Unfortunately for the Baltimore Orioles, changing managers sometimes has a remarkable affect on a baseball team.
The Cleveland Indians, last in the American League East, had not won two games in a row since June 22-23. But they are 4-0 since Pat Corrales took over as field boss Sunday.
Tonight, they defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 3-1 and 4-3, in a twinight doubleheader before 17,286 at Cleveland Stadium. Reliever Bud Anderson closed the door in the Orioles' faces in both games. Baltimore barely kept its perch atop the Al East, .584 to .583 over second-place Detroit, which lost in Chicago, 7-5.
"If teams went on winning streaks every time they switched managers, some owners with a lot of money would be hiring a new guy every week," said Orioles Manager Joe Altobelli, who watched his club's five-game win streak end in the first game.
But Baltimore had its chances, not only for a split but for victory in both games. Oriole runners abounded in the late innings, but the big hit was never forthcoming.
"That has happened to us before," Altobelli said, "but not much lately."
With Cleveland leading, 4-2, after seven innings of the second game, a single by John Shelby and a double by Jim Dwyer put Orioles on second and third with one out in the eighth.
Baltimore was facing Dan Spillner, who had replaced starter and winner Tom Brennan (1-1) in the seventh. Spillner got Cal Ripken on an infield fly, but he unloaded a wild curve ball with Eddie Murray at the plate, Shelby scoring and Dwyer moving to third.
Spillner gave way to Anderson, who earned a save each game. Anderson threw one pitch to Ken Singleton, who ended the inning with a fly ball to right.
Now only one run down, the Orioles had another opportunity in the ninth when Gary Roenicke led off with a single and Todd Cruz bunted him to second.
However, Rich Dauer was retired on a fly ball and Joe Nolan struck out.
"The guy Anderson struck out to end the game is a damn good fast ball hitter," Corrales said. "But he threw two of them right by him."
A similar scenario occurred in the first game as the Orioles scored once in the ninth but failed to take full advantage.
This time, Baltimore was facing Jamie Easterly, who had relieved starter Bert Blyleven (7-9) after the sixth. Easterly surrendered a leadoff single to Murray, but John Lowenstein flied out and Singleton bounced to first. Murray took third on that play.
After Rick Dempsey walked, Cruz hit a high chop toward third. Toby Harrah was forced back on the outfield grass and had no chance for a play at first. He made a desperation throw to force Dempsey at second but the ball sailed into right field, Murray scoring. The infield hit and Harrah's error left Dempsey on third and Cruz on second.
Corrales went to the bullpen for Anderson, and Altobelli summoned Jim Dwyer to hit for Dauer. Anderson walked Dwyer, but Lenn Sakata batted for Shelby and flied out to end the game.
"The Indians played well, but I thought they might give that game back to us," Altobelli said, referring to Harrah's bad throw.
The Orioles got reasonably good pitching in both games, though Allan Ramirez (4-2) was driven from the mound in the fourth inning of the second game. He allowed three runs on five hits and three walks.
"I got in trouble trying to control my breaking pitch," Ramirez said. "And when I came in with my fast ball, they were sitting on it."
"His control was not as sharp as usual," said Altobelli, who was more pleased with the work of Dennis Martinez in the opener. Martinez (6-13) was making his first start since losing to California July 16. Following that appearance he was sent to the bullpen where he has worked twice.
Tonight, he was a victim mostly of a critical error by Cruz at third, which allowed the Indians to score two unearned runs in the third inning. When Altobelli removed him after six innings, it was not for failing to do his job.
"Dennis pitched well, but he got a crick in his neck, kind of a muscle spasm," Altobelli said. "I'm pretty sure it's a minor thing but that is why I took him out."
Possibly the most encouraging aspect of the evening for the Orioles was the work of Tippy Martinez, who pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Dennis Martinez. Tippy Martinez was making his first appearance since undergoing an emergency appendectomy July 9. He was reactivated Sunday.