American League Roundup : Suddenly, Here Come Brewers; They’re 6 Back
With the teams ahead of them in the Eastern Division showing definite signs of wear and tear, the Milwaukee Brewers want to be counted in the race.
The Brewers moved within six games of the top Friday night at Detroit when Bill Wegman pitched a four-hitter and Bill Schroeder hit a two-run home run in a 5-0 victory over the fading Tigers.
It was the ninth loss in the last 12 games for the Tigers, and their slump has given new life to the Brewers, who were 12 games behind on Aug. 7.
The Brewers have made their move behind two sharp pitchers, Teddy Higuera and Mike Birkbeck. Now they believe that Wegman, after a rocky month, is ready to join them.
Wegman (11-11) snapped a five-game losing streak with his first career shutout. He won for the first time since July 19. In his previous 40 innings, he had given up 36 runs.
Most of the season the pitching staff has carried the light-hitting Tigers. But as the stretch run begins, even the pitching is faltering. In the last 21 games the Tigers have allowed an average of five runs a game.
Frank Tanana (14-9) was the victim in this one. The veteran left-hander, who skipped his last start because of tightness in his shoulder, gave up 3 runs and 5 hits in 4 innings.
Sparky Anderson sounded the warning to his club, Boston and New York after another superb performance by the relaxed Brewers.
“I’ve been watching the three top clubs play poorly,” Anderson said. “And Milwaukee has been steadily coming. If they win 20 of their next 28 they have a chance.”
The performance by Wegman buoyed Manager Tom Trebelhorn’s hopes that the Brewers could get into the race.
“We want September to be a meaningful month, " he said. “We want to be in every game the rest of the way. Then, maybe we can win.
“We’re still a ways back. We have to play like contenders. Lately, the teams ahead of us haven’t been playing that way.”
The two games left tonight and Sunday with the Tigers close out the Brewers’ season against Eastern Division rivals.
“If they sweep us,” Anderson said, “then win all six they have left with Chicago, the Brewers could be right there. Of course, there’s always the chance one of us top three could get hot again.”
With the Angels beating Boston, the Tigers clung to their precarious one-game lead.
New York 4, Oakland 1--Jack Clark hit his 23rd home run, and the Yankees turned five double plays at Oakland to move within four games of the Tigers.
Although he gave up nine hits in seven innings, Tommy John (9-6) won for the first time in more than a month. The 45-year-old left-hander has won 286 games.
Dave Righetti gave up three more hits in the last two innings but earned his 20th save.
The Athletics’ lead in the West was cut to 8 1/2 games over Minnesota.
Minnesota 6, Kansas City 3--The Twins’ hopes of overtaking the Athletics in the West are slim at best. On the brighter side for Minnesota, this has been a season in which Allan Anderson has developed into a major league pitcher.
In this game at Minneapolis, the 24-year-old left-hander improved his record to 13-8. He needed help in the sixth from Keith Atherton, and Jeff Reardon finished up for his 34th save.
Dan Gladden went 3 for 4, and Kirby Puckett hit his 22nd home run for the Twins.
Cleveland 4, Chicago 3--Julio Franco’s fifth hit of a long night at Cleveland set up the winning run, and Andy Allanson’s single with two out in the 13th inning ended the marathon.
Franco, who already was 4 for 6 with a run driven in and a run scored, singled with two out in the 13th. He was balked to second by Ken Patterson and easily beat the throw home from center fielder Steve Lyons on Allanson’s hit.
Doug Jones (3-3) pitched three scoreless innings to win it. The White Sox had only three hits in the last nine innings.
Toronto 7, Texas 6--George Bell singled home Tony Fernandez from second base with one out in the ninth at Toronto to give the Blue Jays the victory in a game they thought they had won earlier.
They had been leading, 6-5, when bullpen ace Tom Henke went out to get the save. But Jim Sundberg hit Henke’s first pitch for his second home run of the season. Instead of the save, Henke wound up with his third victory.
Fred McGriff hit a 473-foot home run in the fourth inning and set a club record for a left-handed hitter. It was his 31st. John Mayberry set the record of 30 in 1980.
Even the Blue Jays, 8 1/2 back in the East, haven’t given up hope.
Baltimore 4, Seattle 3--Joe Orsulak, who opened the game at Seattle with a home run, also drove in the final run with a single in the ninth to cap a three-run rally by the Orioles.
Mike Moore had a three-hitter and a 3-1 lead going into the ninth, until the Orioles pulled it out.