Fritz Connally, the Baltimore Orioles' third baseman, hit his first major-league home run tonight.
It was a rookie's dream. Bases loaded. And it gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning.
But the Orioles still lost, 6-5, to the Toronto Blue Jays before 20,213 at frigid Exhibition Stadium.
The Orioles lost because Jesse Barfield hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning. They lost because, earlier in the same inning, Blue Jays center fielder Lloyd Moseby caught Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey's foot on a force at the plate and broke up a likely double play.
Instead, the throw went into right field for an error and a run scored. It also set the stage for Barfield's big hit, his third three-run homer of the season, which ruined the night for Connally.
"Hitting a home run is not the main thing," Connally said. "It would have felt better if we had won." Despite giving up the home run, Doyle Alexander (2-0) finished that inning and the sixth to win his second against the Orioles this season. Loser Sammy Stewart (1-1) relieved Mike Boddicker in the sixth.
The Jays' Bill Caudill earned his second save, despite pinch-hitter Larry Sheets' ninth-inning homer against the foul pole in left. That came after Ernie Whitt's eighth-inning single scored George Bell, who had walked and stolen second, to give the Jays a two-run lead.
Despite the loud homers, the biggest play probably was made by Moseby after Boddicker loaded the bases on Moseby's single and walks to Willie Upshaw and Bell. The walk to Bell was Boddicker's fifth, against four strikeouts, and brought Stewart into the game. Stewart, who had held the Blue Jays hitless in four innings in protecting Scott McGregor's victory last Friday in Baltimore, got the first out on a foul ball.
He then fielded Willie Aikens' grounder, and got the force at home. But Moseby's slide home knocked Dempsey off-balance and the ball ended up in right field.
"Moseby's slide was the big play," Blue Jays Manager Bobby Cox said.
"That's what speed will do for you," Orioles Manager Joe Altobelli said. "That was the killer; it cost us four runs."
"I don't want to talk about it; just look at the instant replay and you can see what happened," Dempsey said.
Alexander's spell of perfection ended with the first batter in the fifth, Fred Lynn, who walked. Alexander hit Mike Young with a pitch and gave up a single to Jim Dwyer before having a battle with Connally. Alexander's 14th pitch to Connally, after nine fouls with two strikes, resulted in the homer that gave the Orioles a four-run lead.
"That was about as good an at-bat a player will have," said Altobelli. "He had a heck of an at-bat, he wore Alexander down.