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American League Roundup : Yount's Hitting Keeps Him (and Brewers) in the Running

June 16, 1986|DAN HAFNER

Although it seems that Robin Yount has been around forever, the Milwaukee Brewers look upon him as a member of their youth movement.

After all, the onetime boy wonder is only 30 and is playing his first full season as a center fielder. Moreover, he is coming back from off-season shoulder surgery for the second year in a row.

Whatever you think of Yount--a 13-year veteran or an inexperienced outfielder--he is a key reason why the Brewers are doing surprisingly well in the tough American League East.

Yount, the No. 2 hitter in the majors with a .360 average, hit a two-run home run and drove in another run with a double Sunday at Milwaukee to lead the Brewers to a 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox. By winning two out of three from the leaders of the East, the Brewers moved within 7 1/2 games of the top.

Ben Oglivie also drove in three runs with a home run and double to help another talented rookie, Juan Nieves, improve his record to 6-2.

Nieves, a 21-year-old left-hander, gave up nine hits and three runs in seven innings. Mark Clear pitched two hitless innings to earn his fifth save.

Wade Boggs, the top hitter in baseball (.382), celebrated his 28th birthday with a run-scoring double in the first inning. But, when he lined out in the second inning, he aggravated a rib injury and had to leave.

"Today's the worst it's been. I had trouble breathing," he said. In 1982, Yount, who started his career with Milwaukee in 1974 when he was 18, was considered the premiere shortstop in baseball and was the American League's Most Valuable Player. A shoulder problem developed late in the 1984 season. He shifted to the outfield last season and before the season ended he needed surgery again on the right shoulder.

"My shoulder hurt most of the time last season," Yount said. "But, it no longer hurts. I get more used to playing center all the time. The enthusiasm of the youngsters has been catching.

"There were times in the last two years when it was really tough just to go out there. It doesn't help when you're losing all the time, either. Now, it's fun to play again. I like the future of the Brewers."

Minnesota 7, Cleveland 3--Kent Hrbek, Roy Smalley and Gary Gaetti hit home runs at Cleveland to pace the Twins. The Indians had home runs by Carmen Castillo and rookie Cory Snyder off Frank Viola (6-5), but Frank Pastore shut the door with 1 hitless innings.

"That's what, 93 (home runs) now?" asked Twins Manager Ray Miller. "The best part is that it's spread around."

The Twins easily lead the majors with the 93 homers, and five of their players are already in double figures. Gaetti hit his 15th to join Tom Brunansky and Kirby Puckett at that mark. Hrbek has 13, Smalley 11.

Baltimore 4, New York 3--Rookie Doug Drabek, in his first major league start, joined the small list of those pitchers removed while working on a no-hitter in this game at Baltimore.

Drabek had a 1-0 lead, but walked the first two batters in the fifth and, when he went 2-0 on the next batter, Yankee Manager Lou Piniella gave him the hook.

Drabek shouldn't feel too bad. In 1970, Clay Kirby--pitching for San Diego--had a no-hitter going through eight innings when Manager Preston Gomez lifted him for a pinch-hitter with two outs in the eighth and the Padres losing to the New York Mets, 1-0. The Mets went on to score two runs in the ninth off the relief pitcher.

The Orioles finally pulled out Sunday's game with two runs in the eighth. Lee Lacy had a check-swing single to start the rally and Cal Ripken doubled in the tying run. Mike Young, mired in a 2-for-21 slump, singled in the winning run.

Rickey Henderson continued to feast on Oriole pitching. He went 2 for 4, including a home run. In the four-game series, he was 7 for 13, had 5 walks, stole 5 bases, scored 7 runs and drove in 6.

Toronto 9, Detroit 6--Pinch-hit home runs are the rage these days in Toronto. Garth Iorg hit a three-run home run to highlight a seven-run sixth inning for the Blue Jays. It was the first ever pinch homer for Iorg, but the fourth by a Blue Jay in the last three games.

Iorg had been 0 for 13 and 1 for 20.

Oakland 9, Texas 2--Chris Codiroli pitched six scoreless innings at Oakland and four different A's, including Dave Kingman, drove in two runs.

The A's had an easy time with the leaders of the West mainly because of the wildness of Bobby Witt. In four innings the hard-throwing rookie gave up seven runs and walked seven batters.

Seattle 10, Chicago 5--Dave Henderson, who homered earlier, and Steve Yeager hit two-run singles in a six-run eighth inning at Seattle that enabled the Mariners to win despite a White Sox triple play.

In the second inning, with Alvin Davis on third and Jim Presley on first, Ken Phelps hit a fly to Jerry Hairston in left, who threw out Davis, trying to score from third. Presley got a late start for second and catcher Carlton Fisk threw him out to complete the triple play.

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