It had all any fan or player could want in a baseball game. It had Mike Young, with a full count, two out in the ninth inning and the bases loaded, taking strike three on the inside corner. It had Fred Lynn making a truly mind-blowing, fence-crashing catch in the 10th to rob Phil Bradley of a home run.
And finally, in the 11th, Seattle's Darnell Coles lifted a sacrifice fly to center that enabled the Mariners to beat Baltimore, 5-4, and spoil the Orioles' return home to Memorial Stadium.
Don Aase (4-2) gave up singles in the 11th to Alvin Davis and Barry Bonnell, then walked Jim Presley on four pitches to load the bases with nobody out. Baltimore went to its fifth pitcher of the night, Sammy Stewart, and he allowed Coles' fly ball to left center that forced Lynn to make a running catch.
"There were no outs, and I wanted a fast ball," Coles said. "The first pitch he threw me was a fast ball, but it ran away and I would have just grounded to shortstop or the pitcher. The second was another fast ball, but I'd have hit that off the end of the bat. And the third was a slider that I thought was a good pitch to hit.
"That was my first game-winning RBI. I've gotta love that . . . I know they (the Orioles) are disappointed, but this was a really good game."
The Orioles were disappointed because they stranded 11 and squandered at least three decent scoring chances, including the memorable one in the ninth. Young was hitting in place of Larry Sheets, who was lifted in the eighth for a pinch runner after his third hit of the game.
The 3-2 pitch, with most of the 27,011 standing, appeared to catch the inside corner. "We really dodged a bullet out there," said Mariners Manager Chuck Cottier, who had brought in Karl Best to face Young. "This kind of game was fun . . . if your moves turned out right. I had only one move left."
It all left Baltimore Manager Joe Altobelli saying, "One hit here, one hit there . . . " He didn't need to finish the thought. The Orioles did have 12 hits, but only three after the fifth inning when they tied the game, 4-4, on Cal Ripken's ninth home run of the season.
It was no consolation for Ripken, who took a called strike three from Best (1-1) to end the game.
"They're all tough to lose in 11 innings," Altobelli said. "Whether you play 'em in Japan or the United States, they're tough to lose in extra innings. One-run games are tough to lose, 10-run games are tough to lose. They're all tough."
Probably lost in Baltimore's sorrow was Lynn's 10th-inning catch, a play that will make many highlight films. Lynn was fully extended, his gloved hand well above the wall in left center, when he caught the ball and slammed against the fence.
"That was awesome," Coles said. "If he doesn't get to it, the game is over. I couldn't believe he caught up to it. But you've seen him do it before. That's why the man's a Gold Glove."
The man who was responsible for even getting the Orioles into extra innings was Nate Snell, who rescued starter Ken Dixon by giving up three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Dixon threw only 14 pitches and left after one-third of one inning, trailing by 4-0. Two of those runs came on Davis' home run following a double by Al Cowens.
When asked what happened to Dixon, Altobelli said, "We didn't get to find out. He threw only one fast ball that reached 90 mph; the rest were 87 or less. He usually throws 90, 91 mph. But not tonight.
"But that guy Snell, there he is again. Other than the 11th, the bullpen threw goose eggs at them."
Having used Snell, Tippy Martinez, Stewart and Aase, Altobelli said he may use Dixon -- who has been a starter this rookie season -- out of the bullpen on Friday against Oakland.
The Orioles came back with two runs in the third and single runs in the fourth and fifth, all but the last off Jim Beattie. Each of the innings could have produced more runs.
Baltimore already had two runs in with two men on and nobody out in the third, and Murray, Lynn and Sheets due up. Murray's fly ball advanced a runner to third. But Ripken -- trying to avoid the possibility of a double play -- was caught stealing at second and Lynn struck out.
Three of the first four batters reached base in the fourth, but only one scored. And after Ripken's homer in the fifth, Baltimore got two more men on base before Wayne Gross' double-play grounder.
It wasn't exactly a memorable evening for Gross, who struck out in his first two at-bats, grounded into the double play and popped up trying to bunt in the eighth after Sheets had led off with a single.