Certainly, nobody can accuse Fritz Connally of not making the most of his home runs. In the first inning tonight, the Baltimore rookie hit his second career homer, and second career grand slam.
Connally's grand slam, Eddie Murray's first home run in three weeks and Cal Ripken's three-run homer were more than enough to lead the Orioles to an 11-3 victory over Seattle here in the Kingdome.
Every Baltimore starter had at least one hit. A six-run first inning knocked out Seattle starter Matt Young (2-5). And the Mariners' night went downhill from there.
Ken Dixon (4-1) struggled through five innings to get the victory with relief help from Nate Snell, who pitched the final four innings for his first save of the season.
By the time Dixon took the mound he had a 6-0 lead, but perhaps he lost something in the dugout, waiting for his teammates to finish the 24-minute Baltimore first.
"I think it takes away your aggressiveness," said Dixon. "But for a starter, that's all you can ask for."
Connally's first grand slam this season came off Doyle Alexander in a losing effort at Toronto. But the Mariners, just returning from an 11-day trip for what is considered an important home stand for them, couldn't generate any serious threats the rest of the night.
Besides the grand slam, the game had such oddities as Jack Perconte's first home run, after 990 at-bats, Fred Lynn's being removed from a game for the first time this season (to be rested) and Lee Lacy's reaching base four times without hitting the ball out of the infield.
Despite ribbing from his teammates ("It's a good thing I don't take you guys seriously because if I did you would drive me crazy."), Lacy was unabashed by the lack of prowess: "I want everything this game has to offer. I hope it happens often."
Lacy's first hit set the tone for his evening, and Baltimore's. The ball hit just in front of home plate, then rolled down the third base line -- often running right on top of the chalk -- until it touched third base.
Dan Ford followed with a single to left, putting men on first and second. Ripken's grounder might have been a double play, but Ford's hard slide into second prevented shortstop Spike Owen from making a throw.
So with one out, instead of two, the Mariners tried, unsuccessfully, for the play at the plate on Murray's fielder's choice dribbler to the pitcher. Lacy scored and the Orioles led, 1-0.
Gary Roenicke popped up for the inning's second out. But Young walked Lynn to load the bases. Two pitches later, Connally rocked Young for the grand slam into the grandstand seats in left field to give Baltimore a 5-0 lead.
"It was a changeup right down the middle of the plate," Connally said. "He was having control problems and I knew he had to throw a strike with the bases loaded."
After a single by Rich Dauer and a double by catcher Floyd Rayford -- making a rare start -- Young's evening was ended, perhaps mercifully, when he was taken out for Salome Barojas.
Against Barojas, Lacy had a chop hit off the carpet that didn't go more than 50 feet. That scored Dauer for a 6-0 lead, and the Orioles had their fifth six-run inning this season.
Perconte's homerless streak was the longest for a non-pitcher in the major leagues. Tonight's was the first home run of his career, and it hit the right field foul pole. That made it 6-1, but the Orioles scored five more runs before another Mariner crossed the plate.
Murray, who came into this game batting .240, and without a home run since April 25, hit his fifth of the season to right off Barojas in the second for a 7-1 lead.
Murray figured in the next run as well. In the fourth, he hit a double off the wall in left center that narrowly missed being a home run, then scored on Roenicke's double to left.
Baltimore continued to go long in the fifth, except for Lacy, of course. With Rayford on first following a single, Lacy hit what should have been an inning-ending double-play ball to the pitcher. But the ball bounced off Barojas' glove (for an error) leaving Baltimore runners on first and second.
It also left a chance for Ripken to drive the ball more than 400 feet over the fence in left center -- for his seventh homer of the season -- scoring three more runs to push the Orioles' lead to 11-1.
Dixon allowed a leadoff single in the fifth inning to Bob Kearney, who came into the game hitting .094, then gave Seattle a run by walking three Mariners, including Ken Phelps with the bases loaded.
After a sixth-inning home run by Dave Henderson, which made it 11-3, and a base hit by Jim Presley, Baltimore Manager Joe Altobelli relieved Dixon with Snell, who allowed a one-out single before ending the inning with a double play.