Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray drove in first-inning runs and Mike Boddicker earned his 17th victory as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-1, tonight.
It was the Orioles' second straight victory over the Tigers and Detroit's sixth loss in seven games.
The defeat, coupled with Toronto's win over New York, cut the Tigers' lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East to 7 1/2 games, the smallest margin since Aug. 14.
Boddicker (17-8) allowed six hits, walked six and struck out six in seven innings.
Sammy Stewart finished up for Baltimore's 13th victory in 17 games. Boddicker has won seven of his last eight decisions.
"I didn't have really good stuff, except for my changeup, and my location was brutal," said Boddicker, who leads the Orioles' staff in most categories and went into the game with a 2.85 earned-run average, second-best in the league.
"I tried to stay low and away, just off the corners, and they weren't swinging.
"I didn't want to hang pitches to these guys. Whenever I do, they hit it out."
The Tigers' only run came on a hit by rookie Nelson Simmons. He was called up from Evansville and inserted into the starting lineup in place of right fielder Kirk Gibson, who is hospitalized with an intestinal virus.
After Boddicker gave up two walks in the fourth, Simmons leaned into a low outside pitch and sent the ball into right for his first major league hit.
Al Bumbry and Mike Young started the game with singles off Detroit Dave Rozema (7-6), who was subbing for Milt Wilcox, who had a sore shoulder.
After a passed ball by catcher Lance Parrish, Ripken hit a sacrifice fly and Eddie Murray an RBI single, extending his hitting streak to 17 games.
Rookie Roger Mason, another September callup by Detroit, entered the game in the second inning and didn't allow a hit until the fifth, when Dempsey lined his eighth home run of the season following a one-out walk to Rich Dauer.