Greg Walker already had grounded into a double play to kill one of his team's potential rallies in the sixth. The Baltimore Orioles had to be thinking along the same lines in the eighth when they elected to intentionally walk Harold Baines, with a man on third, to face Walker.
But this time, Walker drove Don Aase's pitch more than 400 feet over the fence in center field, scoring three runs and sending the Chicago White Sox to a 5-2 victory here tonight over Baltimore in Comiskey Park.
Tom Seaver allowed four hits in eight innings for his 292nd career victory. Juan Agosto and Bob James pitched the ninth for Chicago. It was the fifth straight victory for the White Sox; the Orioles, 18-13 and 1 1/2 games behind first-place Toronto in the American League East, lost their fourth straight.
Baltimore had some good news from the seven-inning performance of Dennis Martinez, who allowed two runs and five hits tonight after disastrous outings in his last two starts.
Jim Dwyer's eighth-inning homer off Seaver (4-1) had tied the score, 2-2. But Aase (4-1) got a slider too high on the inside corner and gave up a leadoff double to Rudy Law, who advanced to third on Scott Fletcher's sacrifice bunt. Aase intentionally passed Baines, who entered the game as the league's second-leading hitter (.330).
"I don't blame them for intentionally walking Harold," Walker said. "He might be the best hitter in the American League right now. I just have to take advantage of the situation."
Mostly, Walker took advantage of a high fast ball. "It was a fast ball right down the middle," Aase said. "That's not where I wanted it, but that's where it went. He hit it and that's about it."
Baltimore Manager Joe Altobelli said he respects Walker's power as much as Baines' (each has four homers this season). "But it's just a situation where you have to put a guy up who might hit into a double play," Altobelli said.
On Tuesday night, Chicago won, 2-1, when Cleveland intentionally walked Baines in the eighth, only to have Walker single home the winning run.
With Ron Kittle, who twice struck out looking, coming up next, Aase was asked if he thought about walking Walker also. But all Aase could think about was the location of a pitch he didn't want to make.
Altobelli said that since Martinez had thrown more than 90 pitches, he had planned for Aase to pitch the eighth and ninth. "Aase's been good," Altobelli said. "He's cranked up some good ones lately."
Altobelli was ejected by home plate umpire Dale Ford in the eighth. Altobelli argued on what what he thought was a ball well below Eddie Murray's knees, which Ford called for strike two. Murray then struck out looking.
It was Altobelli's third ejection this year and the second in three games. "I'm gonna yell at him because he missed a pitch in a tough situation," Altobelli said. "I told him the ball was 'Low, low, low.' It wasn't like I was on him every inning."
Fred Lynn had to be restrained in the ninth on a called strike three by Ford.
But by that time, Baltimore's frustrations had been mounting against Seaver, 40. "He's been doing it for a long time," Altobelli said. "When you get past your 250s (in victories), you better believe he's a helluva pitcher. What did we get, five hits? Four were off him, two of them were (homers) but nobody was on. That's Seaver."
After not being able to get past the third inning in his last two starts, Martinez, as Altobelli purposely understated, "didn't do a bad job at all. In fact, he pitched better after the rain delay (of 33 minutes in the fourth inning). Seemed to throw the ball harder. I think he came back firing the ball."
Martinez allowed Chicago to take a 1-0 lead in the third. Law walked, stole second, went to third on a ground out and scored on Baines' sacrifice fly.
Cal Ripken hit an upper-deck homer in the sixth off Seaver to tie it, 1-1. Tim Hulett hit his first career homer in the seventh to put the White Sox back on top, 2-1.
Pitcher Scott McGregor (1-4, 7.92 ERA) stayed back in Baltimore tonight and was scheduled to be examined for soreness in his throwing arm and shoulder.