After the Pirates moved out to a two-run lead in their half of the second inning on consecutive singles by Stargell, John Milner and Bill Madlock and a sacrifice fly by Ed Ott, Murray scored one for the Orioles with a mighty home run deep into the rightfield bleachers. Then, in the sixth inning, he scored Singleton from first with a scorching double into the leftfield alley to tie the game. Murray moved to third on DeCinces' infield out. The situation was promising for the Orioles: one out and Murray, a fast man, on third, prepared to score on a hit or a sacrifice fly. Lowenstein lined out softly to Parker in medium-deep right. Murray tagged and headed for the plate. Parker's throw was powerful and true, arriving so far in advance of Murray that he could neither elude Catcher Ott's tag with a slide nor crash into Ott in hopes of jarring the ball loose. Instead, Ott rushed forward, an instance, he said later, of "Mohammed coming to the mountain." The mountain became the third out.
With the score still 2-2 in the eighth, Murray was on second and DeCinces on first with no one out. Lowenstein, instead of sacrificing, hit a ground ball to Shortstop Tim Foli, who was en route to third in the Pittsburgh bunt defense. Arriving just after the ball was—yes indeed—Fast Eddie. Foli attempted to tag him, but Murray jumped back out of reach. Momentarily thwarted, Foli threw to second for the force, and Murray was ultimately tagged out in a rundown between second and third.
The stalemate was broken in an eventful ninth, in which—who else?—Murray was again the protagonist. Ott was on second for the Pirates and Garner on first with two out when Tanner sent 35-year-old Manny Sanguillen in to hit for Pitcher Don Robinson.
A heavy mist, or light rain, had been falling since the seventh inning, and the turf, which had hardened a bit since the first game, was turning to ooze once more. It had been 52� when the game started, but now, more than three hours later, it was as cold as the previous evening. Sanguillen is a notorious bad-ball hitter, and Don Stanhouse, now pitching for Baltimore, is a notorious bad-ball pitcher who seems at his peak after he has walked the bases loaded. But Stanhouse was on target this time, and he quickly got Sanguillen in a one-ball, two-strike hole. The next pitch was a slider that did not slide, and Sanguillen hit it sharply to rightfield for a single. Singleton scooped the ball out of the mud on one hop and threw hard to the plate in the hope of cutting down the chugging Ott, who is certainly not the fastest Pirate. Enter Murray, now in his defensive role as first baseman. As thousands gasped, he cut off the throw between first and the plate and then wheeled and threw home himself. Ott slid behind Oriole Catcher Rick Dempsey to score the winning run.
Plays such as these are the subject of debate for months afterward. Why did he cut off the throw? Said Murray, "I thought the ball was off line." Said Earl Weaver, "It looked like the ball was dying." Said Dempsey, "You'll never know." Said Tanner, "If the ball had hit that mud out there, it might have stuck." Said Singleton, "It [the ball] would have picked up momentum. He didn't have to move to cut it off. If it's right to him, it's on line." Said Ott: "I never knew the ball had been cut off until I had a slice of baloney in my hand later on in the clubhouse. Somebody said, 'Can you believe they cut that ball off?' I said, 'Cut what ball off?' "
In every sense except the official, this was not one but two games. The first lasted 2� innings, ending in a cloudburst at 9:34 p.m. The second began one hour and seven minutes later and lasted 6� innings, ending well past midnight under clear, cold skies. The Pirates won the first, 3-2; the Orioles the second, 6-1. Put them together, as the rules require, and they add up to an 8-4 Orioles win, a 2-1 edge for them in the Series and a demoralizing homecoming for the Pirates.
Oriole Starter Scott McGregor, a fragile-looking lefthander from Southern California, was no mystery to Pirate sluggers before the rains came. His balk in the first inning—an illegal wiggle of the glove, so slight it was hardly detectable on television replay—led to one run, and he gave up two more in the second when Garner drilled a double to left center that scored Stargell and Steve Nicosia. In the 2�-inning game, he allowed three runs and six hits. Then it began to rain, lightly at first, torrentially by the end of the Baltimore half of the third inning. Somehow, Benny Ayala, a surprise starter in Weaver's all righthand-hitting lineup against Pirate lefty John Candelaria, propelled a two-run homer through the downpour before time was called and the tarpaulin was trotted out. Players retreated to the warmth of their locker rooms; fans, not so lucky, milled about in the corridors outside the stadium; and ABC switched to Barney Miller.
After the deluge, the game had gone out of Candelaria and the Pirates. The Orioles effectively wrapped things up with a five-run fourth inning, highlighted by a bases-loaded triple by another obscure starter, Kiko Garcia. Garcia, whose only previous distinction was that his birthplace, Martinez, Calif., is the same as Joe DiMaggio's, batted in a fourth run with a single in the seventh to raise his Series batting average to .800. In the regular season he hit .247 and drove in only 24 runs in 417 times at bat. But playing infield, he also made 27 errors in 126 games, a negative statistic that led Weaver to replace him in the late innings of close games by the still nearly flawless Belanger. Belanger had started the two previous Series games, the first because of his much greater postseason experience, the second because one of the few pitchers he does hit is the Pirates' Bert Blyleven, the starter that night. Belanger was hitless in both games. The Orioles, for that matter, had scored only twice since their five-run outburst in Inning 1 of Game 1. Weaver obviously concluded it was time for a little offense, so Garcia started at short, and Gary Roenicke went to center, Ayala to left and Rich Dauer to second. The result bears witness to Weaver's reputed genius, as Oriole base hits skipped over the rain-slick Tartan Turf like stones off a pond.
For his part, McGregor tormented Pirate hitters with his variable-speed deliveries. His most effective pitch may, in fact, be his changeup. And his explanation for his unpromising first three innings may be comprehended only by a pitcher who features this off-speed pitch: "I had a whole week to get strong. I had too much strength, so my change was too hard. Its speed was too close to my fastball's. The hitters weren't getting out in front of it the way I'd like them to. Besides, I guess I pitch pretty well after rain delays. We get enough of those in Baltimore."