It is a rare occasion when the Baltimore Orioles give Dennis Martinez a surplus of runs to work with and rarer still when a surplus of teammates do the giving. Tonight, Gary Roenicke drove in two runs with a single and a double, and Eddie Murray had run-scoring doubles in two three-run innings that helped the Orioles come back from a two-run deficit to rout the Oakland A's, 9-2, before 32,023 at Memorial Stadium.
So what happens? Martinez develops a little soreness in his pitching arm and has to leave the game.
Manager Joe Altobelli said he didn't think Martinez' injury was serious. He will be examined today.
"We didn't want to risk further injury. Dennis threw a forkball and may have hyperextended it (in the elbow area)," Altobelli said.
The victory moved the Orioles into second place in the American League East, four games behind Toronto, and enabled Baltimore to finish May with a winning record for the 10th straight year.
Martinez (4-3), who pitched well in his last three starts despite Baltimore's feeble contribution of seven runs, yielded runs in the second and third innings. He trailed, 2-0, before his teammates got to Oakland starter Bill Krueger.
Nate Snell replaced Martinez in the sixth and retired the visitors in order each inning to earn his second save of the season. Snell, the long relief specialist, did not allow a run in four appearances of four or more innings in May.
"People said Nate didn't throw hard enough (in the Puerto Rican League), but it's funny. He's throwing 87 to 88 miles per hour and an occasional 90," pitching coach Ray Miller said. "He has that old-time Satchel Paige-style delivery and everything he throws sinks. Fielders like playing behind him because he throws strikes and gets a lot of ground balls."
In retiring all 12 batters he faced, Snell needed only 33 pitches. He threw 25 strikes and eight of the A's grounded out.
"Basically I was working with the fast ball and sinker," Snell said. "I think the more I pitch, I can be pretty sharp with the sinker. I had it working pretty good tonight."
Krueger (4-5) started off pretty well. Although he allowed runners in each of the first three innings, he didn't run into real trouble until the fourth.
Cal Ripken, hitting .129 in the last eight games, walked to open the inning. Murray then lined a double in the alley in left center to bring home Ripken.
"It's the same old story. You walk the leadoff batter and things start to happen," A's Manager Jackie Moore said. "They get excited and they've got guys who can swing the bat. The first thing you know, they make something happen."
Things were happening. Murray scored the tying run when Roenicke's line shot off Krueger's ankle caromed into short right field. Krueger wasn't hurt, but had he known what was to come, he might have wanted to leave, anyway.
"The ball hit me right above the ankle," Krueger said. "It didn't affect my pitching, though. Maybe I'm getting away from what I do best. I'm just not spotting the ball."
Roenicke moved to third on a passed ball and scored the go-ahead run on Fred Lynn's grounder. Krueger yielded two more hits in the inning but struck out Lee Lacy for the third out.
Krueger faced three batters in the fifth and all of them reached base. Lenn Sakata started things with a homer run, his first of 1985, to left field. Ripken reached on an error and scored on another booming double to left center by Murray to make it 5-2.
"We had a couple of defensive lapses, too," Moore said. "A couple of plays weren't made. If we make them, we could have helped ourselves. We don't and suddenly it's 6-2."
Murray, who had three hits tonight, made it 6-2 when he scored on Fritz Connally's sacrifice fly.
Baltimore, which had 11 hits, six of them for extra bases, scored a run in the seventh and two more in the eighth to make Snell's work easy.