With curls of smoke rising from the postgame fireworks, the Chicago White Sox walked out of Memorial Stadium banging the walls in the locker room, rather than whimpering.
The relief and joy that filled the visitors' room resulted from Chicago's 6-4 victory over the Orioles, a game which seemed uncannily similar to Friday night's miraculous 5-4 Baltimore victory.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Dan Ford stepped to the plate with the Orioles down two runs, and men on first and second. He lifted Salome Barojas' first pitch, a fast ball, up, up into the still night air.
The 32,769 fans rose, clamoring for another comeback.
"I yelled at it to stay in," catcher Carlton Fisk of the White Sox remembered.
It did. The ball calmly settled into left fielder's Ron Kittle's glove. The 3 hour and 26 minute game was over.
"I tell you, I thought it sounded good," said Orioles Manager Joe Altobelli, whose team's three-game winning streak ended.
Rich Dauer, on second at the time, also knew there would be no miracle tonight. "I know it wasn't out," he said. "After 20 years of playing baseball, I could tell. It just missed."
Ford's drive to the warning track almost cost White Sox Manager Tony LaRussa his first victory in Memorial Stadium this year. "I saw where he hit it on the bat," LaRussa said, laughing. "That's the way I used to hit in my career."
After five innings, it appeared that there never would be any possibility that Ford's fly ball would generate such excitement. Chicago got six runs in less than five innings off Orioles starter Dennis Martinez (6-14).
In the second, Martinez walked Greg Luzinski. Rookie Greg Walker lined a single to right and Kittle, who's been slumping (four for 36) hit a sacrifice fly. Julio Cruz doubled down the left field line for a second run.
Martinez became unglued in the fifth. The four runs knocked him out of the game and probably back to the bullpen. Scott Fletcher opened with a single, advancing to third on Cruz's one-hopper to the mound. Fisk, hitting .353 since being inserted in the No. 2 slot June 15, got his second of four hits tonight, driving in Fletcher. Harold Baines then hit a 2-0 change-up for his 11th homer of the season, and second in two nights. Luzinski followed with a line drive homer to left for his 22nd and a 6-0 lead.
"He turned the ball over a little bit," Luzinski said. "I've been in a good streak (five homers and 13 RBI in his last nine games).
Meanwhile, Floyd Bannister (9-9) was cruising to his sixth straight victory. Bannister retired 12 men in a row at one point, but the Orioles finally solved him in the sixth, scoring three runs, the last two coming on Gary Roenicke's 13th home run. John Shelby had led off the inning with a double and scored on Ford's Texas Leaguer to right.
Baltimore scored its fourth run in the seventh. Shelby singled, Ford singled, but reliever Al Jones, making his major league debut, forced Cal Ripken to ground into a double play. However, Ken Singleton, hitting .325 with men in scoring position, singled to right off reliever Britt Burns for the final run of the inning.
Bannister was happy. "Funny things happen here," he said. "The Orioles win a lot of ball games here because they never say die."
His batterymate, Fisk, looked on in relief. "I didn't get to sleep last night till 5:30 in the morning, thinking about that game. Whew."
The Orioles were without first baseman Eddie Murray, who sprained a knee in Friday's game. He had played in 204 consecutive games.
The Orioles announced that Mike Flanagan has been reactivated and will start Sunday against Chicago. To make room for Flanagan (6-0), who suffered ligament damage to his left knee May 17, reliever Dan Morogiello was optioned to Rochester. Morogiello was 0-1 (3.28 ERA) in 17 games.