This game took place on April 29, 1970. It is being recapped today as part of Camden Chat’s retro recap series while MLB is on hold due to coronavirus.
The Baltimore Orioles entered this Wednesday evening matchup with the Chicago White Sox as winners of four straight, recently retaking a half-game lead in the AL East over the Detroit Tigers. The O’s would not spend another day below the division’s top spot for the remainder of the season.
It was a tough night for ChiSox starter Tommie Sisk. This would prove to be the 28-year-old’s final big league start in his final big league season. As one can imagine, it did not go well.
Orioles catcher Elrod Hendricks got the scoring started in the second inning. With Brooks Robinson (fielder’s choice) and Davey Johnson (single) aboard, Hendricks blasted a home run to deep center field to give the good guys a 3-0 lead.
Paul Blair doubled the O’s advantage in the third inning with his own “Earl Weaver special.” Mark Belanger walked and Frank Robinson walked ahead of Blair before the center fielder smacked his first (!) round-tripper of the day, making it 6-0.
Sisk was knocked out of the game in the next frame, but not before allowing two more baserunners. Johnson reached on an error by the third baseman Bill Melton, and then Hendricks laced a double into the right field corner to give the Orioles runners on second and third with no outs. Chicago then turned to rookie Gene Rounsaville, who would have an even tougher time than his predecessor.
Jim Palmer, who was starting on the mound, also did damage at the plate. His single to left field drove in both Johnson and Hendricks to extend the O’s lead to 8-0. Following an error by first baseman Gail Hopkins, which earned Don Buford a spot on base, Belanger knocked in Palmer with a base hit. Frank Robinson followed with a two-bagger to score Buford. Powell drove in Belanger with a ground out to second base. And Blair smashed his second dong of the day to bring Robinson home and make it 13-0.
The Orioles onslaught continued in the fifth inning as Powell joined the home run parade. Belanger and Merv Rettenmund singled ahead of the BBQ master before Powell hit his fifth tater of the campaign, making for a 16-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Palmer was sailing. Through the first six innings of the game, the O’s hurler allowed two base runners on one walk and one single. He didn’t run into any trouble whatsoever until the seventh inning.
Luis Aparicio led off the frame with a base hit. He then came around to score two batters later on a Melton home run to slim the Orioles’ advantage down to 14 runs. The White Sox added to more singles in the inning, but Palmer tip toed around them to escape without allowing any more runs.
But the Orioles weren’t quite done their scoring. Blair began the top of the ninth inning with his third and final long ball for the O’s 17th run of the day. They added one more run on a little league play that saw Chico Salmon score after Palmer grounded into a fielder’s choice which turned into an error by the first baseman, who threw the ball past the catcher trying to nab Salmon at the plate.
Palmer finished up his outing with a rocky ninth inning in which he walked the lead-off hitter and allowed a single before retiring three consecutive batters to clinch the Orioles 18-2 victory.
The 24-year-old Palmer was, once again, impressive. His third win represented one of his 17 complete games on the season and nine of his league-leading 305 innings. He even contributed with the bat, going 2-for-6 with a pair of runs driven in.
As a team, the Orioles hit five home runs in this game, with three of them coming off the bat of Blair. The outfielder hit 44 of his 126 homers as an Oriole between the 1969 and 1970 seasons, representing quite the power surge for a player who spent parts of 17 season in the show.
Frank Robinson continued his hot hitting in the season’s first month. His 2-for-3 performance brings his slash line to .373/.448/.610 on the year. Not bad for a 34-year-old who was deemed “not a young 30” following his trade from the Cincinnati Reds more than four years prior.
This win was the Orioles’ 13th of the season. They still have 95 to go, and we have many more retro recaps to come.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for April 29, 1970?
This poll is closed
Jim Palmer (W, 9 IP, 2 R, 6 SO, 2 BB, 2-for-6, 2 RBI)
Paul Blair (3-for-6, 3 HR, 6 RBI)
Boog Powell (1-for-3, HR, 4 RBI)
Mark Belanger (2-for-3, 3 R, 3 BB, RBI)