American League Roundup : McGwire’s 2 Homers in A’s 6-5 Win Keep Him on Record Pace
If Mark McGwire has his way, it will be the end of his rookie season before he starts thinking about what he is accomplishing.
That is, if anybody will let him. Pitchers are learning to dislike him, and the media won’t leave him alone.
There was more of the same Saturday at Oakland when the 6-foot 6-inch slugger from USC hit two more home runs, including a game-winning two-run smash in the eighth inning as the Athletics beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-5.
McGwire hit his first homer in the second inning and has 33 in just 79 games. The right-handed-hitting first baseman missed seven games when he was platooned at the start of the season.
Even with the missed games, McGwire is on a pace that would break Roger Maris’ record of 61 homers. McGwire is almost certain to shatter the record of 38 by a rookie, held by Frank Robinson (1956) and Wally Berger (1930).
“I’m surprised that writers every day come up and talk to me,” McGwire said. “By now, I think they’ve covered everything there is to know about me.
“What I am doing is really a surprise to me. I really don’t know what’s happening. It’s unexplainable.
“Maybe, it will finally hit me at the end of the season. The season is going by so quickly, I haven’t had time to think about anything. I’ll just keep on working hard and see what develops.”
The Brewers chased Joaquin Andujar with a four-run outburst in the seventh, capped by Robin Yount’s two-run home run, and took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Mike Davis led off the A’s eighth with a double off Milwaukee’s best relief pitcher, Dan Plesac. The 1-2 punch of Jose Canseco and McGwire followed.
“I told myself, McGwire is hot,” Canseco said. “If I get on base for him, things will happen. He’s amazing.”
Canseco singled to drive in Davis. McGwire hit the first pitch for his 12th home run in the last 18 games.
“McGwire smoked Plesac,” Brewer Manager Tom Trebelhorn said. “What are you going to do? Plesac is the best we have in that spot.”
Rob Deer’s 20th home run for the Brewers and fourth in five days, went almost unnoticed.
Kansas City 2, Toronto 1--In contrast to the cannonading that has been going on in most parks this season, there was an old-fashioned pitching duel at Toronto.
Bret Saberhagen, who will probably start for the American League in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, improved his record to 15-3, only because Jimmy Key (9-6) couldn’t get away with a bad pitch to a .191 hitter.
The two teams were scoreless in the eighth inning when Bo Jackson, who shook up his teammates earlier when he said he wanted to play football with the Raiders as a “hobby,” beat out an infield hit for the second hit off Key.
With two out, Larry Owen, the Royals’ light-hitting catcher, hit an 0-and-2 pitch for a two-run home run that won the game. It was the third home run for Owen, who came into the game batting .191, with only three runs batted in.
The Blue Jays’ run in the ninth was a fluke. Right fielder Danny Tartabull slipped and fell, allowing Garth Iorg’s fly to drop for a double. Iorg scored on Jesse Barfield’s single.
Saberhagen, who had a one-hitter until Tartabull slipped, struck out a season-high 10, and Key had a season-high 9.
Saberhagen has pitched as well as he had to this season. He has won some high-scoring games, but he has also prevailed by a 1-0 score and twice by 2-1.
“One mistake Jimmy Key made cost them the game,” Saberhagen said. “You hate to see any pitcher lose that type of game. I’m just glad I wasn’t the victim.”
Chicago 5, New York 2--Don Mattingly hit a home run in his fourth consecutive game, Ron Guidry struck out 14 in 6 innings and the Yankees had the bases loaded all day, but it was the White Sox who celebrated after more than 5 1/2 hours of baseball at New York.
Donnie Hill, who hit a homer earlier, singled in the tiebreaking run with two out in the 15th inning, and Carlton Fisk followed with a two-run home run.
The hits made a loser out of Pat Clements (2-1), who had not yielded a home run in 29 previous relief appearances. Bill Long (5-4) held the Yankees to 2 hits in a scoreless 7 innings to earn the victory.
The Yankees left the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth innings and failed to score in the seventh after loading them with none out.
Boston 10, Seattle 4--Roger Clemens pitched a seven-hitter, and Wade Boggs hit a double and a home run at Seattle to help lead the Red Sox to victory.
Boggs has 17 home runs. If he hits 15 more this season, he will equal his total for his first five seasons in the major leagues.
Jim Rice and Dwight Evans each had 3 of Boston’s 18 hits.
Minnesota 2, Baltimore 1--Billy Ripken, who joined his father, Cal, and his brother, Cal Jr., on the Orioles, went 0 for 3 in his debut at Baltimore.
When Billy, 22, arrived Friday, it marked the first time in major league history that a manager had two sons on his team.
Randy Bush and Gary Gaetti hit home runs for the Twins to help Frank Viola improve his record to 8-6.
Viola, who shut out the Yankees Monday night, gave up eight hits.
Texas 6, Cleveland 2--Charlie Hough struck out a career-high 11 batters in 6 innings at Arlington, Tex., to improve his record to 10-4.
Hough, who set a club record by striking out at least 100 batters six seasons in a row, won his 94th game to tie Ferguson Jenkins for the most victories by a Ranger pitcher.
Ruben Sierra had two hits, drove in a run and scored a run. He is 11 for 18 in the last five games.
Steve Carlton (5-7) gave up 6 hits, 6 walks and 3 runs before being relieved in the sixth.