Earl Weaver had all the right moves tonight. Or so seemed.
His Baltimore Orioles played the numbers right and followed all the rules of thumb, but still lost to the Detroit Tigers, 4-3, on Dave Bergman's 10th-inning homer.
Still, Weaver will stick by his decisions.
"I'd like to play the first one and then go back and play a second one the same way and see how it goes," he said.
For every pitching change and every pinch-hit situation, the Orioles made the move that baseball wisdom advises.
Weaver pulled starter Ken Dixon -- he was leading, 2-1, on a three-hitter after seven innings -- and replaced him with Nate Snell, who had given up only five earned runs in 39 2/3 innings.
Dixon, a rookie making his first start since going to the bullpen in mid-June, pitched well tonight, and even had a no-hitter going until Darrell Evans singled to lead off the fifth. But he had thrown 103 pitches and hadn't gone nine innings since April, or even five since Weaver's return. So the move was made.
"I was kind of surprised," Dixon said. "But Earl is the man who goes by the statistics. I think he wanted to bring in some fresh relievers and finish them off. And you certainly can't argue with that. Nate has been burying people."
"There's no margin for error," Weaver said. "You send Dixon back out there and someone belts one, and it's the same thing. But who knows if he had more? We're going home not knowing."
When Snell got in trouble with Lou Whitaker on deck, Weaver made another move.
Lefty in the on-deck circle? Go for your left-handed reliever. Whitaker's two for 18 against Tippy Martinez? All the better: Martinez takes the mound.
The numbers, the statistics, the rules all failed the Orioles, though. Whitaker is now three for 19 against Martinez after hitting a 3-1 pitch for his 13th homer of the year.
"So much for the numbers, right?" Weaver said.
The Orioles came back to tie it on another numerical fluke. Eddie Murray, hitless the three previous games and in the midst of a five-for-31 ordeal, boomed an eighth-inning homer that came within six rows of leaving the park.
Neither team scored in the ninth, then Bergman led off the 10th with the third 10th-inning game winner of his two-year AL career.
The Orioles got off to a quick start, with Lee Lacy scoring from second on Cal Ripken's single up the middle in the first inning. Lacy had singled and advanced on Petry's wild pitch.
Baltimore made it 2-0 in the secnd when Jim Dwyer singled to drive in Wayne Gross, who had singled to right and advanced on Rich Dauer's single.
After the Tigers' first hit, Evans' single in the fifth, John Grubb doubled down the third base line to make it 2-1. That was the first the Tigers had scored for Petry in 26 innings.
Snell began the eighth by giving up a single to Bergman on a 2-2 pitch. Lacy made a running catch of Chet Lemon's fly in shallow right field, then pinch hitter Barbaro Garbey grounded into a fielder's choice. Weaver brought on Martinez to pitch to Whitaker, who picked on a 3-1 pitch.
Mike Flanagan, who tore his left Achilles' tendon while playing in a charity basketball game in January, will pitch at Hagerstown Tuesday as part of his rehabilitation.
Weaver said Flanagan will pitch five innings, or approximately 80 pitches. "He can quit early," Weaver said, "but if he wants to he can take 10 extra."
Flanagan also is scheduled to pitch July 14 at Prince William, where he will go seven to eight innings, or 100 pitches. After that, Weaver said, he should be ready to start for the Orioles.
Second baseman Alan Wiggins will join the team Friday in Kansas City.