American League Roundup : Gardner Gets First Complete Game as Red Sox Defeat Orioles, Lead by 2
Although Roger Clemens, generally acknowledged the best pitcher in baseball until his recent slump, hasn’t won in more than a month, the Boston Red Sox are doing just fine.
Mike Greenwell emerged from a slump to go 3 for 5 and drive in three runs Tuesday night at Baltimore and the Red Sox beat the Orioles, 6-1, stretching their lead in the American League East to two games.
While the other contenders are doing pratfalls, the Red Sox have found they can even win on the road with pitching gems from unexpected source.
The Red Sox, for the first time this season, have won three in a row on the road and are now 32-38 away from friendly Fenway Park. The winners, Bob Stanley, in relief, Mike Smithson and Wes Gardner, had won a total of 17 games until this hot streak.
For Gardner (7-4), a relief pitcher most of his career, it was a milestone. He held the Orioles to five hits and pitched the first complete game of his career.
In his previous eight games Greenwell, the first player in the majors to drive in 100 runs this season, had not hit a home run and had driven in only one run, while going 8 for 30.
But he singled in a run in the first to put the Red Sox in front to stay, then made it a 5-1 margin with a two-run home run in the fifth.
“They’ve been pitching me tough the last couple of weeks,” Greenwell said. “I haven’t been able to drive the ball or pull it. I’m glad to start hitting again. People have been asking me about it lately.”
Gardner’s complete game “meant a lot, especially tonight, because I didn’t have to go to the bullpen,” Manager Joe Morgan said.
“Lee (Smith) said he could pitch, but I’m glad he didn’t have to. (Dennis) Lamp will be well-rested.”
Toronto 7, Detroit 3--The collapse of the Tigers is so complete that the pitcher known as Mr. September can’t get the hitters out.
Doyle Alexander, always a winner in the last month of the season and almost perfect in the pennant drive a year ago, was bombed again at Detroit, failing to get a batter out in the third inning.
Alexander, who was 9-0 after joining the Tigers late last season, was 5-0 last September and the Tigers won the East by just two games.
His demise this season began before the Tiger downfall. He won Aug. 6 and hasn’t won since. He has lost five in a row and his record has fallen to 11-11. In his last six starts Alexander has a 9.57 earned-run average.
“There’s nothing wrong with Alex that I can see,” Tiger pitching coach Billy Muffett said. “It’s just one of those things. We’re all in a rut and I’ll be glad when we get out of it.”
It was the sixth loss in a row for the Tigers and their 13th in the last 15 games. They trail the surging Red Sox by two games and there is no sign they are ready to end the slump.
The flop of the Tigers has given new hope to the Blue Jays. They have won six in a row, but they trail the Red Sox by 6 1/2 games.
George Bell, who has led the Toronto drive, doubled to trigger a four-run second inning and the Blue Jays, behind Jimmy Key (10-4) were on a roll.
“They don’t have their best team out there,” said Key. “If we can’t beat them now with Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker out with injuries, it wouldn’t look good for us.”
Cleveland 1, New York 0--Greg Swindell began the season as the best looking pitcher in the American League and took the Indians into first place with him.
The 23-year-old left-hander opened 10-1, but when the Indians turned sour, they took the youngster with them. Many of his defeats have been similar to his Aug. 31 start when he pitched a four-hitter and lost to Kansas City, 1-0.
So, it was sort of a shock for him to throw a three-hitter at New York and wind up a winner. The only run off Al Leiter, making his first start since June 21, was Ron Kittle’s 18th home run in the fourth inning.
Swindell improved his record to 15-13 and the Yankees lost for the ninth time in the last 12 games. In most of those defeats, the pitching was terrible. When they get outstanding pitching, they can’t score.
The loss dropped the fading Yankees five games behind Boston.
They had one real threat. In the fourth, Ricky Henderson walked and went to third on Don Mattingly’s one-out single. But Dave Winfield struck out and, after Jack Clark walked, Don Slaught flied out to end the inning.
Texas 3, Oakland 1--Charlie Hough regained control of his elusive knuckleball at Arlington, Tex., and the Rangers ended a six-game losing streak.
Hough, 3-8 since July 4, held the leaders of the West to seven hits in 8 innings to beat the A’s for the eighth time in a row. Hough (12-15) is 15-5 lifetime against the A’s.
He had been erratic lately, giving up 16 runs in his previous 17 innings.
Seattle 8, Minnesota 3--Harold Reynolds drove in three runs at Minneapolis and the Twins reign as baseball champion came closer to an end.
Mike Campbell (6-8) lasted 6 innings and won his third straight for the Mariners.
The loss left the Twins 9 1/2 games behind Oakland with 24 games to play.