Even the optimists in the Baltimore clubhouse would have to figure the Orioles' bullpen was due for what happened in the Kingdome Saturday night.
Seattle scored four runs in the eighth and ninth innings to beat the Orioles, 8-7. Ivan Calderon's pinch-hit, two-out, three-run homer in the eighth off Tippy Martinez tied the game at 7, and Jim Presley's two-out single in the ninth off Don Aase won it for the Mariners.
During the three-week surge that carried the Orioles to the top of the American League East, the bullpen has time after time saved the starting pitching, which other than Mike Boddicker and rookie Ken Dixon has been unimpressive.
"They've all really done a good job," Baltimore Manager Joe Altobelli had said before the game. But in the following three hours came a near total collapse.
Storm Davis allowed four runs and fell behind, 4-1, after two innings. But the hitting of Eddie Murray (three for four, two runs batted in) and Fred Lynn (his first four-hit game of the season, two RBI) carried Baltimore to a 7-4 lead through the top of the eighth.
Cal Ripken's run-scoring triple in the fourth pulled Baltimore within 4-2. Murray's subsequent sacrifice fly made it 4-3, and successive RBI singles by Murray and Lynn in the fifth put Baltimore ahead, 5-4. Two more RBI -- by Lynn in the seventh and Lee Lacy in the eighth -- put the game seemingly out of reach.
Davis, who had settled down to face only one batter more than the minimum from the second through sixth innings, gave up a leadoff double to Jack Perconte in the seventh and was replaced by Sammy Stewart.
He allowed a single to Phil Bradley (on which Perconte was unable to advance), but got Ken Phelps to hit into a double play that was one-half step at first base from being a triple play. Martinez then came on to strike out Alvin Davis, and the Orioles seemed in good shape for winning their third straight game on this road trip.
Martinez, after allowing singles to Dave Henderson and Presley, even had two out before Calderon hit a breaking pitch for the home run to tie.
When Martinez (1-2) allowed a single with two out in the ninth, Altobelli brought in Aase, who not only gave up a single to Henderson, but grooved a three-ball, no-strike pitch to Presley, whose single to the wall in left-center ended the game.