Old-timers will remember the Boston Braves of years ago when they had two great pitchers, Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain.
The Braves had a saying: Spahn and Sain and two days of rain.
The plight of the Boston Red Sox, who have come tumbling back to the pack after building up a big lead in the American League East, brought about a new version of the saying: Roger Clemens and four days of rain.
But along came Al Nipper. The 27-year-old right-hander, dogged by injuries much of the last two seasons, turned in a strong performance Monday night at Chicago.
Nipper pitched a seven-hitter, and Don Baylor hit a two-run home run as the Red Sox righted the sinking ship with a 3-1 victory over the White Sox.
Nipper's third complete game improved his record to 5-7 and enabled the Red Sox to increase their lead in the East to four games. Nipper became the first Red Sox pitcher, other than Clemens, to win a game since the All-Star break. On the trip that began July 18, the Red Sox were 2-9.
Baylor hit his 18th home run in the fourth, and Dwight Evans hit his 14th in the seventh to hand the White Sox their ninth defeat in a row.
"I haven't had much success here. They usually knock me out in the first or second inning," Nipper said after ending his three-game losing streak. "I had good success with my fastball and slider tonight."
Nipper lost his bid for his first shutout in the eighth. John Cangelosi opened the inning with a bunt single. He completed the circuit on two infield outs and Greg Walker's single to right.
The loser was Floyd Bannister, who gave up only four hits.
Detroit 5, Cleveland 1--His string of innings without giving up an earned run ended at 44 in this game at Cleveland, but Detroit's Jack Morris won his fifth in a row.
Andre Thornton hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to end the string, but Morris gave up only six hits and struck out six to improve his record to 12-6.
Darrell Evans hit a two-run single in the first inning, and Kirk Gibson hit his 16th home run in the third as the Tigers stopped Ken Schrom's winning streak at eight. Schrom (11-3) was last beaten May 25.
"I didn't have my best stuff, but my control was pretty sharp," Morris said. "The key is support. Darrell's hit gave me a two-run lead before I even took the mound."
Baltimore 4, Texas 3--Jim Traber didn't hit a grand slam, but he showed Texas fans how he has helped the Orioles in their drive into contention in the East.
The hot rookie singled in a run in the fourth inning and got an infield hit in the eighth that put Cal Ripken in position to score the winning run on a single by Larry Sheets.
Traber is batting .361 and has driven in 14 runs in 10 games as the replacement for injured Eddie Murray.
Don Aase pitched the last two innings for the Orioles to earn his 27th save.
Kirby Puckett brought the Twins battling back and, with one out in the 11th, he singled home Greg Gagne from second with the winning run.
Kent Hrbek singled in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth, but it was Puckett, hitting his 21st home run, who drove in three runs in the eighth to get the Twins in the game.
Toronto 6, Kansas City 0--Jim Clancy reached a milestone in style at Kansas City, Mo. Clancy pitched a four-hitter and needed only 81 pitches to earn his 100th career victory.
Tony Fernandez provided Clancy all the offense he needed. The young shortstop had a two-run triple in the fifth to end the Blue Jays' scoreless streak at 30 innings. Fernandez also hit a two-run home run in the seventh.
Clancy, who has won six in a row, improved his record to 12-5.
Milwaukee 5, New York 4--The pregame cheers were for longtime favorite Gorman Thomas in his first Milwaukee appearance since rejoining the Brewers.
But the big noise was for Robin Yount, who drove in three runs with a pair of triples to help rookie Juan Nieves get his 10th victory.
Only two of the four runs Nieves gave up were earned. Another rookie, Dan Plesac, pitched 2 scoreless innings to record his ninth save.