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American League Roundup : Leonard Wins Again for K.C., 6-4

Dennis Leonard held the Toronto Blue Jays to seven hits and one earned run in seven innings Friday night as he pitched the World Series champion Kansas City Royals to a 6-4 victory.

Leonard, in the second consecutive impressive performance of his comeback, was the victim of shoddy support, but with late-inning help from Dan Quisenberry, he picked up his second win in nearly three years.

Last Saturday, in his first major league start since May 28, 1983, Leonard shut out the Blue Jays on just three hits

Friday night, three errors helped Toronto score two unearned runs, and in the eighth, a mistake by first baseman Steve Balboni made another run unearned.

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Leonard departed after Tony Fernandez singled and Rance Mulliniks walked to open the eighth. Cecil Upshaw singled off Quisenberry to drive in a run. George Bell grounded into a double play. Balboni, thinking the inning was over, tossed the ball to the first base umpire as Mulliniks crossed the plate.

The Royals probably have the best pitching in the league, and if Leonard, who underwent four operations on a torn tendon below his kneecap, is back, it may be the best in baseball.

From 1975 to 1982, Leonard was the winningest right-hander in the majors, going 130-86. Only Steve Carlton won more games during that span. Three times, Leonard won 20 games.

A broken finger in May 1982 knocked him out for two months. Then, in ’83, he was off to a fast start before being injured.

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The operations and long sessions of therapy followed. Late last season he made two relief appearances and pitched well. It was lost in the excitement of the Royals winning the pennant and the World Series.

Now, Leonard believes that at 34, if he can just get through May unscathed, he is back.

“I think I’m as close as I’m ever going to be to where I was three years ago,” Leonard told the Associated Press. “Maybe a radar gun would show I’ve lost a little velocity, but what I’ve lost in speed I’ve made up for in smarts. I think my stuff is as good as it ever was, and I feel real relaxed out there.”

The Blue Jays, just as other teams are doing, pitched around George Brett, walking him three times. He has walked 15 times in 10 games.

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Milwaukee 6, New York 5--The Yankees’ vaunted bullpen failed to do the job at Milwaukee after Dennis Rasmussen held the Brewers to five hits and two runs through six innings and departed with a 5-2 lead.

However, Rod Scurry, Brian Fisher and Bob Shirley were unable to hold it. The Brewers tied the score with three runs in the seventh inning.

In the eighth, Ernest Riles singled in the tiebreaker to give rookie Dan Plesac the victory. Plesac pitched four perfect innings and struck out four.

Boston 2, Chicago 1--Bruce Hurst threw a three-hitter at Boston to outpitch Tom Seaver, and Tony Armas, who doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a double by Rich Gedman, saved Hurst in the eighth.

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Armas grabbed Wayne Tolleson’s single and threw out Rodney Craig, who was trying to score from second base.

It was the second complete game in a row for Hurst against the White Sox and Seaver. Both times, he struck out 11. He lost to Seaver Saturday at Chicago.

Texas 12, Baltimore 3--Pete O’Brien and rookie Pete Incaviglia hammered three-run home runs at Baltimore to lead the Rangers’ 12-hit attack.

The Rangers, who have won three in a row and lead the West with a 6-3 record, pounded Scott McGregor and made it easy for Mike Mason to win his first game this season.

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Detroit 6, Cleveland 1--A warming trend was just right for Frank Tanana and Lance Parrish at Detroit. Tanana, who lasted only one-third of an inning in 38-degree weather earlier this month, pitched a six-hit complete game in 60-degree weather.

Parrish, who entered the game with a .147 average and just three runs batted in, hit a home run and a single and drove in four runs.

Oakland 4, Seattle 1--Alfredo Griffin stole home, and Dave Kingman singled home two runs in a four-run third inning at Oakland to lead the A’s to victory. Kingman has six hits this season, all singles.


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