In the middle of even classic seasons, there are glitches, and Mike Boddicker had his first serious one tonight.
This glitch lasted 2 2/3 innings, and when it was over, the Detroit Tigers had collected three home runs and six runs on their way to an 11-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles before 21,944 at Tiger Stadium.
Boddicker (10-2) has been the Orioles' one constant this season, and Orioles Manager Earl Weaver rearranged his rotation to get him tonight's start, a move that would allow Boddicker to pitch against the Boston Red Sox this weekend in Baltimore.
Why? Boddicker had won six starts in a row and 10 of his last 11. He had gone fewer than seven innings only once -- April 19 when he tore a ligament in his middle finger.
In all, the Tigers drove out four homers among 13 hits. Kirk Gibson hit his sixth and seventh homers, and batted in five runs.
Both Gibson's homers were off Boddicker, in the first inning and in the third, and when Darrell Evans also homered in the third, Boddicker was given the rest of the night off. Johnny Grubb hit a bases-empty shot off Rich Bordi in the fourth.
The Tigers scored three runs in the first inning, three in the second, four in the fourth.
Meanwhile, the Orioles had seven hits and nine strikeouts against Jack Morris (7-4), who pitched a complete game and beat Baltimore for the second time in a week.
Weaver played the game under protest after an umpire's apparent mistake in the first inning helped the Tigers to a run. But because the call was subject to umpire's judgment, the Orioles appear to have no better chance with winning the protest than the game.
The loss was their 11th in 16 games.
Despite his brilliant start, Boddicker has been in early trouble in almost every game, and tonight was the seventh in 13 starts he has been scored on in the first inning.
Lou Whitaker led off with a double to right, and Alan Trammell put down a bunt. Boddicker fielded the sacrifice near the first base line, and hit Trammell in the back with the ball.
Boddicker was charged with an error, and Whitaker scored to make it 1-0. Gibson followed with a drive into the upper deck in right field for a 3-0 lead.
The Orioles argued that Trammell should have been called out because he was running inside the base line when Boddicker's throw hit him. Television replays supported Weaver.
The Orioles came right back to 3-2 in the second inning. Eddie Murray doubled to right, his first of three hits, and Cal Ripken hit a checked-swing grounder to Morris, who fielded it and threw it over first baseman Dave Bergman. The ball rolled down the right field line, allowing Murray to score and Ripken to go to third. Ripken scored on Mike Young's single to center.
The Orioles left runners on first and second in both the second and third innings, but those were their last chances because Morris had runs to work with after the third.
In the third, Whitaker led off with a single to center, and after Trammell flied to left, Gibson launched another home run into the upper deck in right. Boddicker got Lance Parrish on a grounder to third baseman Tom O'Malley, but Evans hit another towering homer for a 6-2 lead.
That was all for Boddicker, who had pitched less than seven innings only once in his first 12 starts -- and that when he incurred his finger injury.
Reliever Bordi was no better, retiring only one of the six batters he faced. The one he got was Chet Lemon on a grounder to O'Malley to end the third. In the fourth, he didn't get anyone out as the Tigers sent nine men to the plate and built the lead to 10-2.
Grubb led off with his first homer of the season. Bergman doubled to right, Tom Brookens singled to right and Whitaker scored Bergman with his third single.
Bordi walked Trammell to load the bases, and Weaver hustled in left-hander Brad Havens.
Gibson grounded into a fielder's choice, Brookens scoring for Gibson's fifth RBI. Parrish singled to left to score Whitaker.
Al Pardo got his third straight catching start for Baltimore tonight, despite getting off to a one-for-17 start (.059) and striking out in his last five at-bats. "I don't think Ripken hit much better when he came up," Weaver said. "It takes time, and you have to be patient with young players."
Not that anyone believes Pardo will turn out to be as good a hitter as Ripken, but their careers are at least having a similar beginning. Ripken hit .121 (12 for 99) in his first 41 major league games. Pardo's stats are eerily similar. In his first 40 major league games, he has a .120 batting average (11 for 92).
After Pardo struck out in his first two at-bats tonight, Larry Sheets pinch-hit and made his second major league appearance as a catcher . . .
Second baseman Alan Wiggins entered tonight's game in a one-for-21 slump, his average having fallen from .282 to .258. Now it's one for 25. He has scored one run in his last 12 games . . . Morris stopped Murray's RBI streak at nine games. Morris, with 110 victories, leads the majors in wins in the 1980s.
Red Sox 5, Yankees 4: Tony Armas highlighted a five-run first inning with a two-run single in Boston that helped Al Nipper win his first outing since coming off the disabled list.
Nipper, who needed surgery May 18 after his right leg was spiked, yielded two New York runs in the first inning but went seven innings, allowing eight hits before Joe Sambito relieved. Sambito earned his sixth save as the Red Sox ended their three-game losing streak by salvaging the last game of the three-game series.
The Red Sox improved their lead in the American League East to five games over the second-place Yankees.
Mariners 6, Indians 1: The Mariners, getting younger than ever, started the day by releasing Gorman Thomas, 35, then in an afternoon game in Seattle got a three-hitter against Cleveland from Mark Langston, 25.
Thomas, at $650,000 the highest-paid player the team has ever had, was hitting .192 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI. He will get $361,000 for not playing.
Langston's 15 strikeouts were a team record, too. He is 8-5 and has won four straight.
Thomas is the third veteran released since Williams took over May 9.
"I'm going to go with the guys who are going well," Williams said yesterday. "Gorman is not one of them."
"I got one chance to start in the last two weeks and hit a three-run dinger," Thomas told reporters. "What does that say about my production?"
Blue Jays 5, Brewers 1: In Toronto, Jesse Barfield and Rance Mulliniks homered against Milwaukee while Jim Clancy (7-5) and Dennis Lamp held the Brewers to six hits.
Mulliniks made it 5-1 in the seventh with his eighth homer of the season after Tony Fernandez had singled with two out. It was his third hit of the game and the eighth straight game in which he has had more than one hit.
Angels 7, Rangers 1: Kirk McCaskill pitched a one-hitter in Arlington, Tex.
Texas' hit off McCaskill (8-4) was Steve Buechele's home run leading off the third inning. McCaskill walked two and struck out 10 in his fourth straight victory.
Wally Joyner drove in two of California's runs, with a single in a four-run fourth against Bobby Witt (4-6) helping the Angels wrest first place in the AL West from Texas. The victory was California's sixth straight over the Rangers this season.
White Sox 4, Twins 3: Bobby Bonilla scored from first base on Greg Walker's two-out double in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie in Chicago.
Minnesota Manager Ray Miller didn't see it that way, claiming Bonilla missed the plate. Miller was ejected.