Storm Davis and Nate Snell combined on a seven-hitter and Lee Lacy drove in two runs as the Baltimore Orioles completed the warm-up portion of their schedule with a 7-1 victory tonight over the Seattle Mariners.
The game finished a stretch of 32 straight meetings with the American League West, which as a competitive entity won't be confused with the American League East.
The Orioles won 21 of those 32 and moved to 10 games over .500 (30-20) with the season not quite one-third over. Friday morning, they're scheduled to take a train ride to New York and play the first of 26 straight against the AL East.
In this stretch, they'll play the first-place Boston Red Sox six times and the second-place New York Yankees seven times. The Orioles are in third place, five games behind Boston. The race won't be won in June, but it should warm up a bit.
"It'll be nice to go to Yankee Stadium on a winning note," Davis said. "Really, it's just like any three- or four-game series in June, but it's with the Yankees and would be nice to win."
That is essentially what Earl Weaver said in the manager's office: It could be a nice, exciting weekend in New York, but no pennant will be won or lost.
"What we're gonna do is have a 7 a.m. wake-up call, get on a train at 9 and see Ron Guidry at 7:30 p.m. ," Weaver said. "That's where it starts. I'm not going to say we have to do this or that. I will say that if we'd just lost 21 and won 11, instead of vice versa, it would matter. We wouldn't be in the race."
In beating the Mariners for the fifth time in seven games this year, the Orioles had 11 hits and bunched five of them in a five-run fifth inning that knocked out starter Mark Langston (4-5).
With 20,130 watching at Memorial Stadium, Lacy drove in runs with a double and a single, and shortstop Cal Ripken and second baseman Juan Bonilla had two hits apiece. The Orioles also scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball, then got an eighth-inning homer from Mike Young for their final run.
That was plenty for Davis (5-4), who permitted seven hits in eight innings and lost his shutout in the seventh when designated hitter Ken Phelps hit a home run. Weaver went for Snell to pitch the ninth, partly because Snell hadn't worked in six days and partly because Davis is bothered by a sore thigh.
Not that the Mariners noticed. Davis made it through eight innings with only 92 pitches and a consistently 92-mph fastball. Davis has only one complete game, but has allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his 11 starts.
"They made it easy for me," he said, motioning around the Orioles' clubhouse. "There were a couple of great defensive plays, and when you see the six runs go up, you can throw strikes and make them hit your pitch."
Weaver gave a second straight start to new third baseman Tom O'Malley, and although O'Malley did make an error, he handled three other chances cleanly and provided an RBI double in the five-run rally.
Weaver gave second baseman Alan Wiggins a night off and Bonilla, who had gotten only two at-bats in two weeks and had not started a game since May 26, responded with two singles and three outstanding defensive plays.
The Orioles broke the game open in a hurry to run their home record to 17-8.
In the fourth, John Shelby led off with a single and scored on Lacy's double over left fielder Danny Tartabull's head. Ripken singled to right, sending Lacy to third, but it stayed 1-0 as Eddie Murray and Young popped out and Juan Beniquez struck out.
But in the fifth, Langston gave Rick Dempsey a leadoff walk and Bonilla beat out an infield single. O'Malley doubled to right to score Dempsey and Langston threw a wild pitch that let in Bonilla. Shelby popped out, but Lacy rolled a single through a drawn-in infield to score O'Malley. Ripken grounded a single to right, sending Lacy to third, and Murray dumped a single into center to score Lacy. Seattle Manager Dick Williams brought in reliever Mark Huismann, and Weaver sent Jim Dwyer up to hit for Beniquez. Dwyer flied out to right, but before he had a chance, catcher Steve Yeager's passed ball allowed Ripken to score.
"They didn't hit the ball hard off me," Langston said. "They hit 'em where they ain't."
The Orioles have decided not to ask third baseman Floyd Rayford (.123) to accept a temporary demotion to Class AAA Rochester, after all. After looking at videotape of him as a .306 hitter last season, the Orioles believe they've found several things he is doing differently. "The staff wants to work with him the next few days," General Manager Hank Peters said . . .
Pitcher Dennis Martinez probably will be released Tuesday. Martinez will make his final start on a 20-day rehabilitation assignment at Rochester Saturday, and his 20 days are up Monday. Then, the Orioles must trade him, release him or put him back on their 24-man roster. The Orioles don't want him back, team sources said.