It’s just a matter of time — or so it seems as the Orioles continue their inexorable march toward the American League East title. On the road, they take three of four games from both New York and Boston, sweeping a doubleheader against each to finish the week right where they began, five games up.
For that, thank Tippy Martinez, their tireless closer who appears this week in six straight games, pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings and earning two saves.
“The arm is numb … well, that may be exaggerating,” Martinez says. “Just tired is more like it.”
The Orioles are less kind to enemy relievers. In an 8-4 comeback against the Yankees, John Lowenstein hits a ninth-inning grand slam off fireballer Goose Gossage. Three days later, in a 7-4 win against the Red Sox, pinch-hitter Jim Dwyer hits a two-out double off the Big Green Monster to score three runs in the 12th inning.
Oft-platooned outfielder Gary Roenicke chips in, tagging Boston for both a grand slam and a two-run homer in separate Orioles wins. Baltimore stars afield as well, defeating New York, 5-3 as center fielder John “T Bone” Shelby throws out two runners trying to score.
All told, manager Joe Altobelli’s team wins six of eight to stretch its mark to 88-56. With 18 games left, fans sense a pennant.