Jack Morris continued to throw home-run balls Tuesday night, but that suddenly became a mild problem, as did the Detroit Tigers’ 6-4 loss to the Red Sox at Boston.
The big blow to Sparky Anderson’s club came in the second inning when Kirk Gibson, the key to the Tiger offense, suffered a severe sprain of his left ankle and will be lost for four to six weeks.
The slugging outfielder walked to start the inning. Hurrying back to the base on a pickoff try, Gibson’s foot landed awkwardly on the bag. He damaged ligaments on the outside of the ankle and had his foot put in a cast.
Morris, who has won 55 games in the last three seasons, gave up home runs to Don Baylor, Rich Gedman and Tony Armas in the first five innings as the Tigers fell behind and never could catch up.
The hard-throwing right-hander is fortunate he doesn’t have a worse record than his 2-2. In four starts, he has pitched 26 innings and given up nine home runs. His earned-run average is almost 7.00. Surprisingly, he has struck out 25 batters.
“Just as in his other starts,” Anderson said, “Jack appeared to have good stuff. He just made some bad pitches. In this park, bad pitches go out.”
Wade Boggs, who had two doubles, singled in the third inning, and Baylor followed with the home run that put the Red Sox ahead to stay.
Roger Clemens improved his record to 3-0, but he needed relief help in the seventh.
Texas 10, Toronto 1--Rookie Bobby Witt had things a little more under control this outing at Toronto, and the hard-throwing former Oklahoma right-hander won his first game as a professional.
In his previous start, Witt, who was 0-6 with the Double-A Tulsa team last season, pitched five hitless innings at Milwaukee and struck out 10. He departed, though, because he walked eight batters.
This time, Witt gave up three hits in six innings but walked only four while striking out five. His teammates made it easy for the youngster.
Gary Ward drove in four runs with a single and a home run, and Pete Incaviglia, Steve Buechele and Pete O’Brien also homered for the Rangers. Jim Clancy bore the brunt of the Rangers’ long-distance assault.
New York 5, Kansas City 1--Rookie Bob Tewksbury won his second major league game and also ignited a bench-clearing brawl at Kansas City.
Tewksbury gave up five hits in 7 innings to improve his record to 2-1. The next-to-last hit was a triple by Jorge Orta, and Tewksbury hit the next batter, Willie Wilson, on the elbow with a pitch.
Wilson, waving his arms angrily, walked toward the mound. He was intercepted by Yankee catcher Ron Hassey. They had words, then started pushing and shoving. Suddenly, the infield was crowded with players. Order was quickly restored.
Dave Righetti replaced Tewksbury at this juncture. It was announced that Tewksbury had a torn finger nail, possibly from the brawl.
For the second game in a row, Rickey Henderson triggered the Yankee attack. On Monday night he was on base five consecutive times. In this one he had a single and triple and scored twice.
Baltimore 5, Cleveland 2--The 33-degree weather at Cleveland was too cold for 47-year-old Phil Niekro but not for young Ken Dixon.
While Niekro was serving home runs to Cal Ripken and Larry Sheets and suffered his second defeat in three decisions for the Indians, Dixon, 25, was brilliant. He went 7 innings, giving up seven hits and striking out seven.
“One good thing about cold weather is I don’t get sore after I pitch,” Dixon said. “Your muscles don’t stretch out as much, so you don’t get as stiff the next day.”
Despite the victory, Oriole Manager Earl Weaver thought the game should not have been played. “We’re playing a ballgame in a 12-degree wind chill factor,” he said. “To me, that’s unbelievable.”
Chicago 5, Milwaukee 4--After Harold Baines hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning at Milwaukee to bring the White Sox from behind to end a four-game losing streak, he drew praise from Manager Tony LaRussa.
“He’s as good a hitter as anyone in the league,” LaRussa told the Associated Press. “It’s not ideal weather (42 degrees at game time) to hit, but look what he did.”
Once again the Brewer bullpen let it get away. Rookie Juan Nieves struck out eight and gave up six hits in 6 innings. He left with runners on first and second and leading, 4-2. Danny Darwin got Wayne Tolleson on a fly for the second out. But Baines hit his second home run and the White Sox were in front.
Minnesota 7, Seattle 1--Mike Smithson pitched a four-hitter at Seattle for his third complete game in four starts to hand the Mariners their sixth consecutive defeat.