Two wins leave the Sox only
one game out
1, 1989 ... The Sox are one victory from
taking over first place in the AL East; they have embarked on their
longest winning streak of the season, five games; and they have
awakened their fans, especially the 70,012 who came to Fenway Park
and watched the Red Sox sweep a day-night doubleheader from the
Baltimore Orioles, 5-3 and 6-2.
months, the race in the AL East has been mocked to extremes, but today was
filled with memorable scenes that seemed to raise it to legitimacy. In the first
game, there was lefthander Rob Murphy sprinting off the field after striking out
Mickey Tettleton with the bases loaded in the seventh; Randy Kutcher tagging up
on a bunted foul pop to the catcher; Ellis Burks driving in the go-ahead run in
his first at-bat off the disabled list; and Lee Smith striking out the side to
end the game.
second, there was Nick Esasky staring into the net at a three-run homer; Wade
Boggs flicking another clinical double off the Wall; Dwight Evans slashing
clutch RBI singles; and Wes Gardner throwing a wicked offspeed pitch he
seemingly had lost since the second half of last season.
(52-51) have picked up 8 games since July 18th and now seem to be playing their
best baseball of the season.
bullpen did not give up a run all day. Dennis Lamp pitched 3 1/3 one-hit
scoreless innings in Game 1. Smith saved both games (Nos. 15 and 16); for one
stretch this season, he went six weeks without getting three saves. His last
three came in a span of 23 hours 40 minutes.
18th homer, a monumental blast, came in the fourth off righthander Dave Johnson
(0-1), who was activated between games, and it gave Boston a 4-0 lead. Luis
Rivera hit his third in Game 1. Boggs, who returned to his favored No. 3 spot
when Burks made his first start since June 14 in the second game, had three more
doubles, giving him 11 in the past seven games at Fenway.
Orioles have won just one game (in 13 innings) on the trip, however, and
yesterday encompassed everything that has made it a disaster. For the fifth time
on the trip, they blew a lead from the sixth inning on. Their luck was
characterized by right fielder Joe Orsulak losing Jim Rice's sixth-inning fly in
the sun, setting up the tying run, and by Cal Ripken and Craig Worthington
taking called third strikes to end both games.
Kutcher has come to stand for the antithesis to the lethargy that has
overwhelmed the Red Sox for decades. He hustled his way onto the team during
spring training, and every move he makes seems to stand as evidence that above
all, he means it, particularly today. He tagged up when Evans, who has one
sacrifice bunt this season, squared and popped foul to Tettleton.
had to make a difficult play and was sprawled on the ground when Kutcher took
off, but it was a gamble nonetheless. His throw was short, and it bounced off
shortstop Cal Ripken and rolled into center field. Kutcher raced into third.
then shifted to Burks, who last played in a game June 14th, when he tore
cartilage in his left shoulder diving for a ball against the Tigers. He had been
rehabilitating at Pawtucket, but had only 3 hits in 21 at-bats, and PawSox
manager Ed Nottle warned that he was best used only in case of emergency.
Regardless, the crowd was chanting Burks' first name when he came to the plate.
manager Frank Robinson replaced Harnisch with righthander Mike Smith, and Burks
ripped a line drive just inside the third-base line, scoring Kutcher with the
go-ahead run and moving Esasky to third. Esasky, who had been walked
intentionally, scored on Rivera's line-drive out to center, and the game was
left to Murphy and Smith, whose fastball appear to have become much stronger
since the All-Star break.
removed from an exhausting, three-inning save in Cleveland, Murphy was smoking.
He entered in the seventh to face righthanded batter Mike Devereaux after Lamp
gave up his only hit, a leadoff Wall double by Worthington.
runner Rene Gonzales went to third on Bill Ripken's ground ball before Murphy
entered the game. Murphy walked Devereaux, then ripped off his most riveting
performance of the year. He struck Phil Bradley, walked Cal Ripken
intentionally, then blew a fastball past Tettleton.