The Baltimore Orioles, who have made a habit of scoring runs with two outs on this road trip, nearly pulled off another improbable comeback against the American League's best reliever tonight in Royals Stadium.
After two were out in the ninth, they scored four runs off Dan Quisenberry and had the tying run on second base after Mike Young's three-run double. But Wayne Gross, batting for rookie Fritz Connally, popped up to end the game and leave Baltimore a 9-8 loser to Kansas City in yet another bizarre game for the Orioles.
With his team trailing by 9-4 in the ninth, Eddie Murray had a two-out triple that scored Joe Nolan, who had singled, and made it 9-5. Two walks later, Young cleared the bases to make it 9-8. Quisenberry, who had just entered to pitch the ninth, had a 1-1 count on Gross before getting the final out.
Scott McGregor (1-3), who started for Baltimore, lasted only three innings and gave up six earned runs, and has gone nearly a month and five starts without winning.
He allowed four runs in the first two innings, but then came the strange fourth inning when Kansas City's started, Danny Jackson, walked five consecutive into the Twilight Zone.
Murray starting things, innocently enough, by striking out. But 20 of Jackson's next 23 pitches were balls. Gary Roenicke walked on five pitches. Fred Lynn and Young each wlked on four.
So when Fritz Connally wlked on five pitches, Baltimore had its first run.
While the Royals' bullpen scrambled frantically, Jackson threw two balls to Dempsey, came back with a strike the earned a loud ovation, then threw two more balls that wereen't within six inches of the plate. That made it 4-2.
At that point, Jackson left, having thrown only 39 strikes in 75 pitches. Mike LaCoss wlked pinch hitter larry Sheets on five pitches, bringing Baltimore to 4-3.
Finally, after LaCoss had missed with two more pitches, Joe Nolan drove in another run with a grounder.
One more walk would have tied a major league record of seven consecutive walks in an inning, which hasn't been seen in the AL since Chicago got seven against Washington in 1909.
But even then, McGregor couldn't stop the Royals. Jin Sundberg doubled in the bottom of the inning, Jones singled and Onix Concepcion got an RBI double to left that Roenicke played into, in effect, an inside-the-park homer.
That gave the Royals a 7-4 lead. They got two more in the sixth off Storm Davis when Steve Balboni got a two-out single, following an intentional walk to George Brett and unintentional one to Jorge Orta.
Quisenberry came in at the beginning of the ninth just to get mop-up work.
Baltimore Manager Joe Altobelli said: "Somebody told me there was a lot of everything in this game and I said, 'Yeah, including a lot of nothing.'
"We started out giving the game to them. They tried to give it back to us. We tried to give it to them again. And they turned around at the end and tried to give it back to us.
"Everytime you see a game like that you wonder if it's the weirdest one you've seen. Now, there are a lot of people who would call that an exciting game. But there are others who would say, 'My gracious!'
When asked if he had ever seen six straight walks before, he said, "Hey, I've seen that before. Go to any Little League game and you'll see it."
Catcher Rick Dempsey, one of three players who got RBI wlks in the fourth, said: "I've never seen anything like that in my career."
Of the consecutive walks, Quisenberry quipped: "Just face it, the Orioles are not an aggressive offensive ball club."
Altobelli summarized: "If we'd have won that one . . . you see this cigar? I wouldn't have smoked it. I'da ate the damn thing."