There are some nights when being lucky is as important as being good, and the Baltimore Orioles were both tonight in Arlington Stadium.
Mike Boddicker, who allowed six hits in 8 1/3 innings, and Mike Young, who hit a two-run homer, were the most obvious elements of Baltimore's 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.
But the Orioles might not have won had it not been for a controversial play in the seventh inning and the Rangers' base-running error in the eighth.
In the seventh, Wayne Tolleson -- running for Cliff Johnson who had walked -- tried to score from first on Don Slaught's single to right. But Jim Dwyer threw to second baseman Lynn Sakata, whose relay to Rick Dempsey caught Tolleson for the third out. Plate umpire Dale Ford could have called the play either way.
And in the eighth, pinch hitter Tommy Dunbar singled to start the inning, but tried to steal second with two out and Buddy Bell -- seeking his 2,000th hit -- batting. Dunbar easily beat Dempsey's throw, but slid off the bag and Sakata tagged him out.
Sakata said Dunbar would have been safe if he hadn't used a hook slide. "When you hook slide," Sakata said, "sometimes it's hard to maintain the bag with your foot. If he had gone straight in, he'd have stayed in easily. He didn't have to hook, but when he did I just stayed with him."
Dempsey and Sakata had come into the game as late-inning replacements and each helped the Orioles finish this nine-game road trip with a 4-5 record.
After Boddicker walked Larry Parrish in the ninth, Tippy Martinez got the last two outs to earn his second save this season. "I wasn't going to give Larry a thing to hit," Boddicker said afterward. "If I walked him, I knew I was gone, but I'd rather have someone else come in than let Parrish tie it up."
The most frustrated Ranger must have been loser Dave Rozema (1-3), who allowed six hits in eight innings.
His only real mistake was a two-strike change-up to Young, who had two for extra bases tonight.
Young's home run barely made it into the right-field seats. "If that doesn't make it, it's a 1-0 game (in favor of Texas)," Manager Joe Altobelli said.
Rozema said of his mistake pitch: "I'd sure like to have it back."
And Young admitted, "I didn't get it all, just enough to get it over (the fence)."
The Orioles made several fine defensive plays, and the fielding and the good fortune were not lost on Boddicker. "It was a hard game," he said. "I didn't have a lot of good stuff. Just junk. And I had a lot of luck. (Pete) O'Brien hit two line drives to Eddie (Murray, in the fourth and seventh innings)."
A ball that didn't travel a foot from the plate caused a stir in the sixth. Cal Ripken Jr. apparently tipped a ball that landed in fair territory. He thought he missed it completely or fouled it because he stood in the box waiting for the next pitch. Catcher Slaught picked up the ball and tagged him.
Cal Ripken Sr., the third-base coach, rushed umpire Ford with all the fury of Marvin Hagler, only to be ejected. Altobelli, who restrained Ripken Sr., stayed on to coach at third base until the seventh, but had little action. Rozema was in the midst of retiring 15 straight.
Finally, after the sixth ended, Altobelli moved his first-base coach, Jimmy Williams, to third and sent Frank Robinson to first.