In Chicago they call him Thigpen, the king of the pen.
That's Bobby Thigpen, the 27-year-old right-hander who is playing a prominent part in keeping the White Sox in the pennant race.
Thigpen closed the door on the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning Tuesday night at Chicago after Carlton Fisk's bases-loaded double brought the White Sox from behind to a 4-1 victory.
The White Sox have won three in a row, the Athletics' have lost three in a row and Chicago has narrowed the gap in the American League West to 4 1/2 games. The White Sox are only three behind in the loss column.
Mike Moore (10-12) has had two major problems this season after winning 19 games during the regular season and two more in the World Series in 1989. He has had control problems and a lack of offensive support. In six of his defeats the Athletics have scored no runs or one run.
He had a two-hitter going into the bottom of the seventh when his control problem emerged. He walked two after Dan Pasqua opened the inning with a double.
Rick Honeycutt relieved Moore and Fisk batted for Robin Ventura. Fisk lashed a drive down the left-field line and three runs scored to make a winner of Greg Hibbard (10-7). For the season, the White Sox hold a 6-3 edge on the A's, including five in a row.
Thigpen earned his 41st save, tops in the majors. Sunday he became the 10th pitcher to get 40 saves in a season, doing it in 118 games--the earliest anyone ever got 40 saves. He is only five away from Dave Righetti's record of 46 in 1986.
"I don't know anything about being first or the most or anything," Thigpen said. "It doesn't mean anything. My only goal is to help us win the West."
Thigpen had 34 saves in each of the last two seasons. But, with a better team, he gets more chances. He has six blown chances; when he failed to hold a 3-1 lead Aug. 13, White Sox fans booed him.
"I can understand the reaction of the fans," he said. "That's my job to save the lead. The fans felt bad about it."
Baltimore 9, Boston 5--Just about the time it seems the Orioles are out of the race in the East, they make another move.
Joe Orsulak had a two-run single in a four-run first at Boston, then singled to start a three-run third and the Orioles moved to within seven games of the Red Sox.
The Orioles built a 9-1 lead for John Mitchell (6-5), but he needed help from three relievers.
Former Dodger Mike Marshall hit his first AL home run in the eighth for Boston.
Roberto Kelly had three hits at New York and stole home as the Yankees won their fifth in a row.
Steve Balboni, playing against left-hander John Candelaria in place of rookie Kevin Maas, hit his 13th home run.
Candelaria (7-6) lost for the first time to the Yankees after four victories. It was his second start for the Blue Jays and he lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up all three runs.
Kansas City 8, Minnesota 7--This series at Kansas City began as a battle to avoid last place in the West, but now the Royals' sights are set much higher.
Willie Wilson and Jim Eisenreich each drove in two runs and the Royals staved off two late rallies to pull 5 1/2 games ahead of the last-place Twins.
The Royals trail third-place Texas by only 2 1/2 games.
George Brett, who has triggered the Royals' surge, had a triple, scored three runs and drove in another.
Milwaukee 6, Cleveland 5--Pinch-hitter Greg Brock singled over a drawn-in outfield with one out in the ninth at Milwaukee to give the Brewers the victory.
Brock's single off Jesse Orosco scored Colby Ward from third base to give the Brewers seven victories in their last eight games.
Dave Parker hit his 16th homer for the Brewers.
Seattle 4, Texas 3--Dave Valle hit his first home run in 108 at-bats to break a tie in the sixth inning at Arlington, Tex.
But, before the Mariners ended their four-game losing streak, they had to cut down the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth.