The Kansas City Royals have been waiting patiently for Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen to start pitching the way he did a year ago.
If his last three efforts are any indication, it is going to be a long wait for the 1985 World Series champions.
The Cleveland Indians jumped on the 22-year-old right-hander for 7 hits and 7 runs in 3 innings Saturday at Cleveland and went on to beat the slumping Royals, 10-5. It was the sixth win in a row for the surprising Indians and a club-record-tying eighth consecutive loss for the Royals.
In his last three starts, Saberhagen, who was 20-6 with an earned-run average of 2.87 last season, has lasted just eight innings. He has yielded 18 hits and 20 runs, 19 of them earned, and his ERA has soared to 4.51. His record is 4-10.
A year ago, Saberhagen was 8-4 at a similar point in the season but was just starting a string that would give him 10 wins in 11 decisions and bring the Royals from third place to first in the West.
Actually, the Royals aren't much worse off than they were a year ago. After 80 games last season, they were 41-39 and trailed by 5 1/2 games. Now, they are 37-43 and 7 games back.
The Royals insist there is nothing wrong with Saberhagen. Until his last three starts he was claiming that he had pitched well, but his luck was poor.
"I'm not concerned, but just a little frustrated," Saberhagen told the Associated Press. "I didn't have my breaking stuff working today and I got hurt. I can't change my routine. I had the same routine last year when I was winning."
The Indians' Ken Schrom won his sixth game in a row to improve his record to 9-2. He went the distance despite giving up four home runs, two of them to Jorge Orta.
Joe Carter had two home runs for the Indians, and rookie Cory Snyder hit one. Snyder has five home runs in the last seven games and seven in his 20-game major league career.
Snyder's home run and Carter's first homer were off Saberhagen, who departed with one out in the fourth during a four-run rally that broke the game open.
New York 8, Chicago 0--Yankee Manager Lou Piniella is lobbying for pitcher Dennis Rasmussen to make the All-Star team.
In this game at Chicago, Rasmussen improved his record to 9-2 and pitched a three-hitter for his first major league shutout. The 27-year-old left-hander equaled his 1984 career high of nine victories.
"He's been getting the ball over the plate, especially his curve," Piniella said. "He's getting more confident with every start. He deserves to be on the All-Star team and this proves it."
The Yankees hit four home runs, all of them coming on first pitches. Ron Hassey hit a two-run homer, his fourth home run in his last seven hits at Comiskey Park; Mike Pagliarulo hit his 18th home run; Claudell Washington hit his second in four games as a Yankee, and Dan Pasqua hit his sixth.
Minnesota 7, Baltimore 6--The Twins loaded the bases in the first inning at Minneapolis on an error, a walk and an infield hit. Then, Gary Gaetti slammed his 18th home run, and the Orioles never caught up.
"You can't give a team five outs in an inning and win," Oriole Manager Earl Weaver said. "The infield hit came because Juan Beniquez (replacing injured Eddie Murray), was not familiar with first base."
Cal Ripken hit a home run and drove in four runs for the Orioles. In three games against the Twins so far in this series, he has gone 8 for 14 with 7 RBIs.
Seattle 9, Boston 5--The Mariners pounded out 17 hits at Boston, including two doubles that rookie shortstop Rey Quinones probably should have caught in a decisive three-run rally in the seventh.
Quinones came out of an 0-for-23 slump with a fifth-inning double and scored the tying run on Marty Barrett's single. But Quinones misplayed a low line drive by Jim Presley, then leaped too late for Dave Henderson's two-run double.
Texas 9, Detroit 3--On a day in which baseballs were flying out of parks at the rate of about three per game, it remained for Pete Incaviglia of the Rangers to hit the longest.
Pete O'Brien, Larry Parrish and Incaviglia hit home runs in a four-run fourth inning at Arlington, Tex. It was estimated that Incaviglia's homer traveled more than 500 feet.
Ed Correa struck out eight and held the Tigers to five hits in eight innings. One of the hits was Lance Parrish's 18th home run.
Milwaukee 2, Oakland 1--Eric Plunk took a two-hitter into the bottom of the ninth at Milwaukee, but he came out a loser. He gave up a walk and two singles before rookie Dave Sveum singled in the winning run off reliever Steve Ontiveros. It was the A's seventh loss in a row.