Blair Hit in Head by Line Drive in Tiger Win

From Associated Press

Everyone who saw the ball come off Julio Franco’s bat and strike Detroit pitcher Willie Blair in the head was thankful the pitcher wound up with just a broken jaw.

“I heard it from center field,” Detroit’s Brian Hunter said after the Tigers defeated the Indians, 2-0, in a game overshadowed by Blair getting hit in the head by a line drive back to the mound at Cleveland. “I heard a loud, popping sound, like it came off the bat and then came off the bat again.”

Blair sustained a fractured jaw when he was struck by Franco’s liner in the sixth--a drive clocked at 107 mph by a radar gun behind home plate.


Blair was taken off the field in an ambulance after shutting out his former team for 5 2/3 innings.

The Tigers said Blair (3-2) would be hospitalized overnight. The Tigers said it was not yet determined if he would need surgery.

“The sound of it was just horrible,” Detroit Manager Buddy Bell said. “When I got out there, he said, ‘Make sure everybody knows I’m OK.’ ”

Detroit ended a 13-game losing streak against Cleveland that included the first season sweep in team history last season. The Tigers, who last defeated the Indians in their final meeting of 1995, also ended a losing streak of 15 games at Jacobs Field.

New York 13, Kansas City 5--Tino Martinez homered twice and drove in four runs and the Yankees had five homers at Kansas City.

Cecil Fielder, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada also homered for the Yankees. New York last hit five home runs on July 22, 1993, against the Angels.


Martinez, who leads the majors with 40 RBIs, added a double and single to the Yankees’ season-high total of 19 hits. Posada and Tim Raines each had three hits, and New York won for the 11th time in 15 games.

“I felt good up there,” Martinez said. “I got good pitches to hit and hit them hard.”

Brian Boehringer (1-1) relieved a wild Kenny Rogers and earned the victory.

“[Rogers] was the big disappointment of the day,” Yankee Manager Joe Torre said about Rogers, who lasted only 2 2/3 innings and left after walking four batters in the third inning. “He’s fighting himself and not trusting his stuff. He’s trying to do too many things.”

Texas 7, Boston 6--Bill Ripken, playing because shortstop Benji Gil was injured, singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as the Rangers rallied from a five-run deficit at Arlington, Texas.

Boston led, 5-0, in the fourth and 6-2 before Texas tied the score on Will Clark’s three-run homer in the fifth and Juan Gonzalez’s infield single in the sixth--his first run batted in of the season.

In the seventh, Damon Buford doubled off Butch Henry (2-2) and Ripken singled for his fifth RBI in 29 at-bats this season.

Danny Patterson (3-3) pitched two hitless innings with four strikeouts. John Wetteland pitched a one-hit ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.


Seattle 9, Milwaukee 0--Jamie Moyer, in his second start of the season, combined with Scott Sanders on a six-hitter at Seattle.

Dan Wilson drove in four runs with a double and single and Moyer (1-0), who started the season on the disabled list because of a strained left forearm, pitched seven innings. He gave up five singles and two walks and struck out one.

The Brewers loaded the bases on a hit and two walks in the sixth, but Moyer got Marc Newfield to ground out, preserving a 3-0 lead.

Toronto 1, Minnesota 0--Pat Hentgen struck out 10 and pitched a four-hitter in a victory at Toronto.

Bob Tewksbury lost despite a four-hitter, thanks to an RBI single by Carlos Delgado in the fourth inning. Minnesota has lost 10 of its past 11 games.

Hentgen, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, walked one and retired 17 consecutive batters. It was his seventh career shutout and first complete game of the season.


Hentgen (2-1) gave up singles to Chuck Knoblauch and Matt Lawton in the first, but did not give up another baserunner until Lawton walked with one out in the seventh.

Hentgen has now pitched at least seven innings in 22 of his last 23 starts. Knoblauch, in the first inning, was the only Minnesota runner to get past second base.

Tewksbury (1-5) struck out two and walked two in his second complete game of the season.




Player: Tino Martinez

Team: New York

Performance: 4 for 5, 4 RBIs, 3 runs, 2 home runs

Team’s Result: Win


Player: Dan Wilson

Team: Seattle

Performance: 2 for 4, 4 RBIs, double

Team’s Result: Win


Player: Will Clark

Team: Texas

Performance: 2 for 4, 3 RBIs, 2 runs, home run, double

Team’s Result: Win


Player: Pat Hentgen

Team: Toronto

Performance: 9 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 10 strikeouts

Team’s Result: Win


Player: Rocky Coppinger

Team: Baltimore

Performance: 6 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 9 strikeouts

Team’s Result: Win


Player: Jamie Moyer

Team: Seattle

Performance: 7 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs

Team’s Result: Win