Almost unnoticed, Ron Robinson has become one of the most effective pitchers in the major leagues.
After struggling with shoulder problems for several seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, the 28-year-old right-hander has become the ace of the Milwaukee Brewer staff.
Robinson gave the Toronto Blue Jays pennant hopes a jolt Wednesday night at Milwaukee when he pitched a seven-hitter in the Brewers' 6-0 victory.
With the Boston Red Sox snapping out of their hitting slump, the Blue Jays' lead in the American League East was cut to a half-game.
Robinson (12-4) won for the eighth time in his last nine decisions. He had won seven in a row until last Friday, when he lost to Baltimore on three unearned runs despite pitching a four-hitter.
Wednesday, he had to work out of several jams to preserve the lead Paul Molitor gave him with his 12th home run. It was the 27th time he led off a game with a home run.
The Blue Jays had runners on second and third with one out in the third inning and loaded the bases with two out in the fifth. Second baseman Jim Gantner saved Robinson in the fifth when he went behind the bag for Rance Mulliniks' grounder and barely got the force out at second.
The Blue Jays were without third baseman Kelly Gruber, who has the flu.
Boston 7, Cleveland 2--The Red Sox scored more runs in the first inning of this game at Boston than they scored in any of the previous six games.
Fortified with five runs, rookie Dana Kiecker (8-9) overcame wildness to go six innings and give the Red Sox their fourth victory in the last 12 games.
Despite the skid, the Red Sox are in a postion in which they can move into a tie for first place by winning at Detroit tonight. That would set the stage for a three-game weekend series at Boston with Toronto.
Kiecker gave up only two hits in six innings, but he put a strain on Manager Joe Morgan's nerves when he walked seven batters.
Luis Rivera's two-run single climaxed a first inning in which there were five hits, two errors, a balk and a wild pitch by Tom Candiotti (14-11).
In the fifth inning, Mike Greenwell hit his 14th home run. It was the Red Sox's 100th home run of the season, a figure they have reached 44 times in 45 years. They failed only in strike-shortened 1981.
Kiecker, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 59-66 in seven years in the minors. He figures he can win one more for the Red Sox to reach .500.
"From now on, it's going to be fun," Kiecker said. "That's what it's all about. Now is a good time to peak. I definitely didn't put on a clinic with all those walks."
In the seventh inning, after his seventh walk, Kiecker was replaced by Larry Andersen, who surrendered his first run in his 12th relief appearance for the Red Sox. Jeff Gray took over in the ninth.
Oakland 3, Kansas City 2--Bob Welch became the first pitcher in 18 years to win 26 games and set a club record for victories in this game at Kansas City.
It is the most victories in a season since Steve Carlton won 27 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1972.
Until this victory, Welch (26-6) was tied with Catfish Hunter for the Oakland victory mark.
Willie McGee scored twice for the Athletics and Mark McGwire scored one run and drove in another.
"It's something special," Welch said after giving up nine hits in 7 2/3 innings. "It didn't feel right going down to warm up with Dave Duncan. He's been with me all year."
Duncan, the Athletics' pitching coach, left the team because his wife was injured in an auto accident in Arizona.
Welch needed help in the eighth inning from Rick Honeycutt, and Dennis Eckersley pitched the ninth, striking out two for his 45th save.
George Brett went one for three and remained at .330 in the batting race. The A's Rickey Henderson, who is batting .324, did not play.
Seattle 8, Detroit 4--Erik Hanson struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings at Detroit to reach 204 strikeouts, the first Mariner right-hander to get 200.
Hanson (17-9) made Cecil Fielder one of his victims. Fielder was hitless and needs two home runs in his last seven games to reach 50.
New York 4, Baltimore 2--Dave Righetti pitched a perfect ninth inning at New York for his 223rd save, most for a left-hander.
Righetti saved it for Chuck Cary (6-11), who tore the nail on the middle finger of his left hand and had to leave in the seventh inning.
The Yankees have won 65 games this season and Righetti has saved 35 of them.
Steve Balboni hit his 17th home run and Jesse Barfield had three hits to lead the Yankees.
Chicago 3, Minnesota 1--The White Sox were eliminated in the West Tuesday night, but they are still tied with Pittsburgh (90-65) for the second-best record in the majors.
Greg Hibbard (14-9) gave up three hits in eight innings and Bobby Thigpen worked out of a jam in the ninth to extend his record for saves to 54.