Ken Dixon pitched the first shutout of his major league career tonight as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-0, to climb 11 games over .500 for the first time this season. In raising his record to 8-3, Dixon allowed four hits and struck out four in his third complete game of the season. He retired 19 straight batters.
"Luckily they kept hitting it at people," he said. "We made a lot of good plays in the field. I'm totally elated."
He got into trouble in the second. With one out, Earnest Riles singled to center. Jim Gantner hit a fast ball into the right field corner for a double, Riles stopping at third. Orioles Manager Earl Weaver came out to settle Dixon.
"I told him he wasn't getting his breaking ball over and his motion on his change-up wasn't good early," Weaver said.
Dixon got Charlie Moore to foul out to catcher Rick Dempsey on a 2-0 pitch. Mike Felder grounded out to Cal Ripken at short to end the inning.
Brewers rookie Ted Higuera (14-7) was matching Dixon pitch for pitch through the first three innings. Even after Ripken doubled and Mike Young singled in the Orioles fourth, it looked as if Higuera would escape. But with two out, Paul Molitor let Gary Roenicke's bouncer go into left field as Ripken scored the first run.
Dixon struck out two in the fifth, and, after Molitor flied out to Lee Lacy at the wall in left, Dixon struck out Billy Joe Robidoux and got Cecil Cooper to pop to Ripken.
Ted Simmons hit one of Dixon's fast balls leading off the fifth, but Lacy caught up to it in the right field corner. Dixon then struck out Ben Oglivie and induced Riles to ground to Rich Dauer at second.
With the help of lackadaisical effort at first base by Eddie Murray -- the $2.6-million man made two errors in the game -- Milwaukee had a chance to score in the eighth.
With two out, Murray tried to field Felder's grounder and scoop to Dixon in one motion, but failed. Molitor followed with a sharp single to left, and Dixon walked Robidoux on four pitches, bringing up Cecil Cooper (.310, 15 homers, 94 RBI before tonight). Cooper hit a 1-0 fast ball up the middle. Had it gone through, it would have scored two runs. But Dixon knocked it down, then retrieved it in time to get Cooper at first.
"I got a little lucky," Dixon said. "It hit my glove."
Baltimore finally got to Higuera in the eighth. After John Shelby and Lee Lacy struck out, Ripken, Murray and Mike Young singled for one run. Higuera'a balk allowed Murray to score, then Rayford singled to score Young. Rollie Fingers relieved and threw a two-run homer to Gary Roenicke to make it 6-0.
Roenicke's home run was the 89th by the Orioles this year at Memorial Stadium, a record. They hit 88 here in 1970.
Orioles second baseman Alan Wiggins missed the game because of tonsillitis. He is expected to be back for Thursday's game.