Suddenly, the Orioles stink. After winning six of seven games, they drop seven in a row to fall from first place to third in the American League East. It’s the longest losing streak to date in the majors this year, and it leaves the Orioles two games off the pace.

How do they cope with the slide? Humor helps. With his team outscored 51-16 for the week, coach Elrod Hendricks waxes poetic.

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“We’re a little flat with the bat,” he says.

His staff mauled for five home runs in a 12-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins, pitching coach Ray Miller says, “We threw up enough yardage to play golf tonight.”

Oriole Bird cartoon on May 26, 1983 after Dennis Martinez was rocked in the Orioles' 7-4 loss to the Twins, their sixth defeat in a row.
Oriole Bird cartoon on May 26, 1983 after Dennis Martinez was rocked in the Orioles' 7-4 loss to the Twins, their sixth defeat in a row. (Ann Feild / Baltimore Sun)

Having received a new shipment of bats, Al Bumbry suggests a way to get the offense going.

“Maybe if I took all these bats up to the plate with me, I could shake this slump,” the 36-year-old outfielder says.

Baltimore’s woes are many. They go scoreless for 20 innings. Slugger Eddie Murray hasn’t homered in 31 games. Pitcher Dennis Martinez suffers his eighth loss, most in the AL. And the Twins, without a complete game all spring, get two in a row against the flailing Orioles.

At week’s end, the club celebrates manager Joe Altobelli’s 51st birthday by losing, 8-2, to the Kansas City Royals. He takes the loss in stride.

“We’re three games over .500 [23-20], right in the thick of it, so why think negatively?” Altobelli says.

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