Manager Bobby Cox of the Toronto Blue Jays admits that he took a chance today against the Baltimore Orioles. He took it and it worked, but not quite the way he thought it would.
When Lloyd Moseby reached first on shortstop Cal Ripken's error to open the eighth inning, left-hander Willie Upshaw came to the plate against left-handed reliever Tippy Martinez. Cox called hit and run.
Martinez's fast ball was so high that, normally, Upshaw would have taken it. But, with Moseby running, Upshaw swung. He tripled home the tying run. Willie Aikens' fly ball brought in Upshaw and the Blue Jays had a 3-2 victory before 40,451 at Exhibition Stadium.
"I didn't want to bunt for one thing," Cox said. "You've got to gamble a little bit sometimes."
It was the Orioles' second straight loss in their three-game series here and the second time they failed to hold a lead. The winning pitcher, reliever Ron Musselman, 30, earned his second major league victory and first since Sept. 28, 1982, when he was with the Seattle Mariners. (He played in Alexandria, Va., when the Mariners had their Class A farm there.) Martinez (1-1) took over in the seventh from rookie Ken Dixon, who made his first start of the season.
"You can't fault the short relievers," Orioles Manager Joe Altobelli said. "You couldn't fault them last night, either. Is Upshaw going to swing at that ball way up there if the runner's not going?"
Upshaw answered that himself. "No, I hope not," he said. "If I did, I hope I'd hit it in the same place. I was just trying to get on top of it and hit it on the ground."
It went to left-center and ticked off the glove of left fielder Mike Young, who made a diving attempt.
Don Aase replaced Martinez and walked George Bell. He got Ernie Whitt on a pop to third before giving up Aikens' fly that scored Upshaw.
None of this might have happened if Ripken had been able to field Moseby's grounder. But the new artificial turf at Exhibition Stadium has enough bumps that the Blue Jays infielders mentioned it earlier in the week.
"It was a seam or a bump or something," Ripken said.
The result spoiled Dixon's encouraging effort. He retired the first 10 batters, striking out three, before giving up Rance Mulliniks' single, and left after 6 2/3 innings having yielded five hits and struck out seven.
"Look around the locker room and that says enough for me; I'm part of the team," he said, taking no solace from having pitched well enough to win. "In that sense, it wasn't that good a game."
He worked out of the first threat, in the fifth, when the Blue Jays loaded the bases on an infield single and two walks.
The Orioles, held to two hits for five innings, took a 2-0 lead on Ripken's first career homer at Exhibition Stadium, in the sixth against starter Luis Leal. It followed a walk to Wayne Gross.
Young saved Dixon a run in the sixth, ending the inning with a leaping catch against the left field fence on Bell's drive with Moseby on base after a one-out walk.
Dixon left the game for Martinez in the seventh with two out and a run home. Gross, playing first base, also made an important defensive play, catching Whitt's leadoff line drive.
But with two out, Barfield singled to left and, when Young slipped, the ball went to the fence. Barfield wound up on third with Young charged with an error. Tony Fernandez singled Barfield home and when Damaso Garcia's single put runners at first and third, Martinez got the call. He ended the inning on a weak grounder by pinch hitter Jeff Burroughs.
Leal was finished after six innings, in which he gave up four hits and three walks and struck out three.