The Baltimore Orioles continue to play one game and sleepwalk through another in an April that has become a tightrope dance with .500.
Tonight it was the Orioles' turn to sleepwalk, and they did, getting only six hits off Ken Schrom and Scott Bailes, playing terribly on defense and losing to the Cleveland Indians, 5-1, before 3,788 at Cleveland Stadium.
"I can only go so far with the errors and the ball going over the fence," Orioles Manager Earl Weaver said, biting his words off one at a time. "We've got to start making those plays."
With the temperature up to a spring-like 41, the Orioles dropped to 8-7 by getting 3 2/3 shaky innings from Scott McGregor (four runs, three homers) and only a couple of chances off two Cleveland pitchers who haven't exactly stirred the memory of Bob Feller and Herb Score.
Meanwhile, the Orioles got a dropped fly ball from left fielder John Shelby and a booted grounder from second baseman Alan Wiggins for their 18th and 19th errors. The 19 errors in 15 games put them on a 205-error pace, which would demolish the club record of 167 in 1955.
"It's a joke," Weaver said. "That's the biggest joke there is. It's hard to comprehend how John Shelby can drop a ball. It shouldn't happen. You can't practice throwing the ball and catching it. You just have to count on 'em to do it when the time comes."
Then there was right fielder Lee Lacy, who chased Tony Bernazard's fly ball into the alley in the seventh inning, caught up with it and moved his glove just in time to let it fall in for a triple.
Catcher Andy Allanson followed with a sacrifice fly to center, the only mark on Dennis Martinez's 3 1/3 innings of one-hit relief.
Meanwhile, the Orioles had only two runners advance as far as second and hit into four double plays as Schrom (3-1) beat them for the second time this season, going six innings and allowing three hits and a run.
Schrom didn't overpower them, but he did trick them, throwing a tantalizing slow curveball here, a fastball on the fists there.
"The big thing is that it's nice to have a lead," he said. "You don't have to scratch and claw back, and if you get behind a team like this, you can get buried."
After tonight's six-hitter, the Indians have an American League-leading 3.06 ERA. "I said if we got some pitching we'd win a lot of games," Indians Manager Pat Corrales said. "Schrom has given me more than I expected. He has been in every game."
Bailes, a rookie left-hander, pitched the final three innings and allowed three hits to get his second save.
McGregor allowed 34 home runs last season but had given up only one in his first two starts. Tonight, though, he was back in last season's rut, allowing three booming ones.
Third baseman Brook Jacoby's second of the season gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the second inning, and shortstop Julio Franco's second made it 2-0 in the third.
The Indians made it 4-0 in the fourth when Jacoby singled, was forced at second by Pat Tabler and scored on Carmen Castillo's first homer of the season, a towering shot to left.
Two batters later, Allanson's single to left sent McGregor to the showers with his shortest appearance in three starts. In three starts, McGregor has pitched only 16 innings and allowed 20 hits, 11 earned runs and four homers. His ERA is up to 6.19.
"I was throwing the ball great," McGregor said. "Their first two homers were to the opposite field, and if they hit 'em there, there's nothing you can do about it. The bad pitch I made was to Castillo. I made some good pitches with my changeup, but this one was right down the middle. I'll get it all together here sooner or later."
What Schrom didn't do to the Orioles, they did to themselves, hitting into double plays in the second, third, seventh and ninth innings.
The Orioles did score in the sixth to make it 4-1. Schrom's walk to Rayford started the inning and, after Rick Dempsey flied to right, Wiggins forced Rayford at second.
Lacy followed by doubling into the alley in right-center to score Wiggins. Wiggins was the first Oriole to get past first, and Lacy was the second -- and last.
"Schrom was throwing a lot of slow curveballs for strikes," Weaver said. "He must have hung five or six of them, but they were slow enough that we were a little ahead. The other guys are doing what we're supposed to be doing, getting people out and hitting the ball out of the park."
Weaver said the Orioles should know Thursday if reliever Tippy Martinez must go on the disabled list until an inner-ear problem that has caused him dizziness is corrected. Martinez left the team Tuesday to undergo tests in Baltimore. If he's disabled, the club probably will recall Nate Snell from Rochester. . . . The Orioles sent minor league infielder Jeff Hubbard to the Minnesota Twins, completing a deal that brought them minor league outfielder Mike Hart last month.
*Rangers 9, Blue Jays 8: Larry Parrish and George Wright each homered and had four hits and the two combined to drive in seven runs yesterday in Toronto, leading the Texas Rangers to a 9-8 victory over the struggling Blue Jays.
Parrish drove in five runs and scored twice. Wright had two RBI and scored three times.
Toronto starter Dave Stieb, who led the league in ERA last season at 2.48, yielded nine hits and five earned runs in five innings, inflating his ERA to 7.84. He remained 0-3.
*Tigers 3, Red Sox 1: Dave Collins and Darnell Coles keyed a decisive two-run fifth with RBI singles and Frank Tanana overcame wildness to limit Boston to three hits in eight innings, leading visiting Detroit to victory.
Tanana (2-1) walked six and struck out one in 40-degree weather, but he was tough in the clutch as the Tigers took the rubber game of a three-game series. Willie Hernandez pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
*Mariners 4, Twins 3: Dave Henderson hit a two-run home run off rookie reliever Mark Portugal in the 10th inning in Seattle as the Mariners ended a six-game losing streak.
Portugal (0-1) walked leadoff batter Danny Tartabull on four pitches. Jim Presley sacrificed and Henderson drove an 0-2 pitch to right field for his second homer of the season.
*White Sox 2, Brewers 1: In Milwaukee, pinch hitter Reid Nichols hit a double down the right field line in the ninth inning to score Bobby Bonilla with the winning run as visiting Chicago handed Milwaukee its third straight loss.
Tom Seaver (2-2) pitched six-hit ball over 8 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking three. Bob James got the final out for his second save.
*Yankees 2, Royals 1: Ken Griffey had three hits in support of Dennis Rasmussen's three-hit pitching over seven innings in Kansas City, where New York took its first three-game sweep in Royals Stadium since 1974.
Dennis Leonard (2-1), who had won twice in his comeback from a 1983 knee injury, took the loss.
George Brett doubled in the first inning to give him 1,978 for his career, moving him past Amos Otis as the Royals' all-time hit leader.
*Angels 5, A's 0: Right-hander Mike Witt pitched a five-hitter and an error by Oakland left fielder Jose Canseco led to three unearned runs in the first inning as California won at home.
Witt (2-1) pitched his first complete game since Aug. 22 and his first shutout since last April 25. Brian Downing homered for the Angels in the sixth, his fifth of the season