Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
The Orioles's 1988 season came to an end on an overcast and drizzly afternoon in windswept Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. Curt Schilling made his fourth start of the season and his career and didn't last very long.
The Orioles played sloppy baseball in the first inning. Tony Fernandez led off the game with a double and Nelson Liriano laid down a bunt in an attempt to sacrifice him to third. Orioles catcher Carl Nichols decided to try to throw Fernandez out at third but his throw went down the left field line, allowing Fernandez to score and Liriano to reach second. Rance Mulliniks lifted a fly ball to center field that Brady Anderson dropped, allowing Liriano to move to third and Mulliniks to pull into second. A George Bell sacrifice fly brought Liriano with the second run of the inning. With Ernie Whitt at the plate Schilling uncorked a wild pitch which moved Mulliniks up to third where he was able to score minutes later on Whitts' sacrifice fly. A fly ball by Fred McGriff ended the inning but the Jays had scored 3 runs on one hit and two Oriole errors.
Toronto piled on further in the second. With one out Rob Ducey singled and Alexis Infante drew a walk. Fernandez brought both of them in to score by hitting a triple and then he scored when Liriano followed with another triple. A sacrifice fly by Mullinks brought Liriano in with the fourth run of the inning and seventh run of the game. Bell flew out to end the inning and Schilling's day. Mark Williamson came in to pitch in the third inning. Schilling had given up seven runs (although only five were earned) on four hits and a walk in two innings. Every single baserunner he allowed on had scored.
Bell hit a two run home run off of Williamson in the fourth inning to make the score 9-0. The Birds finally got on the board in the sixth inning on a two run home run by Larry Sheets, his tenth home run of the season. They added another in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Craig Worthington to make the score 9-3.
This was the final Orioles game for several players. Tom Niedenfuer pitched the fifth inning and Don Aase pitched the sixth and seventh innings. Niedenfuer was granted free agency on November 4th but Aase was given his outright release on October 3rd. Pete Stanicek went 0-4 in the game. He suffered through two more injury plagued years in the Orioles minor league organization in 1989 and 1990 before retiring at age 27.
The big name making his Orioles farewell was Eddie Murray. Murray went 0-2 in the game before being lifted for a pinch hitter (Rick Schu) in the sixth inning. He was traded just over two months later to the Dodgers for Juan Bell, Brian Holton and Ken Howell. He would return to the Orioles for the 1996 season.
It's a small sample size but the Orioles had a bad month in October - going 0-2 while being outscored 16 to 6.
Today's loss clinched the worst record in all of baseball for the Orioles. The Atlanta Braves ended the season with a 54-106 record for a .338 winning percentage, three percentage points better than the Orioles .335. The Braves were arguably just as bad as the Orioles that year but didn't have a sexy 21 game losing streak to start the season - theirs was only 10 games.