Saberhagen Shows He’s Not Finished Yet
Bret Saberhagen heard the whispers in Boston from people wondering whether he was all done. He heard the shouts at Yankee Stadium from fans telling him he was finished.
Those reports, though, turned out to be a bit premature.
Saberhagen looked every bit as sharp as the pitcher who won two Cy Young awards, shutting down the torrid Yankee bats Saturday at New York as the Boston Red Sox stopped a six-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory.
Pounded by the Yankees last weekend, the 34-year-old right-hander came back with his longest start since 1995. Saberhagen (6-3) gave up one run and five singles in 6 2/3 innings.
In the process, he ended his miserable three-game losing string in which he was tagged for 24 hits and 19 runs in 10 innings.
“When the team’s been struggling the way we were, especially the starting pitchers, it’s nice to pick up the team,” he said. “Especially me. There had been a lot of questions about whether I could get the job done.”
“If you can’t get up for a game in the Bronx with 50,000 fans in the stands and people yelling at you that you’re washed up when you’re warming up in the bullpen, then you can’t get up for anything,” he said.
A sellout crowd of 55,191 saw Mo Vaughn hit a two-run homer off Hideki Irabu (4-1). The Red Sox won despite getting only three hits, ending New York’s home winning string at seven.
Saberhagen lasted only 2 2/3 innings against the Yankees in his previous start, part of a streak in which the AL East leaders won four in a row over the Red Sox and outscored them, 40-12.
But Saberhagen struck out six in his first outing of more than six innings since July 29, 1995, his final start for the New York Mets before being traded to Colorado. He sat out most of the previous two seasons because of reconstructive shoulder surgery.
“He was basically a different pitcher than the other day,” said Paul O’Neill, hitless in three at-bats against Saberhagen. “He had his good old stuff.”
Tom Gordon got the last six outs for his major league-leading 19th save in 20 chances. He has not been charged with a run in his last 15 appearances spanning 18 innings.
Irabu began the game with a 1.13 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .174. He hurt himself as much as the Boston batters did, walking a career-high seven.
Toronto 4, Cleveland 2--Woody Williams gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings and Carlos Delgado spoiled a strong pitching performance by Dwight Gooden as the Blue Jays beat the Indians at Toronto.
Williams (6-2) gave up five hits and struck out six in stopping a four-game Indian winning streak. Randy Myers pitched the ninth for his 13th save.
With the Indians ahead, 2-1, in the sixth, Gooden (0-2) gave up two-out walks to Shawn Green and Jose Canseco before giving way to left-hander Alvin Morman to face the left-handed Delgado. After a double steal, Delgado hit a two-run double.
Gooden breezed through the first four innings, giving up only one hit, a first-inning home run to Green. Gooden gave up three runs on two hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.
“Gooden was outstanding,” Indian Manager Mike Hargrove said. “The two-out walks were a little disconcerting, but he deserved a better fate.”
Tampa Bay 5, Seattle 2--Mike Kelly broke a one-for-17 slump with two singles and drove in three runs to lead the Devil Rays over the Mariners at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Knuckleballer Dennis Springer (2-8) ended a personal eight-game losing streak, giving up two hits in five innings to get his first win since April 4.
With two runners on in the sixth inning, Devil Ray Manager Larry Rothschild pulled Springer even though he had a three-run lead.
“I think in a way he was kind of looking out after me,” Springer said. “Maybe he saw something. Whatever he thought, it worked.”
Roberto Hernandez, the fifth Devil Ray pitcher, worked the ninth to finish off a four-hitter and earn his 10th save.
Detroit 6, Chicago 0--Brian Moehler pitched Detroit’s first shutout of the season and Luis Gonzalez and Tony Clark homered as the Tigers beat the White Sox at Detroit.
Joe Randa drove in three runs with three hits and Kimera Bartee scored after each of two doubles for the Tigers.
Detroit’s Damion Easley extended his American League season-best hitting streak to 19 games with a second-inning single.
Texas 10, Baltimore 8--Juan Gonzalez homered twice, giving him 15 for the season, and Lee Stevens hit a two-run shot in the eighth inning as the Rangers beat the Orioles at Baltimore to end a five-game losing streak.
The Rangers blew a five-run lead before rallying for their first win at Camden Yards in nine games since June 1996.
Ivan Rodriguez led off the eighth with his third hit, a single off Sidney Ponson (0-2), and Stevens followed with a 415-foot drive that hit the roof of a barbecue stand on Eutaw Street well beyond the right-field wall.
“He got a pitch he could handle and put a big-time swing on it in a big-time situation,” Texas Manager Johnny Oates said of Stevens’ homer, which went out so fast that right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds never bothered to move.