Mike Boddicker, flashing the form that garnered him 20 victories and a 2.79 earned run average in 1984, tossed a four-hitter Monday that sparked the Baltimore Orioles to a 2-1 victory and spoiled the Toronto Blue Jays’ home opener.
While the bats of leadoff hitter Alan Wiggins and No. 9 hitter Rick Dempsey supplied the offense with run-scoring doubles, it was Boddicker who kept the defending American League East Division champions off balance.
“I threw an awful lot in spring training this year and I really didn’t have a breaking ball when we broke camp,” said Boddicker, whose 20 wins and ERA led the league in 1984. “Today, I was able to spot the fastball and change speeds with the slider.
“I think Toronto knew what to expect, but I just kept throwing everything at a different speed.”
Boddicker, trying to bounce back after a disappointing 12-17 record in 1985, struck out six, walked two and finished with a flurry as he retired the last eight batters in a row.
“Last year was a nightmare; there’s just no other way to describe it,” he said.
Third baseman Rance Mulliniks, who collected two of Toronto’s four hits, said the “big difference between the Boddicker we saw today and the Boddicker we saw last year was better location.
“He just didn’t give us anything to hit.”
After tying the game 1-1 on consecutive two-out doubles by Dempsey and Wiggins in the third, the Orioles scored the winning run in the fifth against Doyle Alexander, 1-1, as John Shelby and Juan Bonilla singled to right and Dempsey hit his RBI double into the left-center field gap.
The Blue Jays had opened the scoring in the first inning when Tony Fernandez stroked a one-out single to right, stole second, continued to third when Dempsey’s throw glanced off his leg and into left field, roared through base coach John McLaren’s stop sign and slid under Dempsey’s tag.
Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, the usually hyper right-hander for the Boston Red Sox, was calm, trying to take an 8-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals in stride.
“It wasn’t a bad day, it just wasn’t a Can day,” Boyd said after the Royals exploded for six runs in the eighth inning to spoil Boston’s 86th American League opener.
“I didn’t like the way that game was going, but we caught some breaks, got some bloop hits,” Kansas City Manager Dick Howser said.
“We didn’t do it offensively and they caught us in the eighth inning,” Boston Manager John McNamara said. “We couldn’t get them out.
“Oil Can pitched well for seven innings. He kept us in the ball game. Then the day went bad about quarter to four.”
“I made some bad pitches, I made some good pitches,” said Boyd. “They hit ‘em both.”