One thing the Baltimore Orioles are not: predictable.
Remember the 1-7 homestand, the one in which they hit .216? Apparently, the Orioles don't because, incredibly, tonight the team that couldn't hit couldn't stop hitting, pounding six Boston pitchers for 20 hits in a 14-3 victory over the Red Sox before 34,826 at Fenway Park.
As Mike Boddicker ran his record to 10-1 with a complete-game six-hitter, the Orioles got three hits and five RBI from third baseman Tom O'Malley, but everyone who played got at least one hit.
O'Malley was on base four times in his debut as the Orioles' leadoff man, but Rick Dempsey, Juan Bonilla and Mike Young also had three hits apiece. Larry Sheets and Eddie Murray? They had only one hit each but also walked three times apiece.
The victory was important for the Orioles because it started this three-game series on a positive note. It also was only their third victory in 12 games, and what those games have in common is Boddicker -- he won all of them.
"I look at the other starting pitchers and say, 'I don't know why they get me 14 runs,' " Boddicker said. "They've pitched well enough to win, too. I've had runs. They haven't."
He's being modest, and then some. The complete game was the Orioles' first in 24 games, and he had the last one, too. The staff only has six this season, and he has three of them.
Tonight was the sixth time this season he has stopped a losing streak, this one four games long. He was allowed to sail because the Orioles scored in the first, third, fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings, leading 4-1 after three innings and 6-3 after six, then getting eight in the last three innings.
"For 11 days, nothing fell in for us," Orioles Manager Earl Weaver said. "We hit line drives, but they were right at people. What a funny game. One hit falls in here or there, and everything opens up. At home, we couldn't get anything to fall in."
This was easily the worst game of the season for the American League's best pitching staff. The Red Sox issued a season-high nine walks and hit a batter.
Coupled with the New York Yankees' 10-8 victory in Toronto, the Red Sox' lead in the AL East was reduced to six games.
"Well," said Red Sox Manager John McNamara, "you hate to see that kind of game, but when you give up 20 hits, nine walks, two errors and hit a batter, they're probably going to score some runs. We'll just come back in 14 hours and 20 minutes and try to do it to them."
Weaver scrambled his lineup, using O'Malley as a leadoff hitter for the first time, Juan Beniquez in center field, Jim Dwyer in right (and No. 3 in the batting order), Bonilla at second and Dempsey behind the plate.
"I might have the same lineup in there Saturday ," Weaver said. "I think I'll save this one."
That lineup got the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the first inning, the first time in 12 games they had scored first. O'Malley opened with a double to right, and Beniquez singled to center. O'Malley went to third on the single and scored on Dwyer's sacrifice fly to center.
Brown walked Murray, and Ripken hit a hard grounder toward third baseman Ed Romero, who threw wildly toward second to load the bases.
Sheets grounded to second to score Beniquez and Young flied to right to end the inning.
The Red Sox closed it to 2-1 in the bottom of the first when Bill Buckner hit his eighth homer of the season.
Red Sox starter Mike Brown (4-4) lasted only one hitter into the second inning because Bonilla singled off his right arm. The Red Sox followed with a succession of relievers, and the Orioles got two runs off Tim Lollar, two off Mike Trujillo, three off Rob Woodward and four off Bob Stanley.
Lollar gave them help in the third when he walked the bases loaded before Young lined a two-run single to left. In the fifth, Trujillo gave Sheets a leadoff walk, and Young followed with a single before O'Malley singled in two more runs.
That made it 6-2 because Tony Armas double had given the Red Sox a run in the fourth. The Red Sox made it 6-3 in the sixth when Jim Rice singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.
Dwight Evans drove in Rice with a triple off the wall, and it was in this inning that Boddicker began to have obvious trouble with his right middle finger, the one he tore a ligament in on April 19. Since he returned from the disabled list, he has had occasional stretches of numbness and pain.
"It wouldn't go away tonight," Boddicker said. "They have a lot of right-handed hitters, so I like to throw them sliders, and that's the pitch I threw when I hurt it. I was getting heat on it between innings, but it was bothering me some. I had a real good breaking ball before that tonight."
The Orioles got the run back in the top of the seventh for a 7-3 lead. Dempsey doubled with one out, and Trujillo walked O'Malley. McNamara brought in Woodward, and Beniquez singled to right to load the bases.
Dempsey scored when shortstop Rey Quinones bobbled Lee Lacy's grounder, but Murray hit into a double play to end the seventh with the Orioles leading by 7-3.
The Orioles scored three more in the eighth, loading the bases when Young walked with two outs, Bonilla singled and Dempsey was hit by a pitch. O'Malley then doubled into left for three more RBI and a 10-3 lead.
Stanley came in to start the ninth, but didn't finish it. He got the first out, but allowed six straight hits, and was pulled in favor of Joe Sambito, the Red Sox' sixth pitcher of the night.
The Orioles placed center fielder Fred Lynn on the 15-day disabled list tonight and recalled infielder Kelly Paris from Rochester. The move is retroactive to June 11, which means Lynn can play next Friday. He is suffering from a sore ankle and has missed 11 games in a row. . . .
Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs isn't expected to play this series. His mother was killed in an auto accident in Tampa, Fla. . . . The Orioles' 1-7 homestand was their worst of six games or more in 32 years. In 1954, they went 0-7 against the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians.
Twins 9, Indians 8: In Minneapolis, Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky, Tim Laudner, Randy Bush and Ron Washington each homered to give the Twins 105 home runs this season, most in the major leagues.
Frank Viola (7-5) scattered seven hits over 7 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked five in his American League-leading 16th start of the season. Keith Atherton pitched the ninth for his second save.
Hrbek went three for five, getting a bases-empty homer and two-run double. He is 29 for 53 in his last 13 games for a .547 average.
Dickie Noles (0-1) took the loss in two-thirds innings of relief. It was the first time a Cleveland reliever lost a game since May 24.
Washington, a last-minute starter, smacked the first pitch from Bryan Oelkers in the fifth inning. It was only his second homer of the season in his 31st at-bat and topped his 1985 home run total of one.