Although Dave Stieb has the best earned-run average (2.35) among the starting pitchers in the American League, he has struggled this season.
Stieb gave up nine hits in seven innings Monday at Toronto, but with the help of bullpen ace, Tom Henke, pitched the Blue Jays to a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians. The win enabled the Blue Jays to stay four games ahead of the New York Yankees in the East.
It was the 23rd start this season in which Stieb has not given up more than two earned runs. Yet, on a team with the best record in the majors (82-49), the hard-throwing right-hander has only a 13-9 record.
He is only 1-2 against them, but the Indians are impressed by Stieb.
“Stieb’s the best right-hander in baseball,” Brett Butler told the Associated Press. “He has great stuff. His record may not be as good as last year, but he’s the ace of the staff.”
Butler had two of the nine singles off Stieb and scored both runs.
“It was no easy outing,” Stieb said. “They always give me trouble. They’re a free-swinging club.”
The Indians took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, but in the bottom of the inning, Garth Iorg hit his fourth home run to tie it again. In the seventh Ernie Whitt doubled with one out. One out later, on a 3-and-2 pitch, Lloyd Moseby singled through the middle to put the Blue Jays in front.
Henke, who has been with the Blue Jays just a couple of days more than a month, pitched two scoreless innings to earn his ninth save. He also has three victories. In 15 appearances out of the bullpen, Henke has done his job 14 times.
His one failure was last Wednesday. He gave up a two-run home run in the eighth to enable Minnesota to tie the game and lost it in the 10th.
New York 8, Seattle 7--Ron Guidry hasn’t pitched as well as Stieb this season, he’s just been more fortunate.
In this game at New York, Guidry, although he gave up four or more runs for the ninth time this season, improved his record to 17-5.
Dave Winfield hit a three-run home run in the first inning and the Yankees had Guidry in front, 7-0, after two innings. But the Mariners fought back, knocked Guidry out in the sixth and had the potential tying run on second when Dave Righetti got the final out in the ninth.
Guidry left after facing two batters in the sixth. He gave up nine hits and five runs in five innings.
“Seven quick runs tend to intimidate people,” Winfield said. “But they came back and mashed the ball. Fortunately this game was nine innings, not 10. This was one game we had to hang onto. Did we get frightened? No, but we did get worried.”
Kansas City 3, Chicago 2--Shortly after the Royals learned they had lost the services of center fielder Willie Wilson for at least two weeks, the Royals ended a three-game losing streak.
George Brett hit his 23rd home run, and Hal McRae hit his 12th. Dan Quisenberry got the last four outs for his 31st save.
Wilson had a reaction to a penicillin shot given him Saturday night at Arlington, Tex., by Dr. B.J. Mycoskie, the doctor who punctured the lung of Yankee Manager Billy Martin earlier this season.
Dr. Dan Gurba performed surgery on Wilson. It consisted of a three-inch incision at the point of the injection on his left buttock. Gurba said the swelling was caused by a reaction to the penicillin injection.
Wilson was batting .285 and had scored 88 runs.
The Royals also were without second baseman Frank White and catcher Jim Sundberg, who are injured.
Baltimore 12, Oakland 4--Tommy John held the heavy-hitting New York Yankees to three hits and no runs in seven innings in his previous start. But, in this game at Baltimore, he was no mystery to the Orioles.
The Orioles rapped John for six hits and six runs in 1 innings. A three-run home run by Cal Ripken greeted John’s successor Steve McCatty and made it a seven-run second inning.
Ripken also had a two-run home run in the eighth to give him 20 for the season. He drove in six runs in the game.
Dwayne Murphy had two home runs and Steve Henderson one for the A’s. However, the A’s, who lost, 14-3, to Detroit Sunday, have given up 26 runs in two games.
Scott McGregor (11-12) needed help despite his big lead. He gave up all three home runs before Ken Dixon rescued him in the sixth.
Minnesota 6, Milwaukee 1--Tim Teufel drove in three runs with a home run and single at Minneapolis, and Mike Smithson held the Brewers to four hits in seven innings. Tom Brunansky also homered for the Twins as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Boston 11, Texas 2--Mike Easler hit his second grand slam in three games to lead the Red Sox 19-hit assault at Arlington, Texas.
Wade Boggs, continuing his drive toward the batting title, had three hits to raise his average to .364. Bill Buckner went 4 for 5, while Jim Rice hit a two-run homer to make it easy for Tim Lollar (6-9).