Even though Don Aase's bat-breaking magic was not there Saturday night, the Baltimore Orioles still found a way to beat the Seattle Mariners.
They did it, 5-4, in the 10th inning, thanks to Cal Ripken's second game-winning homer in four days and 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief from Nate Snell (1-0).
"You know you're going good when your big gun Aase gives it up, and you still win," Orioles Manager Earl Weaver said. "He had to do it sooner or later. No one goes forever without giving up a run."
Aase, who leads the American League with 11 saves and hadn't allowed a run in 10 appearances, gave it up Saturday to Seattle's Gorman Thomas, who hit a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.
What that homer did, other than force the Orioles to go 10 innings to get their 12th victory in 14 games, was cost Mike Flanagan a victory he deserved.
Flanagan hasn't won since April 17, but he has gone through a stretch of terrible luck that has seen the Orioles shut out twice and score three or fewer runs two other times in his string of seven winless starts.
Flanagan pitched his best game of the season Saturday, facing the minimum of 12 batters the first four innings and not allowing a hit until Jim Presley grounded a one-out single to left in the fifth inning.
The Mariners scored two runs that inning to close the game to 4-2, and despite the fact that Flanagan sailed through the sixth and seventh innings, Weaver went for reliever Rich Bordi when Steve Yeager got a one-out single in the eighth.
"Yes, that's the best I've pitched overall," Flanagan said. "I had a good curveball and a good change. No, I didn't want to come out, but I wasn't mad. You've got no chance when he Weaver walks out and waves to the bullpen. He's got his mind made up. He's the manager. I'm the pitcher."
Weaver defended his quick trigger finger, saying, "I thought that was the way to go. I'd hate to see him pitch like that and lose the game on one pitch. I'll say this for him. He won't need a heckuva lot of luck if he keeps pitching like this. I know his luck will be better."
It had better be, because the Orioles' bullpen appears to be wearing down. Aase was being used for the fourth time in five days, and the fatigue appeared to show. The Orioles have had only four complete games this season and just one since April 29.
The game looked as if it would be a breeze when the Orioles sent nine men to the plate and got four runs and five hits off Seattle starter Billy Swift in the fourth inning. Mike Young drove in a run with a single, Lee Lacy had an RBI fielder's choice, and Eddie Murray drove in two more runs with a bases-loaded single. But in the end, the Orioles needed all those runs and one more.
Bordi managed to finish the eighth, but when he walked Phil Bradley to open the ninth, Weaver brought in Aase, who struck out Alvin Davis before allowing Thomas' game-tying homer.
"Really, I felt better than I have been feeling," Aase said. "I just got a pitch in the wrong spot to a strong guy. He's going to hit some."
When Presley followed with a broken-bat single, Weaver went for Snell, who got out of the inning and a mild jam in the 10th to get his first victory of the season.
The Orioles won it in the 10th when Ripken led off with his homer off Seattle reliever Mark Huismann (0-1).