Lee Lacy's sacrifice fly with one out in the 10th inning gave the Orioles a hard-fought, 4-3 victory over Toronto tonight in a game in which Blue Jays pitchers walked 11 men, including two in the 10th.
Floyd Rayford started the 10th-inning rally with a one-out single, giving him four consecutive multi-hit games. After Gary Lavelle (4-3) walked Al Pardo and Alan Wiggins, Dennis Lamp -- Toronto's fifth pitcher of the game -- came on and ran up a full count on Lacy before giving up a fly ball to right that scored John Shelby, running for Pardo..
The Orioles went into their half of the ninth trailing, 3-2, because of a throwing error by shortstop Cal Ripken. But Baltimore, with the aid of three bases on balls, tied it on Eddie Murray's sacrifice fly.
The victory meant a two-game swing in the American League East standings for Baltimore, which, instead of dropping almost completely out of sight, pulled within 10 1/2 games of first-place Toronto.
With only its second loss in 12 extra-inning games this year, Toronto had a club-record nine-game winning streak broken.
The number of walks given up by Toronto pitchers was rendered even more unusual by the number of questionable strikes called by the umpires (against both teams).
"To lose another one-run game, which it looked like at one point, could have been devastating," Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey said. "It's important that we hang in there and build our own confidence, knowing we can beat the team that's leading our division."
Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver hardly could believe it when he heard Toronto pitchers had walked so many of his players.
"I knew we got a few, but I had no conception of that many," he said. "Well, that's what you pray for. I'm gonna go home and ask, 'Can you make them do that again?' "
Lacy said, "That's really out of character for them. I think they've got the best pitching in the league this season."
Toronto Manager Bobby Cox wasn't surprised by the outcome. "We gave it to 'em. That's all you can say about it," he said. "We gave it to 'em. You can't walk people and expect to win. We've won a lot of games like this one, but we've screwed up our share, too."
Don Aase (6-5) gave up a fluke run in the ninth but stayed on to earn the victory in relief of Mike Flanagan, who pitched splendidly for the second time in three outings this season. Flanagan allowed four hits in eight innings.
If Toronto starter Dave Stieb was in the dugout at the end, he must have been kicking something. He had allowed only two runs, one of them tainted, in eight innings.
The Blue Jays even had given him a 3-2 lead in the ninth when Ripken's relay throw sailed past first baseman Murray. Instead of an inning-ending double play grounder by Tony Fernandez, Jesse Barfield (who had singled) scored the go-ahead run from third.
In the ninth, Cox called on Bill Caudill, the pitcher Toronto acquired in the offseason for such situations. Caudill walked pinch hitter Jim Dwyer and Wiggins -- both on full-count pitches -- to start the inning.
Jim Acker then came on in relief and struck out Lacy, who twice failed to put down a bunt that could have moved both runners into scoring position.
Ripken broke his bat on a single to right field, but Dwyer had to hold at third because Louis Thornton charged the ball hard and made a superb throw to the plate.
With the bases loaded, Toronto couldn't walk Murray, who already had been walked three times, once intentionally. He flied to left, scoring Dwyer with the tying run.
Toronto took a 2-0 lead on Flanagan in the first. Jeff Burroughs homered to center, bringing in Damaso Garcia.
The Blue Jays should have extended their lead in the second. Ripken and Dempsey made errors that allowed the first two hitters to reach base. But Flanagan was helped greatly by Fernandez' double-play grounder.
Baltimore came back with a run in the second, one almost identical to the lead run Toronto scored in the ninth.
With two runners on, Larry Sheets hit into an apparent double play that would have ended the inning. But Garcia dropped the ball while preparing to make the relay throw to first, allowing Murray to score.
The Orioles tied it in the third -- also on a fielder's choice -- when Ripken's grounder scored Dempsey, who had singled.
Weaver was ready with an answer when someone asked if the final two games of this series were "must games" for Baltimore.
"Not must games," Weaver said. "We do need them badly to climb back in the race. But if we don't get 'em, we'll keep playing hard and scratching and clawing just in case Toronto does go on a losing streak. And if they do, we'll be there."