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American League Roundup : 3 Homers Blyleven's Downfall

July 09, 1986|DAN HAFNER

The Metrodome in Minneapolis has earned the nickname of the Homerdome. The Minnesota Twins' hitters love the place and are hitting home runs at a record pace.

The Twins' pitchers, on the other hand, aren't too fond of the place, where pop flies seem to carry over the fences.

Bert Blyleven is no exception. The 35-year-old right-hander is on his way to a record he doesn't figure to cherish.

After pitching three scoreless innings Tuesday night at Minneapolis, Blyleven (7-8, with an earned-run average above 5.00) served up consecutive home runs to Kirk Gibson (with a man on), Lance Parrish and Darrell Evans in the fourth inning and the Detroit Tigers went on to gain a 5-1 victory.

In just 134 innings Blyleven has thrown 30 home run balls. With the season barely past the midway point, he seems certain to break all records for gopher pitches. The American League record is 43 by Pedro Ramos of the Washington Senators in 1957 in 231 innings. The major league record is 46 by Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1956.

Lou Whitaker opened the fourth with a single, and Gibson hit a 435-foot blast to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. It was the Gibson's 11th home run. Parrish then hit a 2-and-1 pitch for his 19th home run and Evans followed with No. 16 also on a 2-1 pitch.

It was the first time the Tigers had hit three consecutive home runs since 1974 when Al Kaline, Bill Freehan and Mickey Stanley did it. Three times teams have hit four in a row.

Blyleven settled down to give up only one more run before giving way to Frank Pastore in the eighth. But with young Eric King pitching brilliantly, it didn't make any difference. King (5-1) gave up four hits, all doubles, in 8 innings.

Baltimore 8, Kansas City 4--Bad luck dogged the Royals again at Kansas City and, though they battled into the 13th inning, they lost their club-record 13th in a row.

Fred Lynn, whose string of consecutive games in which he homered ended at four, opened the 13th with a double. But, with the bases loaded and one out, reliever Dan Quisenberry induced Juan Beniquez to hit what appeared to be a game-ending double play ball to short.

Greg Pryor fielded the ball cleanly, but in his haste, threw wild past second, two runs scoring. Juan Bonilla's single one out later drove in two more runs.

The Orioles built a 3-0 lead, but the Royals caught up in the eighth. Jim Dwyer homered in the top of the ninth to put the Orioles in front again. Rookie Mike Kingery hit a pinch triple in the bottom half and scored on Steve Balboni's sacrifice fly.

Chicago 6, Cleveland 2--Harold Baines is on the warpath against the Indians this season. In this game at Chicago, Baines had three hits, including a three-run home run to make it easy for Neal Allen to improve his record to 5-1.

Baines is hitting .469 (15 for 32) against the Indians this season, with three home runs and 10 runs batted in.

Allen was trying to pitch his first complete game in three years, but he faced only two batters in the ninth and had to come out.

"I'm hitting well because they are throwing me strikes," Baines said. "I give the pitcher credit when when he gets me out. I hope he gives me credit when I hit one off him."

Texas 6, New York 1--The Yankees continue to flop against left-handers. Although Dave Winfield was in the lineup at Arlington, Tex., and contributed a hit, the Yankees had only four other hits off Mike Mason (6-2). The Yankees are 10-19 against left-handers and trail Boston in the East by eight games.

Pete O'Brien and Oddibe McDowell each hit two-run home runs as the Rangers chased Alfonso Pulido before he retired a batter in the second inning.

Boston 8, Oakland 7--Bill Buckner capped a five-run sixth inning at Boston with a three-run double as the Red Sox came from behind to increase their lead in the East to eight games.

Rich Gedman and Rey Quinones also had RBI doubles in the big inning to give Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd his 11th victory against six defeats. It was only the third win in the last seven games for the Red Sox.

Jose Canseco's 21st home run helped the A's build a 4-1 lead before the Red Sox broke loose in the sixth. Although he faced only two batters in relief--and struck out one of those--Rick Langford (1-10) was the loser.

Seattle 8, Toronto 5--Mark Huisman, who hadn't pitched in almost two weeks, gave up only one run in 4 innings of relief at Toronto to earn his second victory.

The Mariners scored six runs in the second inning, but it took sharp relief pitching by Huisman and Matt Young to hold off the Blue Jays.

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