancing the runners, but Murray got caught in a rundown on Rich Dauer's infield grounder.
Al Bumbry singled off the glove of Tidrow, scoring Lowenstein and tying the score, before Dempsey doubled.
"The wind didn't have anything to do with it. I just should have jumped higher for it," said Baines, whose RBI single in the sixth had given the White Sox the one-run lead.
Sammy Stewart (1-1) shut out the White Sox over the final 3 2/3 innings to gain the victory.
Run-scoring singles by Cal Ripken Jr., Murray and Dauer off starter Floyd Bannister gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead in the first. John Shelby opened the Orioles' second with his first home run and, after Ripken singled and Murray walked, Gary Roenicke put one into the stands for a 7-0 lead.
Chicago came back with five runs in the second. Ron Kittle singled and scored on a double by Carlton Fisk, who scored on a single by Vance Law. Tony Bernazard and Tom Paciorek followed with homers.
Greg Luzinski was walked to open the Chicago third and Kittle greeted reliever Storm Davis with his second homer of the season to tie it at 7.
"I'd read a lot about him," Davis said of the Sox rookie. "His reputation precedes him. Last year, it was Kent Hrbek; this year, it's Ron Kittle. But today it was like stepping into a darkroom. We didn't have any cards on him. He's real strong and he's got the type of zone that doesn't allow you much room for error."