Having used five pitchers the previous night, Baltimore Manager Joe Altobelli knew what his Orioles needed most besides a victory: a complete game from Storm Davis.
Two weeks ago, Davis wouldn't have been the most likely candidate to come up with a desperately needed complete-game victory. But tonight he went nine innings for the second straight time, and led Baltimore over Seattle, 8-2, before 18,243 in Memorial Stadium.
The Orioles broke through with six runs in the fifth inning to end a 1-1 tie. Eddie Murray had a two-run double and four other Orioles drove in runs in the bizarre inning.
The Mariners filled the bases with nobody out in the ninth off Davis, who threw 120 pitches, but he retired the side with only a sacrifice fly as damage.
Davis pitched a seven-hitter, although he abandoned early one of his favorite pitches, the slider.
"Joe said we needed that," Davis (3-1) said. "Any time you can give the bullpen a day off, it's very good.
"I didn't really have a slider tonight. The first four or five sliders I threw in the bullpen hung up there. I knew I had to get something else over, at least get them thinking about another pitch.
"So I went to the fork ball for the first time this season. Thank God, I kept that in the arsenal. I threw about 10 fork balls. Rafe (catcher Floyd Rayford) likes to call that pitch, and I have confidence throwing it to him."
Rayford had strong influence behind the plate and in the batter's box. He started because Rick Dempsey had caught all 11 innings of Wednesday's 5-4 loss.
Rayford made the best of his rare opportunity. He had three singles in four at bats.
"We needed a big inning, we needed a complete game and we needed a catcher who could spell Dempsey," Altobelli said. "He not only did it but he got three hits, too."
Rayford singled with two out in the third, and his aggressive base running helped push across a run. Rayford took third on Lee Lacy's single, and went on home when Phil Bradley's throw from right field skipped past third baseman Jim Presley for an error.
Seattle made it 1-all in the fourth with successive doubles by Bradley and Ivan Calderon.
The next bit of excitement came in the fifth. The Mariners had gone to Salome Barojas (0-5) in the second inning when starter Mike Moore suffered a groin pull throwing a pitch and had to leave.
"We had our horse out there, the guy who's been doing it for us," Manager Chuck Cottier said. "He felt like he could straighten it out when we first went out (to the mound), but we didn't want to take any chances."
Fritz Connally started the fifth with a walk, and it took a sacrifice bunt by Rich Dauer and singles by Rayford, Lacy and Jim Dwyer before Connally could score.
Rayford's single was hit so hard and so close to center fielder Dave Henderson, Connally couldn't even advance from second to third. Connally was in the process of tagging up at third when Dwyer's ball dropped in, sending Connally home at last, to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead.
"If ever there was a time you'd see three men on one base, that would have been the inning," Altobelli said. "That was a long-distance run."
Roy Thomas came in for Barojas and walked Cal Ripken to force in a run. Ed Vande Berg, brought in to make Murray hit right-handed (.239, no homers and only two RBI this season coming in), got behind in the count, two balls and no strikes, and Murray drove a double down the left field line, scoring two runs that made it 5-1.
"Vandy got behind on Murray," Cottier said. "I don't care whether you're left-handed, right-handed, underhanded, a knuckleballer or what, you can't get behind in the count on a guy like Murray. He'll nail you."
"I still don't want to see another left-hander this year," Murray said in jest.
A single by Fred Lynn and sacrifice fly by Larry Sheets made it 7-1.
The Orioles, in a secret ballot, voted 21-4 before the game to give the Major League Players Association authorization to strike if the labor negotiations break down. No strike date has been set yet, but Donald Fehr, acting executive director of the union, and special assistant Mark Belanger met with the Orioles and Mariners before the game. Belanger said the other seven major league teams polled to date voted unanimously to give the association strike authority.