Major League Roundup : Red Sox Continue Mastery of Yankees, 6-0
In an ordinary year, Mike Greenwell has had a season good enough to win the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award.
But the young Boston Red Sox outfielder will not win it, because it hasn’t been an ordinary year for Oakland’s Jose Canseco, baseball’s first 40-40 (home runs, stolen bases) man.
Greenwell, in his second major league season, is the main reason the Red Sox are cruising to the American League East title.
He and Roger Clemens played the starring roles Sunday at New York in a 6-0 victory over the Yankees that cut the Boston magic number to 3 and virtually ended the Yankees’ hopes.
Greenwell hit a 3-run home run off Rick Rhoden in the first inning and Clemens, slowly returning to form after suffering from tendinitis in his right shoulder, did the rest.
Clemens (18-11) gave up 5 hits and struck out 7 in 7 innings, then turned the ball over to Lee Smith, who completed the shutout.
Wade Boggs, still seething over being pinch-hit for in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game, singled to open the game against Rhoden, who had won 5 in a row. With one out Dwight Evans, who later hit his 19th home run, walked.
Greenwell hammered his 22nd home run to put the Red Sox in command. It was his club record 22nd game-winning RBI.
The Red Sox only scare came when Rickey Henderson, the Yankees’ leadoff batter, hit a line drive that struck Clemens in his right elbow. Clemens took a few warm-ups and continued.
“Tomorrow it will be sore but I wanted to stay in there,” Clemens said. “This was a big one and I felt pretty good.”
Greenwell decided to rest instead of taking batting practice. His first swing of the day was perfect.
“We’re in the driver’s seat,” Greenwell said. “We wanted to jump out today. We knew Roger was going to be out there.”
The main reason the Red Sox are 5 1/2 games in front of the Yankees is their ability to beat New York. The Red Sox won 9 of 13 games with the Yankees; in the last two weekends Boston won 5 of 7 from New York. And that’s why they will be, barring a collapse, meeting Oakland in the championship series.
Although he has been having troubles in the last few weeks, Clemens has never lost at Yankee Stadium, where he is 4-0.
The Red Sox, who have been a poor road club this season, won 2 out of 3 in the series, largely because Dave Winfield and Jack Clark failed to hit in the clutch. With runners in scoring position, Winfield was 1 for 11, Clark 1 for 10.
“We weren’t good enough,” Clark said. “We had our chance and couldn’t do anything with it.”
The Red Sox have seven games left, three at home with Toronto beginning tonight and four at Cleveland to finish the season. They are 53-25 at home, best in the league.
Boggs had 3 hits to raise his average to .364 and draw closer to his fourth consecutive batting title. His single in the fifth preceded Evans’ home run and sealed the Yankees’ fate.
Greenwell, the No. 3 batter (.335), trails only Boggs and Kirby Puckett. With 117 runs batted in he is only 3 behind Canseco, the league leader.
Manager Joe Morgan, who upset Boggs and pitcher Mike Boddicker in Saturday’s game, kept everyone happy this time. He improved his record as a manager to 45-25, good enough for a 13-game improvement in the standings.
Detroit 2-7, Baltimore 1-4--It is surprising that the Tigers, with all their injuries and lack of power, have stayed in the race in the American League East this long.
By sweeping a doubleheader at Baltimore, the gutsy Tigers slipped into second place ahead of the Yankees.
In the opener, Jack Morris had a no-hitter until one was out in the seventh and settled for the third 1-hitter in the major leagues in less than 24 hours.
The Orioles took a 4-3 lead into the ninth inning of the second game. But Fred Lynn came up as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded and homered off Tom Niedenfuer to win it.
The Tigers are 4 1/2 games behind, but have only 6 games remaining.
Cincinnati 2, Atlanta 1--The hope is forlorn, but the Reds refuse to die. Kal Daniels singled home Barry Larkin from third base in the eighth inning at Atlanta to give the Reds’ their seventh consecutive victory.
With the Dodgers losing, there is still a mathematical chance for the Reds to tie for the title in the Western Division. But the Reds would have to run their winning streak to 14 and the Dodgers would have to lose their last 7, including a makeup with New York after the season ends, if it is necessary.
John Franco, described by his manager, Pete Rose, as the best reliever in the world, pitched the ninth for his 39th save.
The loss was the Braves’ 102nd, the most for the franchise since 1935 when the Boston Braves were 38-115.
New York 9, St. Louis 7--Dwight Gooden may not get 20 victories, but the surprise ace of the Mets’ staff, David Cone, could.
Although he fell apart in the seventh inning at St. Louis, Cone, with one more start, has a 19-3 record. He struck out 11 before the Cardinals struck for 6 runs in the seventh.
Three of the runs were unearned, so Cone’s 2.23 earned-run average is still best in the majors.
San Diego 9, Houston 1--Greg Harris pitched a 4-hitter and struck out 11 at San Diego in his first major league start. The Padres are only 1 1/2 games out of third place in the NL West.
Milwaukee 4, Oakland 2--Robin Yount homered, doubled and singled at Milwaukee as the Brewers kept their slim hopes alive and ended the Athletics’ 7-game winning streak.
The Brewers are 5 games behind Boston, but have only 5 games to play.
Teddy Higuera went 6 innings to improve his record to 15-9.