Are the Orioles finished? They start the week with a 3-0 loss to Seattle, their eighth defeat in 11 games. That same day, closer Tippy Martinez undergoes an appendectomy and pitcher Sammy Stewart is arrested and charged with drunken driving on the Beltway. Next night, the Mariners win again, 3-2 in 10 innings.

Enter Mike Boddicker to set things straight. Despite a painful blister on his throwing hand, the gritty rookie blanks Seattle, 2-0, on 135 pitches. An announced crowd of 34,289 applauds Boddicker’s effort as the Orioles muster just two hits.

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This cartoon ran in The Evening Sun on July 11, 1983, after Mike Boddicker's five-hitter sank the Mariners.
This cartoon ran in The Evening Sun on July 11, 1983, after Mike Boddicker's five-hitter sank the Mariners. (Ann Feild / Baltimore Sun)

A second victory follows. Then another, and another, and another. Make it five in a row as they sweep three games from Oakland, then defeat the California Angels, 5-1, in a typically brisk outing by 10-game winner Scott McGregor (86 pitches).

Home runs dump the Athletics. Eddie Murray connects in two wins (7-6 and 3-1), and Cal Ripken hits a grand slam to beat Oakland, 6-2. The ball clears the left-field fence at Memorial Stadium by 3 inches over outfielder Rickey Henderson’s outstretched glove.

Tim Stoddard, the oft-maligned reliever, registers his first save in two months and, afterward, receives gifts in the clubhouse: a dozen roses and a bottle of champagne. They’re from not the Orioles but his wife, for their eighth anniversary.

“This is much more satisfying than the save,” Stoddard says.

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