In their next-to-last tuneup for the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers, the New York Mets found that burly left-hander Sid Fernandez is ready to pitch.
Fernandez (12-10) gave up just 1 hit and struck out 8 in 6 innings at New York Saturday in a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. Bullpen aces Roger McDowell and Randy Myers finished up, and each had a scare.
McDowell followed Fernandez to the mound. He threw up his glove at the last moment to grab Johnny Morris’ line drive, which was headed for McDowell’s chest.
Myers, the Mets’ most dependable reliever this season, pitched the ninth, giving up all of the Cardinal runs, two coming on home runs by Pedro Guerrero and Tom Brunansky. Tony Pena hit a hard smash that hit Myers in the shoulder and caromed off his head into the outfield for a double. Myers, apparently unhurt, was removed from the game immediately.
Fernandez still may not face the Dodgers. When Bob Ojeda almost severed part of a finger on his pitching hand, Fernandez became the probable starter in the fourth game of the playoffs. However, if the Mets were to trail by 2-1 or 3-0, Fernandez would probably not get the call.
If they don’t see Fernandez, the Dodgers will be fortunate. In the first place, left-handers have given them trouble, and he’s the Mets’ only left-handed starter. Also, with the exception of David Cone, he has been the most-consistent starter since the Mets started pulling away from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL East in mid-August.
In his last 10 starts--one of which he left after an inning because of a stiff shoulder--Fernandez has pitched 55 innings and yielded 36 hits and 14 runs for an earned-run average of 2.26. He has struck out almost a batter an inning and is 5-0 since Aug. 9.
A crowd of 36,528 enabled the Mets to pass 3 million in attendance for the second year in a row.
Cleveland 1, Boston 0--In this year of the pitcher, hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t have a good shot at a no-hitter.
In a game at Cleveland, Jeff Sellers (1-7) of the Red Sox, making his first start since June, held the Indians hitless until Luis Medina hit a home run with one out in the eighth for the only run.
Detroit 6, New York 5--Friday, the Yankees thought they had a good chance to tie for the title in the East. Then Saturday, after Chet Lemon hit his third home run in less than 20 hours, the Yankees fell all the way into fifth place.
Tommy John held the Tigers hitless for 5 innings but was the victim of non-support in the sixth, when the Tigers scored 5 unearned runs to tie the game at Detroit.
Claudell Washington, Randy Velarde and Ken Phelps hit home runs to help build the 5-0 Yankee lead. But shortstop Velarde’s throwing error in the sixth let the Tigers back in the game.
Milwaukee 8, Oakland 3--Ted Higuera (16-9) lost his chance to win the ERA title in the American League when he gave up 3 earned runs in 6 innings at Oakland.
Higuera’s ERA went up to 2.451. When Minnesota Manager Tom Kelly learned that Allan Anderson’s ERA is 2.446, he decided not to pitch Anderson against the Angels today. Anderson, a rookie left-hander with a 16-9 record, thus won the AL’s ERA title.
Mark McGwire hit his 32nd home run and drove in all the A’s runs.
Chicago 9, Pittsburgh 7--Rafael Palmeiro hit his first grand slam and drove in 5 runs at Chicago to pace the Cubs. He went 2 for 3 to boost his average to .308 and assure him one of the few .300-plus seasons in the National League.
San Diego 6, Houston 3--The Padres moved up to third place in the NL West with this win at Houston. Tony Gwynn virtually nailed down his second consecutive batting title when he went 2 for 3 and raised his average to .312.