American League Roundup : Guidry, Yankees Don’t Slow Down, Beat Indians
A year ago, the New York Yankees and Ron Guidry were off to poor starts. The Yankees won only six of their first 16 games, and Guidry was 1-3. Manager Yogi Berra was fired.
New Manager Lou Piniella, knowing that a fast start is imperative when your boss is George Steinbrenner, has turned to Guidry. And Guidry, a crafty 35-year-old left-hander who finished even faster than the Yankees last season (21-3 after the poor start), has been instrumental in the club’s fastest start in a decade.
Thursday night, although giving up 10 singles, Guidry went the distance at New York to beat the Cleveland Indians, 2-1, and improve his record to 3-0. The Yankees are 11-4 and lead the East by 2 1/2 games, and Piniella isn’t worrying about his job.
In addition to magnificent pitching, the Yankees have done it with speed and by forcing opponents into errors.
Stolen bases by Rickey Henderson and Bobby Meacham set up both runs against the Indians, and Meacham scored the winning run in the fifth inning on a two-out error by Cleveland first baseman Pat Tabler. Meacham walked to open the inning and stole second with one out. After another out, Don Mattingly hit what appeared to be a routine grounder, and Meacham scored when Tabler kicked it into right field.
The Yankees have stolen 15 bases in their last six games and are 22 for 30 this season.
Guidry, the bellwether of the staff, has started four games and pitched well in each of them. He has pitched 28 innings and given up only four earned runs, has walked only three and struck out 19. Thursday night, he did not walk a batter, thus giving the Indians no extra help in cashing in on their 10 hits.
Four of those hits came in the first inning when the Indians scored their run and missed a great opportunity to break it open. Three singles gave them a run and put runners on first and second. Tabler made the fourth hit of the inning, but Brook Jacoby, running from first, was cut down going to third before Andre Thornton scored from second. From then on, Guidry shut the door.
“Let’s talk about the man who deserves it--our pitcher,” Piniella said. “Our bullpen was worn out. We needed a nine-inning performance, and he stuck it out. I never had to get a man up.”
Seattle 3, Oakland 1--Jose Rijo struck out 14 and gave up only two hits in 8 innings at Oakland. The two hits, however, were home runs by Alvin Davis and Ken Phelps and made a loser out of Rijo.
Rijo, just 20, struck out 16 Mariners last Saturday. His 30 strikeouts in consecutive games ties the league record set by Nolan Ryan when Ryan was with the Angels in 1974.