Six months too late, the Toronto Blue Jays came out of their hitting slump against Kansas City.
George Bell drove in three runs with two doubles, and Lloyd Moseby hit a home run Friday to spoil the World Series champions’ home opener, 6-2, but it was little solace after what happened last fall.
The Blue Jays had a 3-1 lead in the championship series before going into a hitting slump. They scored only five runs in three games, and it was the Royals who went on to win the World Series.
“If anything would get you going, it would be looking at those rings,” new Toronto Manager Jimy Williams said. “I don’t think anybody on our team was thinking about revenge. We just knew we had to play well to beat them.”
Jim Clancy, injured most of last season, pitched seven strong innings to gain the victory. Mark Eichhorn struck out the side in the eighth and retired the Royals in order in the ninth.
“I think Clancy is the key to our club,” Moseby told UPI. “People say he isn’t consistent, but I think just the opposite. I think he’s a 20-game winner.”
It was a disappointment to the capacity crowd of 39,033, about 200 of whom waited in line overnight to buy tickets for the game.
Mark Gubicza gave up 6 walks, 5 hits and 5 runs in 3 innings, and the Royals lost for the third time in four games.
Detroit 7, Cleveland 2--It was a bit cold in Cleveland for a 47-year-old pitcher. Phil Niekro had good stuff in his debut with the Indians, but in 40-degree weather, he never seemed to have the situation under control.
He made two wild pitches, a wild throw and a balk, and three of the four runs he yielded in six innings were unearned.
“I have mixed emotions as to my efforts,” Niekro said. “I did OK, but I wanted better than that. I wanted to win.”
Walt Terrell, who said he is in awe of Niekro, pitched a six-hitter and went the distance for the Tigers despite the cold.
It was a 1-1 game when Darrell Evans led off the sixth with a walk. Alan Trammell sacrificed, and both runners were safe when Niekro threw wild to first. A force-out, two more errors and a wild pitch accounted for two runs.
New York 3, Milwaukee 2--Mike Pagliarulo’s two-run home run in the fourth inning broke a 1-1 tie at New York, and the Yankees went on to hand the Brewers their first loss after three victories.
It was the second home run in two games for Pagliarulo following a poor exhibition season, and it enabled rookie Bob Tewksbury to win his major league debut.
Tewksbury couldn’t cool off Robin Yount, who went 3 for 4, scored one run and drove in another. In his last three games, Yount is 10 for 14; in four games, he is hitting .611.
Tewksbury gave up 9 hits in 7 innings, and Rod Scurry came in to retire the last five batters, two on strikes, to earn the save.
Texas 5, Baltimore 4--The Orioles’ bullpen ace, Don Aase, made a wild throw to first base on a pickoff attempt with two out in the ninth inning at Arlington, Tex., and two runs scored to give the Rangers the victory.
On the throw, Oddibe McDowell, who had doubled, came home easily, but Tom Paciorek, who was on first, bowled over catcher Rick Dempsey to score, knocking the ball loose.
Former Dodger Ricky Wright pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to gain the victory.
Minnesota 5, Seattle 1--Bert Blyleven, hammered around the exhibition circuit, made an auspicious regular-season debut before 45,343 fans at Minneapolis.
Blyleven, his curveball working well, pitched a strong 7 innings in his first home opening-day assignment for the Twins since 1976.
Gary Gaetti made it easy for Blyleven by going 4 for 4, scoring twice and driving in a run.
Boston 7, Chicago 2--Roger Clemens, making his first start since undergoing shoulder surgery last August, pitched six-hit ball for 8 innings at Boston as the Red Sox handed the White Sox their fourth consecutive defeat.