American League Roundup : Clemens Breaks Out of Slump, Puts Brakes on Indians With One-Hitter
The Boston Red Sox fought their way into first place in the American League East despite the worst slump of Roger Clemens’ career.
But Saturday at Boston, Clemens didn’t just end his six-game losing streak, he gave the Red Sox a lift that may carry them to the division title.
Clemens had a no-hitter ruined with one out in the eighth inning by Cleveland’s Dave Clark, but his one-hit, 6-0 victory increased Boston’s lead to 3 1/2 games over Detroit.
“I really thought I was going to get the no-hitter,” said Clemens, who needed only 86 pitches to end a slump that began in early August.
“If I was going to lose, it was going to be with my fastball. And it was almost perfect. It was up and in. I’d throw it again. The important thing is, I finally made a contribution.”
For the most part during his slump, Clemens pitched poorly. Although he lost by scores of 3-2 at Milwaukee and 1-0 at Oakland, he was hammered in the other four defeats. In two appearances against the Tigers, who can’t beat anyone else these days, he gave up 14 hits and 15 earned runs in 6 innings.
Clemens, who is 9-0 against the Indians, said: “I made good pitches all the way, my velocity was good and I had good defense behind me. Everything was falling in place. My goal was to pitch seven strong innings. But after the seventh, I told Joe (Morgan, the Red Sox manager) I wanted to go back out there.
“It didn’t happen today, but somewhere along the way I think I’ll get (a complete game). I’ll hook up with one, then try for two.”
Clemens is 16-10, and half of the victories have been shutouts.
The Red Sox already had a 4-0 lead when Clark’s single ruined the no-hitter. Dwight Evans had four hits, including a triple, scored two runs and drove in two to lead the attack.
The Indians didn’t think Clemens was throwing hard at the start, but they were impressed at the end.
“He has stopped trying to strike out everybody he faces,” Joe Carter said. “Now he’s looking more to hitting his locations--inside, outside, up and down. I think he’s learning how to pitch. You’re not going to last too long trying to strike everybody out.”
Mel Hall was impressed by his stamina. “In the last couple of innings,” Hall said, “he was throwing his fastball about 5 m.p.h. faster. I thought early in the game he was getting us out with average stuff. But he smelled that no-hitter, and he was really pumping the ball in there.”
Morgan was encouraged that Clemens needed only 86 pitches. Clemens has been trying to overcome various ailments, including back, shoulder and arm problems.
New York 9, Detroit 4--A national television audience had a chance to see just how pitiful the plight of the Tigers has become.
With Jack Morris, once one of the league’s hardest throwers, trying to get by mainly on slow pitches at New York, the Tigers clung to a 4-3 lead until the seventh.
But the Yankees scored six runs in the seventh inning, and the Tigers lost their third straight and their 16th in 19 games.
On a day when Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield missed numerous chances to break the game open early, Don Slaught and Rickey Henderson provided the big hits.
Slaught went 4 for 5, including a two-run double that put the Yankees ahead in the seventh. Henderson had three hits and drove in three runs. Entering the game, Slaught was 5 for 48, Henderson 4 for 48.
With three victories straight over the Tigers, the Yankees have won 6 of their last 16 games. They trail the Red Sox by 4 1/2 games and the Tigers by 1.
Winfield left five runners stranded in his first two at-bats. Rick Rhoden (10-10) went the distance and won despite home runs by rookie Scott Lusader, his first, and Fred Lynn, his 20th and second as a Tiger.
Kansas City 9, Oakland 4--Pat Tabler drove in two runs with a single with the bases loaded to highlight a four-run second inning at Kansas City.
Tabler, 7 for 8 in bases-loaded situations this season, is 36-63 (.571) in his career. His hits with the bases full have driven in 18 runs this year.
Charlie Leibrandt beat the Athletics for the sixth straight time, and Storm Davis (15-5) lost after winning 10 straight.
Jose Canseco, drawing ever closer to 40-40, hit his 38th home run and stole his 36th base.
Seattle 1, Milwaukee 0--Eric Hanson and Mike Schooler combined on a 3-hitter at Milwaukee to hand the Brewers a defeat that dropped them 5 1/2 games out of first place in the East.
Teddy Higuera also pitched a 3-hitter, but two of the hits came in the third around a walk. The second hit of the inning, a single by Darnell Coles, scored the only run.
Minnesota 6, Chicago 5--Gene Larkin hit a double to score Kent Hrbek from second base in the 12th inning at Chicago and keep the Twins’ flickering hopes alive. The victory cut Oakland’s lead in the West to 10 games with 19 left.
The White Sox made five errors, contributing to two unearned runs.
The Twins’ Gary Gaetti, in his second at-bat since arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 22, hit a pinch, 2-run home run in the ninth inning.
Kirby Puckett had three hits to become the first player in the majors to get 200 hits this season.
Baltimore 7, Toronto 4--Third baseman Kelly Gruber’s throwing error set up a 6-run fifth inning at Baltimore that cost the Blue Jays. The defeat dropped Toronto 7 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the East.
Jeff Ballard (8-11) went seven innings, giving up two runs, to win it.