Manager Bobby Cox can’t help dreaming about the Toronto Blue Jays winning the pennant, but he knows it’s much too early to talk about it.
Rance Mulliniks and Ernie Whitt each drove in three runs Saturday at Cleveland to lead the soaring Blue Jays to a 10-7 victory, their sixth in a row. In the six games, the Blue Jays have scored 43 runs.
The Blue Jays trailed, 7-6, going into the seventh, but Whitt singled in the tying run and hot-hitting Jesse Barfield singled in the go-ahead run. The Blue Jays’ 27-14 record is the best in the majors.
“Thinking pennant only interferes with my day-to-day work,” Cox said, “but I can’t control my dreams. When I wake up, I think about Detroit, New York and Baltimore and that brings me back to reality.”
Manager Pat Corrales of the Indians is convinced it’s no dream.
“No wonder they’re the best team in the division--they’ve got guys with pop in their bats,” he said. “Right now, Toronto’s a better team than Detroit. The Blue Jays have outfielders who can field and hit. They have a strong bullpen and a double-play combination. What else do you need?”
He could have added that there is hitting strength throughout the lineup. For instance, the bottom three men in the order, Whitt, Barfield and Tony Fernandez, led the assault in this one. They had seven hits, scored seven runs and drove in six.
Barfield, the No. 8 hitter against right-handers, had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 15 games and raise his average to .289. The No. 4 hitter when left-handers oppose Toronto, Barfield has nine home runs and has driven in 23 runs.
Whitt, the No. 7 hitter, was 3 for 5, including his fifth home run and tied a club record by scoring four runs. Whitt has been the catcher in five of the games on the streak and has driven in at least one run in each. In the five games, he is 8 for 19, scoring seven runs and driving in nine.
Detroit 3, Seattle 2--Brian Snyder waited a long time for his chance. At 27, the Mariners’ left-hander, who spent six years in the minors, made his debut in this game at Seattle.
He was impressive, too, striking out seven batters, but he developed a blister on his pitching hand and departed after 4 innings.
Snyder was long gone when Chet Lemon hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Tigers the victory. Ivan Calderon homered in the bottom of the seventh, his fourth in the last six games.
Walt Terrell improved his record to 5-1 and Willie Hernandez retired the last four batters to register his 10th save.
The game was broadcast on CBS Radio. So was the Dodgers-New York Mets game earlier in the day, but it was blacked out in Los Angeles. It had been 25 years since regular-season baseball was on network radio.
Kansas City 3, Chicago 0--Charlie Leibrandt outpitched Tom Seaver, but just barely, and Pat Sheridan drove in all three runs for the Royals at Kansas City.
Leibrandt held the White Sox to three singles in winning his fifth game but, with just a little better defense, Seaver, who shut out the Royals twice last season, could have done it again.
In the second, Jorge Orta bounced a double off the glove of first baseman Tom Paciorek and scored on Sheridan’s single to right.
Seaver struck out the first two batters in the eighth, but George Brett doubled and Seaver hit Orta. Steve Balboni grounded to third but it was booted by Bryan Little and the bases were loaded. Sheridan hit a drive to right-center that right fielder Harold Baines got a poor jump on and it hopped the fence for a ground-rule double to score the other runs.
Oakland 8, New York 7--Yankee bullpen ace Dave Righetti walked Steve Henderson on four pitches with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth inning at Oakland, but a boner by Dave Kingman almost nullified the victory.
Kingman, who earlier hit his 11th home run, was on first base when Henderson drew the walk. Instead of touching second base, as even a Little Leaguer is taught to do, Kingman started to walk across the infield to the dugout. Realizing his mistake, he went back and touched second base.
Yankee Manager Billy Martin protested that Kingman should have been ruled out for leaving the basepath. He lost the argument, as well as the game.
Texas 10, Boston 3--Oddibe McDowell, the first Olympian baseball player to make the majors, came out of a slump to help the Rangers win their third in a row.
McDowell came out of an 0-for-17 slump with a bases-loaded triple in the second inning and drove in two other runs at Arlington, Texas. The 3-for-5 night gave McDowell 4 for 28 in his brief career.
Milwaukee 9, Minnesota 7--Robin Yount hit a two-run home run and Cecil Cooper drove in three runs at Milwaukee and the Brewers handed the Twins their fourth defeat in a row.
Randy Bush and Gary Gaetti hit home runs for the Twins.