The Orioles had played four games in a row that they were very competitive in. They had gone 2-2 over those four games but they'd only been outscored by three runs combined in the two games they'd lost and they conceivably could have won all four games. That streak ended tonight.
Veteran pitcher Dickie Noles had been called up from the Orioles AAA affiliate in Rochester, NY to make tonight's start. Noles had come up with the Phillies in 1979 and was part of their World Championship team in 1980. He had spent a couple of years in the Cubs starting rotation in the early 1980's but had spent the previous three seasons bouncing from the Cubs to the Rangers to the Indians back to the Cubs and then to the Tigers. The Orioles had signed him just before Opening Day and sent him to Rochester.
Noles did not prove to be an improvement over what the Orioles had been running out there this season. He did pitch a perfect bottom of the first but things got dicey in the second inning. Alan Trammell and Darrell Evans hit back to back singles to start the inning and Noles hit Chet Lemon with a pitch to load the bases. Matt Nokes then singled to score the game's first run. After Ray Knight popped out for the first out of the inning, Tom Brookens connected for a grand slam, the third one hit against the Orioles in the past week. Noles managed to get out of the inning without giving up any further runs but the Birds were now down 5-0.
The bottom of the third started out looking like a repeat of the second. Pat Sheridan legged out a ground ball to second for a single and Trammell reached on an error by Orioles third baseman Rene Gonzales. When Evans hit a single that brought in Sheridan with the Tigers' sixth run of the game, Orioles manager Frank Robinson had seen enough. Noles was yanked in favor of Doug Sisk who got Lemon to ground into a double play and Nokes to ground out to end the inning.
Meanwhile veteran Tigers starter Doyle Alexander was keeping the Orioles batters from accomplishing much. The Orioles wouldn't get an extra base hit until the seventh inning when Ken Gerhart led off with a double and then scored on Jim Traber's two run home run. The Orioles got another run on Bill Ripken's lead off home run in the top of the eighth to cut the Tigers' lead to 6-3 but the Tigers got all three runs back in the bottom of the eighth on a two RBI single by Brookens and an RBI double from Lou Whitaker. Brookens had a 4 for 4 night with a double and a home run - he scored two runs and knocked in six.