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American League Roundup : Vuckovich, Starting Over, Defeats White Sox

April 25, 1985|DAN HAFNER

Pete Vuckovich, making his first start in more than a year, gained his first victory since he won the Cy Young Award in 1982 when he went seven strong innings Wednesday night at Chicago in Milwaukee's 3-2 victory.

Vuckovich, bothered by shoulder problems since before the 1982 World Series, didn't pitch last season and appeared in only three games in 1983. After a good spring training, the Brewers picked a warm night for his return.

The 32-year-old right-hander had a shaky start, giving up a single to Rudy Law and a two-run homer to Harold Baines in the first inning. After that, though, he held the White Sox to four hits in the last 6 innings he pitched.

It was Vuckovich's first victory since Sept. 20, 1982. He insisted he never doubted that he would return.

"I feel fine," he said. "There was no pain. I put us behind, but I made them hit the ball to someone the rest of the night."

Boston 7, New York 6--No sooner had Jim Rice hit his fourth home run of the season in the seventh inning to win this game in New York than rumors started flying again that Yogi Berra is on his way out as manager of the Yankees.

Reportedly, unless the Yankees win tonight, owner George Steinbrenner will try to persuade Earl Weaver to take over his faltering team.

The Yankees also had another sloppy performance from Rickey Henderson. In his second game as a Yankee Henderson again was hitless and he misplayed a ball in center field that helped the Red Sox get a four-run first inning.

Cleveland 7, Detroit 6--If the Tigers are going to duplicate last season's remarkable start, they are going to have to win their next 27 games.

Relief pitcher Aurelio Lopez chose to pitch to George Vukovich, a .209 batter, with the score tied, one out and the potential winning run on second in the ninth at Cleveland. Vukovich smashed a single to right to give the Indians the victory.

It was the fifth loss in 13 games for the champions, who compiled a 35-5 record to begin last season and put an early end to the Eastern Division pennant race.

The Tigers are struggling this season and their once magnificent bullpen is having its problems. Manager Sparky Anderson defended his strategy after the wild pitch by Lopez put Joe Carter on second base.

"There were two balls and two strikes on him," Anderson said, "and Vukovich is hitting .220. I don't think he's Mickey Mantle or anybody."

The Tigers have lost five of their last seven games, while the Indians, generally expected to finish last in the East, have won six of nine. In succession, they have won two out of three from New York, Baltimore and the Tigers.

Behind Neal Heaton, the Indians built a 6-2 lead entering the eighth. But a two-run home run by Larry Herndon triggered the tying rally.

Vukovich untied it.

Minnesota 10, Seattle 0--The pitching is getting sharp, Kent Hrbek is starting to hit, and the Twins are moving into contention.

Mike Smithson, who was struggling when the Twins opened by winning only two of their first 11, pitched a four-hitter at Minneapolis to give the Twins their fourth victory in a row.

Hrbek, hitting only .137 going into the game, hit a ball 429 feet for his first home run of the season.

It was the eighth loss in nine games on the road for the Mariners, who are 6-0 at home.

In three of the victories in the winning streak, the Twins have had outstanding pitching from John Butcher, Frank Viola and Smithson.

Toronto 10, Kansas City 2--Luis Leal wasn't quite programmed to go nine in this game at Toronto, but he credited the mild weather for his first solid performance this season.

Leal, 13-8 last season, had a one-hitter and had faced the minimum 24 batters going into the ninth. But Greg Pryor and Onix Concepcion, two guys not noted for their power, hit home runs and Leal didn't even finish.

The Blue Jays bombed Bret Saberhagen and Larry Gura for all their runs and 12 hits in the first five innings.

Baltimore 2, Texas 1--Mike Young hit his second home run in two nights at Arlington, Tex., to help Mike Boddicker pick up his second victory.

Boddicker (2-1) gave up six hits in eight innings to run his record against the Rangers to 6-0. Tippy Martinez got the last two outs to record his second save.

Fred Lynn led off the second inning with a single and Young followed with his home run.

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