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American League Roundup : Blue Jays Hit the Wall in a 7-6 Loss to Yankees

The famous wall at Fenway Park is known as the Green Monster. Most pitchers hate the high barrier that looms behind them.

The Toronto Blue Jays are ready to name the right-field wall at Yankee Stadium the Destroyer. Their outfielders hate it.

After building a 6-1 lead Sunday in New York behind Dave Stieb, the Blue Jays wound up losing to the Yankees, 7-6, largely because the wall knocked out two of their outfielders.

The Yankees scored their first run when right fielder Junior Felix ran into the wall trying to catch Don Mattingly’s drive that went for a run-scoring double in the fourth inning.

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Felix suffered a shoulder separation and had to leave the game. Tom Lawless, normally an infielder, replaced Felix, who will be out of the lineup indefinitely. Lawless hit the wall and was knocked out in the ninth inning when Randy Velarde’s fly went for his first major league triple. Velarde scored the winning run when Wayne Tolleson grounded a single to right field.

“Some people harden their infield; we harden our walls,” Yankee Manager Dallas Green said. His team had just overcome a deficit after the sixth inning for only the fourth time in 45 games.

Stieb appeared to be breezing going into the seventh. But he gave up four consecutive hits, including a two-run home run by Mel Hall. Normally reliable reliever Duane Ward (4-2) let the two runners he inherited score, then lost it when Lawless crashed in the ninth.

Although the Yankees are still in sixth place, their victory pulled them to within 5 1/2 games of the reeling Baltimore in the East. Toronto is tied for third with Boston, four games back.

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The Yankees, who had lost nine out of 10 until they won two in a row over the Blue Jays, will take any victory.

“Just a win is important for us,” Mattingly said. “But the way you win is important. To come from behind gives you confidence.”

Kansas City 7, Baltimore 6--With the Orioles plummeting toward the .500 level and no other team apparently good enough to put together a spurt, the East presents a problem.

Never since divisional play began has a team won a pennant with a .500 record. The 1973 New York Mets were the worst (82-79).

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This could be the year. The Orioles, after losing for the 10th time in the last 11 games, are 54-48. All the other teams are at least one game below .500.

Danny Tartabull was largely responsible for the Orioles’ trouble in this one at Kansas City.

Tartabull hit a two-run home run in the first inning, then hammered a two-run single off Gregg Olson in the eighth inning to win it.

Until the Orioles went into their slump, Olson was almost perfect out of the bullpen. But he has now failed four times in a row with a chance for a save.

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“Relief pitchers, like everyone else are subject to slumps,” Oriole Manager Frank Robinson said. “He’ll come out of it.”

Oakland 5, Seattle 3--Dave Stewart, well on his way to his third consecutive 20-win season, became the league’s first 15-game winner in this game at Oakland.

Stewart went 7 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and all the Mariner runs. Rick Honeycutt and Dennis Eckersley stopped the Mariners cold. Eckersley retired the last four Mariners, two on strikes, to earn his 18th save and put the Athletics 1 1/2 games behind the Angels in the West. With their 62-42 record, the A’s would be leading the East by seven games.

Ron Hassey led off the sixth inning with his fifth home run to put Oakland ahead, 4-3, and they stayed there.

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Stewart survived back-to-back home runs by Greg Briley and Alvin Davis in the top of the sixth.

Rickey Henderson walked three times and tripled to extend his streak of reaching base to nine consecutive plate appearances--eight on walks.

Texas 9, Milwaukee 3--Nolan Ryan struck out 10, gave up four hits in 7 1/3 innings and ended Robin Yount’s hitting streak at 19 games in this game at Arlington, Tex.

Harold Baines, the Rangers’ newly acquired designated hitter, was three for four, and Pete Incaviglia hit a three-run home run as Texas ended the Brewers’ four-game winning streak.

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Ryan, in improving his record to 12-6, did not walk a batter.

Despite the loss, the Brewers remained five games of first place in the East.

Boston 5, Cleveland 2--When Mike Boddicker, who was the hottest pitcher in the majors, had to leave after three innings at Cleveland with a stiff right shoulder, the Red Sox did not lose heart.

Relievers Dennis Lamp and Rob Murphy each pitched three scoreless innings, with Lamp (1-1) getting the win and Murphy earning his sixth save.

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Two Cleveland errors and a passed ball helped the Red Sox score three times in the fifth inning and take a 5-2 lead.

Minnesota 14, Detroit 3--The Twins decided not to take batting practice before this game at Detroit. They saved their best swings for Doyle Alexander (5-11).

Although the league’s leading hitter, Kirby Puckett, failed to contribute, the Twins pounded out 16 hits, 12 of them against Alexander in 7 2/3 innings.

Jim Dwyer hit a three-run home run and Kent Hrbek a two-run single in the first inning, and it was a breeze for Allan Anderson (11-9).

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The Tigers were 6-21 in July.


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