When Jose DeLeon came up with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983, he kept flirting with no-hitters. The young right-hander from the Dominican Republic seemed certain to have a bright future.
But in 1985, DeLeon was a 19-game loser and he earned the tag of a hard-luck pitcher. Matters didn't improve too much last season when he was traded to the Chicago White Sox.
Although he posted a respectable 2.96 earned-run average, he was only 4-5.
Now 26, DeLeon may have found the solution. It's quite simple: Don't give up any runs.
With Tim Hulett getting three hits and driving in four runs Wednesday night at Toronto, DeLeon extended his string of shutout innings, and the White Sox beat the Blue Jays, 5-0.
DeLeon, who was 10-35 in his last 45 decisions with the Pirates, is 2-0 and has not given up a run this season in 14 innings.
He lasted until two were out in the eighth in this one, but he struck out 9 and walked 6, and Manager Jim Fregosi of the White Sox is taking no chances with his hard-throwing pitcher.
In his first outing last week against Kansas City, DeLeon gave up just one hit in 6 innings. He gave up only three hits in this game and has yielded only four singles in two victories.
New York 4, Cleveland 3--After yielding 48 runs in losing five consecutive games, the Indians came up with decent pitching and still lost.
With Cleveland leading, 3-1, one out and the bases loaded in the seventh, Don Mattingly lined to shortstop Julio Franco. With a chance to complete an inning-ending double play, Franco threw the ball over second baseman Tony Bernazard's head, and a run scored. Rickey Henderson, the runner on second, was trapped off third, but when Franco failed to cover, Henderson made it back in time.
It became a Yankee victory when Dave Winfield singled in two runs on the next pitch. The Indians are 1-8.
Kansas City 2, Detroit 1--Rookie Kevin Seitzer, overlooked because of Bo Jackson's hot start, drove in both runs at Kansas City to give Bret Saberhagen his second win in a row.
Saberhagen, 7-12 last season after winning the AL Cy Young Award the year before, went the distance, giving up six hits.
Jackson was 0 for 3, but Seitzer drove in one run with a ground-out and doubled home the winning run in the eighth.
Minnesota 5, Oakland 2--The chances of the Twins staying in the race in the West depend on their pitching. When they finished sixth last season, they had the least effective pitching staff in the majors.
As the Twins get off to a fast start, Manager Tom Kelly is sure the pitching is going to show a "big" improvement.
The "big" is 6-8 Mike Smithson, a five-season .500 pitcher showing signs of developing into a star.
Smithson held the A's hitless until Carney Lansford opened the bottom of the seventh at Oakland with a double. Smithson is 2-0 and has given up only two earned runs in 15 innings.
Boston 5, Texas 4--Dwight Evans greeted relief pitcher Dale Mohorcic with a grand slam in the sixth inning at Boston, and the Red Sox handed the Rangers their seventh loss in eight games.
Manager Bobby Valentine, who has said he is not interested in the Dodger job as long as he has a contract with the Rangers, may become interested sooner than he thinks. The Rangers were one of the favorites in the West.