‘Nervous’ Stieb Returns in Blue Jays’ Rout

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Toronto’s big lead enabled Dave Stieb to make a pressure-free return to the major leagues, although the 40-year-old pitcher was still jittery during his first appearance in five years.

Alex Gonzalez had three hits and a homer and Stieb pitched a scoreless ninth inning Thursday night in the visiting Blue Jays’ 13-6 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.

Shannon Stewart and Shawn Green also had three hits for the Blue Jays, who reached a season high with 18 hits and ended a three-game losing streak. Toronto had a hit in every inning but the ninth.

Stieb, who spent the past three months pitching in the minor leagues, gave up three hits but no runs. It was his first outing in the majors since May 22, 1993, with the Chicago White Sox.


“Just nervous, waiting to get through it and get it over with. Hopefully, it’s the beginning of the second part,” said Stieb, the winningest pitcher in Toronto history. “It was ugly. I was by no means sharp. . . . I was just trying to throw strikes, not paint the corners.”

Toronto Manager Tim Johnson said, “I’m just glad to get him in a situation like this. All the newness is now gone. I just wanted to get him in there.”

The final out came on a fly ball by Lenny Webster.

“Same old Stieb. Lots of sliders,” Webster said. “His slider wasn’t as good as it used to be, but it was good enough. I admire him. He probably missed the game and didn’t finish the way he wanted to.”


Harold Baines went four for five and had a season-high four RBIs, but it wasn’t nearly enough offense to overcome a shoddy pitching performance by the Orioles.

Cal Ripken made an error in the inning, halting Baltimore’s bid to tie a team record with 13 consecutive errorless games.

Kansas City 5, Detroit 3--Jeff King hit a two-run double and Dean Palmer homered at Detroit as the Royals won for the fourth time in their last five games.

King doubled in a three-run fifth inning that gave the Royals a 4-1 lead and ended Tiger left-hander Justin Thompson’s second-shortest start of the season.


Pat Rapp (6-6), who lost to Detroit in his last start, gave up two runs on eight hits in six-plus innings. Jeff Montgomery got three outs for his 13th save.

Thompson (5-7) lasted only 4 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on nine hits. He struck out three and walked none.

New York 5, Cleveland 2--Scott Brosius’ bases-loaded walk started a three-run Yankee ninth inning that led to a victory at Cleveland.

It was the Yankees’ first appearance at Jacobs Field since losing Game 5 of the AL division series last October, and the second meeting between the division leaders this season.


Brosius drew his walk on the 11th pitch from reliever Mike Jackson, who entered the game after the Yankees loaded the bases with one out against Paul Assenmacher (2-4).

After Brosius walked, Chuck Knoblauch singled off first baseman Jim Thome’s glove for one run, and another run scored on the play when second baseman David Bell threw wildly trying to get Knoblauch at first.

Jeff Nelson (4-3) got the final out in the eighth inning, and Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 15th save.

Kenny Lofton went three for four and drove in both Cleveland runs.


New York starter Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez took a five-hit shutout into the seventh inning before the Indians tied it, 2-2, on Lofton’s two-out, two-run single.

Hernandez gave up two runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Boston 7, Tampa Bay 5--Troy O’Leary tripled off Jim Mecir to drive in two runs in the 10th inning and give the Red Sox a victory at St. Petersburg, Fla.

John Wasdin (4-3), the fourth of five Boston pitchers, worked one perfect inning for the victory. Tom Gordon pitched the 10th to earn his 21st save in 22 opportunities.


O’Leary tripled into the gap in left-center field to drive in pinch-runner Steve Avery and Jim Leyritz after Esteban Yan (4-1) walked Mo Vaughn and Leyritz with one out.

The Red Sox bullpen blew a 5-3 lead in the eighth. Jim Corsi struck out the first two batters before giving up a double to Wade Boggs and walking Fred McGriff.

Ron Mahay replaced Corsi and gave up a double to pinch-hitter Bobby Smith that drove in two runs to tie the game and ruin a bid by Boston starter Derek Lowe to win for the first time in nearly a year.

Vaughn had two hits and two RBIs, and Scott Hatteberg hit a solo homer off knuckleballer Dennis Springer. Leyritz, who had three hits, added a RBI double and Mike Benjamin drove in a run with a second-inning single.


Minnesota 4, Chicago 1--Marty Cordova drove in three runs to help Bob Tewksbury end a five-game losing streak as the Twins won a rain-shortened game at Chicago.

The game was stopped after five innings and a 1-hour, 56-minute rain delay.

Cordova hit a leadoff homer in the second and a two-run single in the third to match his season high for RBIs.

Tewksbury (4-8) won his first game since April 29. He gave up five hits and walked one over five innings.