Jim Sundberg hit a line drive to left field that one-hopped the wall with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning Sunday at Kansas City to give the Royals a 6-5 victory and end their New York Yankee jinx.
The Royals had lost 10 in a row--five this season--to the Yankees. And Sunday didn’t appear to be the day the streak would be broken, as the Royals were trailing, 5-4, when the Yankees brought in their outstanding reliever, Dave Righetti, in the seventh.
But two singles and Darryl Motley’s sacrifice fly tied it in the seventh. Then, with Righetti still pitching in the ninth, the Royals loaded the bases for Sundberg on a walk, Motley’s single and Righetti’s wide throw to second trying for a force on Frank White’s ground ball.
Sundberg’s hit shook up the official scorer, as well as Righetti. At first, the scorer called it a ground-rule double and said the final score should be 7-5. But according to the rules, the only time the home club wins a game in the bottom of the ninth by more than one run is when a home run is hit with at least one man on base.
“We were beginning to get bugged about losing to them,” said Manager Dick Howser, himself a former Yankee manager. “You don’t want to make a big deal out of it but there is a negative psychological outlook that can be created when one team goes on a long winning streak against you. It can work on your mind.
“It is really a good feeling to get over the jinx. I also am glad to see that Quiz (reliever Dan Quisenberry) is back in form.”
Quisenberry, hit hard in some recent outings, retired the last four Yankee hitters and won his third.
Pat Sheridan hit two home runs for the Royals, one of them eluded center fielder Rickey Henderson’s lunge and wound up an inside-the-park homer.
Minnesota 7, Baltimore 3--The Twins made certain that Fred Lynn didn’t beat them for the third consecutive game at Baltimore with ninth-inning heroics.
Lynn did hit a ninth-inning home run for what may be a record third game in a row, but when he came up, there were only two runners on base and the Twins had a 7-0 lead.
Frank Viola (6-2) cruised into the ninth with a two-hit shutout and he didn’t let Lynn’s homer upset him.
“I felt good throughout the game,” Viola, the league’s first six-game winner, said. “I was happy to get Lynn the first three times. I wasn’t worried, because he didn’t come up the last time in a game-winning situation.”
Friday night, with the score tied, Lynn homered to win the game in the ninth. Saturday, with two on and the Orioles trailing, 2-1, Lynn hit another ninth-inning home run.
Viola received all the help he needed in the first inning. Randy Bush, although he was batting just .143, was put in the lineup as the designated hitter. He hit a grand slam to make a loser of rookie Ken Dixon. Bush also contributed two doubles to the Twins’ 15-hit attack.
Oakland 5, Boston 3--Don Sutton held the heavy-hitting Red Sox to four hits in seven innings at Boston and moved a step closer to his one remaining goal, 300 victories. The former Dodger star now has 283.
“Reaching 300 is the single most motivating factor for continuing to play,” Sutton, 40, said. “Playing is not nearly as much fun as it used to be.
“Unless my family tells me it’s time to quit, I think I have an excellent chance of reaching my goal.”
Two of the hits off Sutton were home runs by Tony Armas, who now has 10, and another was a home run by Rich Gedman. Sutton evened his record for the season at 3-3.
Sutton became a winner when the A’s scored twice in the eighth. The key hit was a cue shot grounder hit by Dusty Baker that spun past Red Sox first baseman Billy Buckner into right field for a double.
Cleveland 6, Texas 0--For the most part, Bert Blyleven hasn’t enjoyed the start of his 16th major league season. He has been cuffed around in most of his starts and he drew a fine for making obscene gestures at fans in Baltimore after being knocked out by the Orioles.
However, against the Rangers he has been something else. In this game at Arlington, Tex., Blyleven won his second game of the season and his second shutout. Both have been against the Rangers. In the 18 innings he has pitched against the Rangers, he has given up only 10 singles.
Tony Bernazard singled home the first run of the game in the fifth and it stayed 1-0 until the Indians exploded for five in the ninth.
Toronto 9, Seattle 5--Damaso Garcia had three more hits, scored a run and drove in another at Toronto as the Blue Jays swept the three-game series in which Garcia went 8 for 13.
Dave Stieb, although he gave up two-run home runs to Gorman Thomas and Jim Presley in the sixth and needed relief, improved his record to 3-3.
Chicago 4, Detroit 0--Floyd Bannister pitched a seven-hitter and struck out 11 at Chicago for his first shutout and complete game this season.
Bannister outpitched Jack Morris (4-4), who went the distance, too, giving up six hits, including a home run by Carlton Fisk.
Morris made an error in the sixth inning that contributed to two Chicago runs.