To their fans' chagrin, the Orioles appear to be backing into their first pennant. Since the start of August, the American League leaders have played .500 baseball. This week, they fail to break even, winning two of six games while finding new ways to lose.
Against the Minnesota Twins, the Orioles surrender nine runs in the eighth inning and fall, 11-6. Against the Chicago White Sox, a triple play in the ninth inning kills an Orioles rally in a 3-1 loss. How do the White Sox score? On a three-run home run by former Oriole Jerry Adair.
Crowds disappoint. Five games over four home dates average 9,518 in attendance, though the Orioles (91-57) still lead by 8 1/2 games. Thanks to the parity in the AL, contenders keep knocking one another off. Baltimore's magic number is six.