DETROIT, JUNE 26 -- After Lou Whitaker opened the bottom of the first inning with a single and Darrell Evans followed with a home run, the only question tonight was how badly and how quickly the Detroit Tigers would beat the Baltimore Orioles.
The answer was 9-0 in 2 hours 52 minutes as Walt Terrell pitched a four-hitter before 29,396 at Tiger Stadium.
For the Orioles (30-43), a game is a game is a game. Terrell (6-7) allowed them four singles, thus breaking a streak of 55 straight games in which they'd had at least one extra-base hit. The loss was their 23rd in 27 games, and to show how badly they're going, they didn't play that poorly.
Mike Griffin became starting pitcher No. 10 and performed decently, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings. He had Baltimore as close as 3-0 in the sixth; but in the seventh, Manager Cal Ripken Sr. turned the game over to new reliever Doug Corbett, who faced nine hitters and allowed six runs.
"Griffin did a good job," Ripken said. "He moved the ball around in the strike zone and changed speeds. That's what we heard he could do. I'm not going to make a judgment on six innings on anyone. But he pitched well, and he's going back out there again."
Evans' homer was the 1,999th hit of his 17-year career, and one of 10 the Tigers (38-31) produced off three Orioles pitchers. Kirk Gibson had the other big one, a three-run, game-breaking homer in the seventh off Corbett.
Since the Texas Rangers made Griffin, 30, a third-round choice in the 1976 draft, he has pitched for eight minor league and three major league teams. He has been traded four times and released twice.
His last appearance in the big leagues was Oct. 2, 1982, when he pitched in relief for the San Diego Padres, and his last start was September 28, 1981, for the Chicago Cubs.
The Orioles signed him to a minor league contract in the winter and called him up earlier this week from Class AAA Rochester, where he was 5-1 with a 3.28 earned run average. He had one complete game in 10 starts and didn't get into the rotation full-time until John Habyan and Jeff Ballard were promoted to the majors.
Griffin wasn't overjoyed at running his major league record to 4-11, but he was at least hopeful that he has a chance to stay in the big leagues a while.
"After Evans' homer, I could feel myself relax," he said. "Even when they loaded the bases in the sixth, I felt good. I haven't been here in five years, and a major league park has a different feel. But I thought I could pitch here and feel like I didn't do too badly. The pitch to Evans just came back over the plate. It was a mistake, no question about it."
The homer was the 360th of Evans' career and moved him in front of Johnny Mize, into 32nd place on the all-time list. He's one behind Joe DiMaggio.
"It's a thrill to be in that kind of company," Evans said. "The 2,000th hit will also be a thrill, and after the first inning, I thought I might get it tonight. When it comes, I'm going to enjoy it."
The Tigers ran their lead to 3-0 in the sixth. The rally started with a one-out single by catcher Matt Nokes. Pat Sheridan grounded a double down the left field line, and Griffin intentionally walked Dave Bergman to load the bases.
Left fielder Ken Gerhart made a leaping catch to rob Chet Lemon of a grand slam, although Nokes did tag up and score. Tom Brookens flied to left to end the inning.
But Baltimore could do nothing with Terrell. He allowed his first base runner when Fred Lynn drew a one-out walk in the second and his first hit when Eddie Murray singled with two out in the fourth.
The Orioles didn't get their second hit until Cal Ripken Jr. singled to begin the seventh, when they mounted their only real rally: second and third, two out. Terrell got out of it by striking out Terry Kennedy on a slider.
"It looked like wherever he wanted to put the ball, he put it," Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson said. "He was that way all night."
Terrell added, "It was nothing fancy. I don't think I was fooling them. They hit some balls at people, and our guys made some plays. The big thing was that I made the pitches that counted."
Last Saturday, the Orioles scored seven runs off Terrell by the second inning.
Tonight, after Ripken Sr. waved in Corbett in the seventh, the rout was on. Whitaker singled, Evans walked and Gibson homered: 6-0. Corbett faced three more batters in the eighth, and all reached base; the last, Brookens, singled to make it 7-0.
Scott McGregor came on and allowed an RBI single to Larry Herndon and a sacrifice fly to Evans before getting the final three outs.
"Griffin was tired, and Corbett had one of those nights when he didn't have much control," Ripken Sr. said. "When he joined us, he hadn't pitched in nine days, so he's going to have to pitch to get sharp again. But again, we didn't do much with Terrell. You don't score many runs on four hits."
Tonight's game began a stretch in which the Orioles will play 25 of 36 games on the road . . . Alan Wiggins was scratched from the starting lineup because of a migraine . . . Third baseman Knight spent Thursday watching wife Nancy Lopez in an LPGA tournament in Rochester, N.Y.