AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Clemens, Nagy Sharp for Boston
Two of the sharpest pitchers in the American League performed Saturday at Boston. Unfortunately for the fans, Roger Clemens and Steve Nagy didn’t pitch against each other.
Clemens (9-3) pitched a strong eight innings for his sixth consecutive victory as the Red Sox beat Cleveland, 5-1, in the first game of a doubleheader.
Charles Nagy (7-3) won the second game, 3-1, holding the Red Sox to five hits in 8 1/3 innings. Steve Olin got Ellis Burks on a double play to end it.
Clemens leads the majors with an earned-run average of 1.56, and Nagy is third in the American League at 2.44.
Nagy, winner of three in a row, has become the ace on a team trying to escape the cellar in the Eastern Division. Clemens has been pitching the way he did in 1986, when he was 24-4.
In his previous five victories, Clemens had two shutouts and went eight innings--giving up only four runs--in the other three. In 42 innings he gave up only 21 hits and walked only five batters.
It probably explains why after giving up nine hits and two walks in eight innings Saturday, Clemens believed he didn’t pitch well.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, but getting the job done was satisfying,” he said. “They hit a couple of balls hard. That’s when I had to put a little extra on my fastball.”
Mike Hargrove of the Indians probably summed up the feeling of most opposing managers when he said, “When Roger’s struggling, he’s still the best pitcher in baseball.”
Phil Plantier provided the offense for Clemens in the opener. Plantier hit his first home run since his first at-bat of the season and had two other hits, driving in three runs.
Carlos Martinez hit a two-run home run in the nightcap to lead the seven-hit attack on Frank Viola (5-4). Viola is 0-2 in his last four starts.
“I don’t consider myself the ace of the staff,” Nagy said. “I’m not overpowering the way Clemens is.”
Oakland 6, Chicago 4--The White Sox held home run leader Mark McGwire to singles at Chicago, but both of them drove in runs and helped the Athletics to their fifth victory in a row.
An error by third baseman Carney Lansford helped the White Sox to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but they lost their fourth in a row, 10th in the last 11, and fell 6 1/2 games behind the Athletics, leaders of the West.
Dave Stewart (4-5) gave up four hits and one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.
Dennis Eckersley pitched a scoreless ninth for his 21st save in 21 opportunities. The record for consecutive saves in one season is 25 by Toronto’s Tom Henke. Counting the last four in 1991, Eckersley has 25 in a row.
Detroit 6, New York 2--Lou Whitaker hit a single at New York for his 2,000th hit. His next hit was a home run as he led the Tigers to victory.
Bill Gullickson (7-3) held the Yankees hitless until Matt Nokes singled with one out in the fifth inning. He lost his shutout when Randy Velarde hit a two-run homer with two out in the seventh. It was only the second home run for Velarde, a .233 hitter.
Steve Howe pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Yankees.
Toronto 4, Baltimore 3--The Blue Jays, in regaining first place in the East, built a 4-0 lead by the third inning at Baltimore and almost blew it.
Jack Morris struggled for six innings, giving up five hits, four walks and three runs, before the bullpen took over. Duane Ward went two innings and Tom Henke pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.
Joe Carter had a two-run triple and Dave Winfield, batting .310, had two doubles to lead the Blue Jays.
Kansas City 4, Seattle 3--Wally Joyner hit a two-run double with two out in the ninth inning at Kansas City to cap a three-run rally that gave the Royals their fourth victory in a row.
Randy Kramer, in his Seattle debut, gave up a run and seven hits in six innings. But Mike Schooler (0-4) couldn’t hold the lead in the ninth.
Minnesota 6, Texas 1--Nolan Ryan, for the ninth time, failed to get his first victory. He gave up five runs, three of them earned, in seven innings at Arlington, Tex.
The 45-year-old right-hander threw 136 pitches. He gave up seven hits, walked four, struck out five and hit a batter in falling to 0-2.