A road trip began with a drastic change in scenery tonight for the Baltimore Orioles, who started a game in the 102-degree heat of a Texas afternoon.
When they finished a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers before 13,468 at Arlington Stadium, the evening air had cooled to a brisk 94 degrees, yet almost nothing else changed for the Orioles.
They got Don Aase's club-record 27th save, and run-scoring hits from four players, to win for the 14th time in 20 games. They remained 4 1/2 games behind Boston in the American League East and moved within a half-game of the second-place Yankees. Further, they are 9-3 since the all-star break and are 11 games above .500 for the first time since June 12.
Once more, they fit a lot of little pieces together for the victory. Starter Storm Davis (7-8) won for the second time since June 5 and improved his career record over Texas to 9-0 by allowing five hits and three runs in seven innings.
He then gave the ball to Aase, whose two shutout innings erased Tim Stoddard's club-record of 26 saves in 1980.
The Orioles beat one of the league's best, Charlie Hough (9-6), who lost his fourth one-run game. He allowed four runs and nine hits in eight-plus innings and, to beat him, the Orioles had to come back from deficits of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2.
Juan Beniquez's fifth homer tied the game, 3-3, in the seventh, and the Orioles took a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a walk to Cal Ripken and singles by rookie Jim Traber and Larry Sheets.
Sheets' single scored the winning run, but Traber again got some of the spotlight, getting an RBI single in the fourth and singling in the eighth. In 10 games since being recalled from the minors, he has hit .361 with five homers and 14 RBI.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the third when Toby Harrah walked with one out, went to third on Oddibe McDowell's single and scored on Scott Fletcher's groundout. On the grounder, McDowell, who had stolen second, went to third. But catcher Rick Dempsey picked him off to end the inning.
The Orioles tied it in the fourth when Fred Lynn doubled to right and Traber singled.
The tie lasted about 10 minutes, with the Rangers coming back for a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. Rookie Pete Incaviglia walked with one out, went to second on Larry Parrish's single and scored on Darrell Porter's single.
The Orioles tied it in the fifth when Dempsey looped a double to left and Juan Bonilla's triple got past Incaviglia in right.
This time the tie lasted about five minutes, with Ruben Sierra, another rookie outfielder, leading off the bottom of the fifth with his sixth homer.
Once more, the Orioles tied it, this time in the seventh when Beniquez hit his fifth home run this season. They had a chance for more because Tom O'Malley followed with a single and Bonilla walked. But with two outs, Lee Lacy flied deep to right.
The Orioles got the lead for the first time in the top of the eighth when Hough walked Ripken with one out. Traber then beat out an infield single, and Sheets lined a single to right.
That made it 4-3 but, when Incaviglia bobbled the ball in right, Traber tried to take third and was thrown out. Beniquez flied to left to end the inning.
Third base umpire Larry Barnett left the game in the sixth inning and was admitted to Arlington Memorial Hospital for observation. No other details were available . . .
If a six-inning, two-run outing against the Chicago White Sox signaled the end of Scott McGregor's slump, he'll give some of the credit to former Orioles' pitching coach Ray Miller. On July 23, McGregor made his third poor start in a row against Miller's Minnesota Twins. In three starts, McGregor had allowed 11 hits and 11 runs in 3 2/3 innings, and the Orioles had told him he had one start to right himself.
After that game, Miller phoned the Orioles' clubhouse and told McGregor, "Your motion is too slow. Our hitters say they can see the ball all the way." So McGregor went to the bullpen and worked on speeding up. "That appeared to be the thing," he said. "I appreciated Ray telling me. He did wait until I didn't have another start against his team." . . .
The Rangers sent catcher Orlando Mercado to the minors Sunday, but before he left today they asked that he bring his knuckleball glove back to the stadium. Don Slaught lost his in Boston . . .
Traber asked reporters to "quit mentioning Wally Pipp." No matter how well Traber hits, he apparently believes injured Eddie Murray will get the first-base job back . . . Murray (pulled hamstring) is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday, but may not be ready . . .
Second baseman Alan Wiggins was three for eight in his first two games at Rochester. Mike Young had played in only one game and was nothing for three. Floyd Rayford hasn't played.