Two wins leave the Sox only one game out

August 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.

For four 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.

In the 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.

The Sox (52-51) have picked up 8 games since July 18th and now seem to be playing their best baseball of the season.

The 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.

Esasky's 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.

The 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

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.

The scene 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.

Orioles 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.

Two days 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.

Pinch 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.

 

F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

Game #1

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

1

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

3

6

2

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

0

1

1

0

0

1

2

0

x

 

 

5

9

0

 

 

W-Rob Murphy (2-5)
S-Lee Smith (15)
L-Pete Harnisch (1-5)
Attendance - 35,111

 2B-Boggs (2)(Bost), Rice (Bost), Cerone (Bost),
 Burks (Bost), Worthington (Balt)

 HR-Rivera (Bost)

 

 

F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

Game #2

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

 

 

2

5

0

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

0

0

0

4

0

0

2

0

x

 

 

6

11

0

 

 

W-Wes Gardner (3-6)
L-Dave Johnson (0-1)
 

 2B-Reed (Bost), Boggs (Bost), Orsulak (Balt)

 HR-Esasky (Bost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game #1

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Wade Boggs 3b 4 1 2 .332  

 

Jody Reed 2b 4 0 1 .264  

 

Kevin Romine cf 4 0 1 .313  

 

Danny Heep dh 2 0 0 .314  

 

Randy Kutcher pr/lf 1 1 0 .218  

 

Dwight Evans rf 3 0 0 .270  

 

Nick Esasky 1b 3 1 0 .258  

 

Jim Rice dh 3 0 1 .238  

 

Ellis Burks pr 1 1 1 .283  

 

Luis Rivera ss 3 1 1 .281  

 

Rick Cerone c 4 0 2 .274  

 

    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Joe Dopson 3 4 3 6 0  

 

Dennis lamp 3.1 1 0 1 1  

 

Rob Murphy 1.2 1 0 3 4  

 

Lee Smith 1 0 0 0 3  

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game #2

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Ellis Burks cf 5 1 0 .277  

 

Jody Reed 2b 4 0 1 .264  

 

Wade Boggs 3b 3 2 1 .332  

 

Danny Heep lf 2 1 0 .310  

 

Randy Kutcher lf 1 0 1 .225  

 

Dwight Evans dh 3 1 2 .274  

 

Nick Esasky 1b 4 1 2 .261  

 

Kevin Romine rf 4 0 1 .311  

 

Luis Rivera ss 4 0 2 .287  

 

Rich Gedman c 3 0 1 .198  

 

Ed Romero pr 0 0 0 .212  

 

Rick Cerone c 1 0 0 .272  

 

    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Wes Gardner 7.2 5 2 3 6  

 

Lee Smith 1.1 0 0 0 2  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1989 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

Baltimore Orioles

54 51 -

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX

52

51

1

 

 

Milwaukee Brewers

52 54 2 1/2

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays

52 54 2 1/2

 

 

Cleveland Indians

51 54 3

 

 

New York Yankees

49 56 5

 

 

Detroit Tigers

36 68 17 1/2