A night earlier, Earl Weaver publicly prayed his team had bottomed out, and if tonight wasn't it, the bottom is going to be ugly.
The Baltimore Orioles bounced back from Weaver's inspirational message to get three errors from second baseman Alan Wiggins, to get just five singles off Detroit rookie Eric King and to lose a 6-1 decision to the Tigers.
By the eighth inning, when Wiggins made his second and third errors of the night, what was left of the 20,713 at Memorial Stadium took their anger out on him.
When the eighth inning ended, the fans got in another round of boos when Wiggins' picture was flashed on the scoreboard in a pre-programmed "Name This Player" contest. When the game ended, Wiggins struck back.
"What I don't understand is that I come here and bust my tail , and when I make an error, I get booed," he said. "I've put up with this for a year, and all I've done is hit .285 and produce. This game ain't worth all this stuff . I've got family in the stands.
"I didn't ask to come to the great Baltimore Orioles. They wanted me. All I've done is take 60 drug tests, stay clean and produce.
"I'm playing as hard as I can, but I'm going to make mistakes. When I do, I hear they're not happy with me, they want to get rid of me, this and that. . . . If they don't want me in Baltimore, they should do something about it."
Weaver said he understood Wiggins' frustration at having his picture flashed on the scoreboard after he made the errors but said he, like the fans, had had enough of Wiggins' mistakes.
"I always said I gave former pitcher Mike Cuellar more chances than I gave my first wife," Weaver said. "I've given Wiggins more chances than I gave Cuellar. I don't know how many chances I have left in me."
The frustrations boiled over as the Orioles lost their eighth in 10 games, including three straight to the Tigers, to fall 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
If Wiggins had a bad night, the Orioles can still trace this loss to their silent bats. Since scoring 18 runs at Yankee Stadium 10 days ago, they've totaled 29 in 10 games and hit a chilling .214.
Tonight, the bats wasted another decent performance by a starting pitcher as Scott McGregor (5-7) scattered six hits and allowed three earned runs in 7 1/3 innings before giving way to reliever Nate Snell, who allowed two more.
Larry Herndon touched McGregor for a two-run homer in the fifth inning, but that one was made more costly by the first of Wiggins' three errors, which preceded it.
Wiggins' second and third errors came in the eighth inning when the Tigers scored two more runs and pushed their lead to 5-1. Both errors came on wild throws. After making two errors in his first 47 games this season, Wiggins has made four in the last six games.
Errors are important because with the Orioles' bats not producing, their margin of error is slim.
King, 22, struck out 10 in pitching the first complete game of his major league career and the Tigers' first since May 25 (which, ironically, was the last time the Orioles had one).
The Orioles called up catcher Al Pardo to help produce some runs, but Pardo's 1986 debut was less than impressive as he went hitless in three at-bats and had a passed ball.
After the game, Weaver's mood ranged from philosophical to comical to angry -- with a touch of sarcasm.
"We didn't play well tonight," he understated. "Why don't they just drop a bomb and kill us so we don't have to go through another game like this?"
McGregor held the Tigers scoreless for four innings. Then, with one out in the fifth, Wiggins made a wild throw on Tom Brookens' grounder, and Herndon homered over the center field wall for a 2-0 lead.
The Orioles broke up King's shutout and closed to 2-1 in the sixth, an inning that began with Wiggins' walking and stealing second. Lee Lacy popped out, and Cal Ripken also walked. Eddie Murray forced Ripken at second but beat Lou Whitaker's throw to first, which allowed Wiggins to score. Murray went to third when Larry Sheets lined a single to right, but Mike Young took a third strike to end the inning.
That was it for the Orioles, who had only two more base runners, John Shelby on a seventh-inning single and Mike Young, who reached on King's error in the ninth.
"They were chasing a few high fastballs," said King, whose fastball was clocked at 93 mph. "I'm still going out there and getting after 'em."
The Tigers made it 3-1 in the seventh after Brookens led off with a single and Larry Herndon walked. McGregor struck out Dave Engle and got Dave Collins on a flyout to right. But Lou Whitaker singled to right to score Brookens.
In the eighth, the Tigers scored twice. With one out, Kirk Gibson beat out an infield single to Wigggins, who tried to make a play anyway and threw the ball away, allowing Gibson to take second. Weaver brought in Snell, who allowed Lance Parrish a single to left to make it 4-1. Chet Lemon singled to right, and Pardo's passed ball allowed the runners to move up. Brookens then hit a hard shot at Wiggins, who threw wildly to the plate as Parrish scored.
Detroit scored again in the ninth on Alan Trammell's sacrifice fly.
After tonight's game, the Orioles put pitcher Mike Flanagan back on the active roster and sent infielder Rex Hudler back to Rochester. Flanagan will start Thursday against the Tigers.