Bruce Hurst entered the game at Milwaukee Wednesday with a 3-7 record and a 6.19 earned-run average, but he was in complete control in Boston's 9-0 victory over the Brewers.
Hurst, recently brought out of the bullpen for another shot at starting, pitched a five-hitter and struck out a career-high 10 to enable the Red Sox to end a four-game losing streak.
The Red Sox pounded out 15 hits, but it was an error by losing pitcher Danny Darwin on a bunt that paved the way for five unearned runs in the third inning. Marty Barrett had four hits, while Mike Easler had two hits and drove in two runs.
Hurst, a 27-year-old left-hander, was in the starting rotation when the season opened. In fact, he beat New York in his first start. But when he came up 0-4 in his next eight starts, he was sent to the bullpen.
Last Friday, he went seven strong innings in a 6-1 victory over Baltimore, and he is convinced his long slump is over.
"I'm a real believer in me," Hurst said. "Things can turn around fast, as fast as they can go bad.
"I've just got to keep doing it now. I'm just going with what I have. Pitching is just a feel. You have to have a sense for things, a touch. I feel I have it again."
The only time Barrett failed to hit safely was in the third, when he bunted with two on, and Darwin threw the ball into right field.
Seattle 5, Chicago 1--The enforced absence for 10 days, caused by fouling a pitch off his foot, apparently was just what Al Cowens needed.
In his first game back Monday at Chicago, Cowens hit a three-run home run to break a scoreless tie. And he came right back Wednesday to again deliver the decisive blow.
With the score tied, 1-1, two on and two out in the eighth, Cowens hit a two-run double and scored the third run in a four-run uprising that won it for the Mariners.
Rookie Bill Swift improved his record to 3-1. Swift, who was 5-0 for the U.S. Olympic team a year ago, gave up eight hits and only one run in 7 innings.
Toronto 3, New York 2--Instead of getting the sure out in the 10th inning at Toronto, Yankee third baseman Mike Pagliarulo tried to get a difficult double-play. He wound up getting nobody, and his wild throw to first enabled Lloyd Moseby to race home with the run that kept the Blue Jays from getting swept.
Moseby opened the 10th with a broken-bat single off Rich Bordi and stole second. After a walk to Willie Upshaw, George Bell hit a sharp grounder to Pagliarulo. The third baseman tried to tag Moseby, who avoided him. In his haste to get at least one out, Pagliarulo threw wildly, and Moseby scored easily.
Although he didn't get credit for the victory, Dave Stieb pitched another strong game for the Eastern Division leaders. Stieb went nine innings, giving up seven hits and striking out six. However, he gave up two runs and his league-leading ERA went up slightly to 1.94.
In 9 of his last 10 starts, Stieb has given up two or fewer runs. In his last 80 innings, he has given up only eight earned runs.
Detroit 4, Baltimore 3--The Tigers continued to keep the pressure on the Blue Jays by pulling out another win in Baltimore.
Dave Bergman, only 8 for 42, led off the 10th inning with his second home run of the season to give Dan Petry his 10th win and keep the Tigers just 2 1/2 games behind Toronto.
"I'm trying to find a groove and I'm struggling," said Bergman, sidelined much of the season because of elbow surgery. "I finally made a contribution."
Eddie Murray hit his 12th homer in the eighth to send the game into extra innings.
Minnesota 7, Cleveland 0--Maybe the rest did Tim Laudner some good. In this game at Minneapolis, Laudner, batting for the first time since June 26, went 3 for 3 and drove in six runs to make it easy for Mike Smithson to even his record at 7-7.
Laudner, the seldom-used backup catcher to hot-hitting rookie Mark Salas, had batted only 77 times and was hitting .221.
Kansas City 3, Oakland 0--Four times in the last five seasons, Dan Quisenberry has led the league in saves. However, his occasional poor outing brings out the Kansas City boo-birds.
He gave up a game-winning three-run home run to Dusty Baker Monday night, so when he came to the rescue of Bret Saberhagen in the ninth inning of this one, there were more than a few boos.
Ignoring the fans, Quisenberry pitched a scoreless ninth for his 15th save. It was Saberhagen's eighth win.
"I expect to get booed," Quisenberry said. "It doesn't bother me. It merely emphasizes the ups and downs of relief pitchers."