Scott McGregor had great control from the mound, but he was wild from the infield grass and it almost cost him a win.
However, Dan Ford's single and Eddie Murray's double in the 10th inning gave the Orioles a 4-3 victory over the Indians at Cleveland Stadium tonight.
McGregor went into the bottom of the ninth with a 3-2 lead, thanks to Rick Dempsey's solo homer--his third of the year--in the top of the inning.
Cleveland's leadoff batter, Gorman Thomas, topped a checked-swing roller in a perfect spot between the mound and the third base line. McGregor tried to make a play anyway and heaved the ball down the right field line. The error put Thomas on third.
With the infield moved in for a possible play at the plate, Otto Velez lined a single past second baseman Rich Dauer to tie the score, 3-3.
Murray's hit in the 10th almost was predictable. He is batting .471 (16 for 34) against Cleveland this year and his career average against the Indians is .348.
Although he did not pitch the 10th, McGregor got the win to lift his record to 14-4. His career record against Cleveland is 10-3.
Sammy Stewart replaced him and gave up a pinch-hit single to Broderick Perkins, but struck out Toby Harrah. Manager Joe Altobelli brought in Tippy Martinez, who finished for his 11th save of the season.
The Indians scored first when Julio Franco led off the third with a double and scored on Jim Essian's first homer of the season.
Essian had been confined to the bench by former manager Mike Ferraro, but has been the starting catcher in five of six games since Pat Corrales took over last Sunday. Essian entered the game with only seven hits all season and a .179 average. Until Corrales was hired, he had two hits.
The Orioles tied the score in the sixth when Murray walked with one out and scored on Gary Roenicke's 12th homer of the year.
Cleveland wasted an excellent scoring opportunity in the sixth when Andy Thornton led off with a walk and Pat Tabler doubled him to third. Thomas flied out to center field, but not deeply enough to score Thornton. Velez then hit a checked-swing bouncer back to McGregor, who turned and saw Tabler 15 feet off second base.
McGregor wheeled and threw to shortstop Cal Ripken, who tagged out Tabler, who slipped while trying to scramble back to the bag. Thornton was forced to hold third. The inning ended when Franco flied out.
Ford had three hits and scored a run. Murray, Roenicke and Dempsey each had two hits.
"I was trying to do something right," Dempsey said of his home run. "I haven't been much help to the offense lately."