Every day this trip continues, another Baltimore pitcher seems to find himself. First it was Dennis Martinez in Seattle, then Scott McGregor in Oakland. And tonight it was Storm Davis, who won his first game in a month as he and the Orioles beat the California Angels, 4-3, in Anaheim Stadium.
He allowed only two hits the last six innings and looked infinitely better than the pitcher who had an ERA of nearly six.
Davis (2-1), who pitched his second complete game of the season, said he threw all fast balls the last two innings. "That's an old Jim Palmer philosophy," he said. "Go with your best stuff until they get you."
It was also an important night for third baseman Fritz Connally and second baseman Lenn Sakata. Sakata, who had been hitting .189 with only six hits all season, had three tonight, including his first extra base hit this season and the game-winner in the eighth. He played in place of Rich Dauer, who is hitting .189 after going four for his last 35 at bats.
"He did produce, didn't he?" Orioles Manager Joe Altobelli said of Sakata. "It was a good game for us to win, with the four runs being produced by sort of our backup people. Our leadoff man was 0 for 5, and our three and four hitters (Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray) were 0 for 10."
Altobelli said Sakata will be starting again Saturday, as will Connally.
Connally started tonight in place of Wayne Gross, who normally plays against right-handed pitchers but cut his forehead Thursday against Oakland. But Gross' .203 batting average and his one-for-25 slump may have had something to do with Connally playing.
Connally and Larry Sheets homered consecutively in the sixth to tie the game at 2-2.
It wasn't the familiar group of Angels, either. Rod Carew and Doug DeCinces are on the disabled list, and Reggie Jackson has a strained left hamstring. So instead, the Orioles got to look at a third baseman named Jack Howell, who is in his first week of big league baseball, and designated hitter Jerry Narron.
Howell, 23, walked with one out in the second, then scored when Bobby Grich, one of the Angels' stars who did play, hit a bloop triple that caromed off the wall and around Lee Lacy in right field.
In the third, Juan Beniquez and Narron singled, then Ruppert Jones' single to left field became the first legitimate hit off Davis and scored a run.
The Orioles tied it in the fourth, when Sheets got an opposite-field home run off starter Jim Slaton, then Connally pulled one over the left field wall.
Fred Lynn, who played here the previous four years, got a loud reaction -- both applause and boos -- when he walked to lead off the sixth. He stole second and went to third on catcher Bob Boone's throwing error. That cost the Angels the lead because a pulled-in infield couldn't get to Connally's grounder between third and short.
Sakata then doubled over third base to put two more runners in scoring position. But California Manager Gene Mauch brought in Stu Cliburn, who struck out Rick Dempsey swinging and Lacy looking.
Davis had retired 10 of 11 Angels after giving up the run in the third, but Boone started the California seventh with a single up the middle. Dick Schofield's sacrifice bunt got Boone to second and, after a second out, Rob Wilfong singled to center field to tie the game.
But Sheets, who looks like anything but a rookie at the plate, slapped a single to center that started Baltimore's eighth. Mike Young, a pinch runner, moved to second on a wild pitch. But Altobelli wanted Connally to bunt anyway, and he did, sending Young to third.
If Altobelli played the percentages, as he does much of the time, Joe Nolan or Gross would have hit for Sakata, with right-hander Cliburn on the mound.
But Sakata stayed in and hit the first pitch to left-center. A good play by Beniquez kept it from rolling to the wall for three bases or maybe an inside-the-park homer. But the run scored easily, giving the Orioles their 4-3 lead and the victory.