The World Series champion Kansas City Royals are hoping it's an omen.
Danny Jackson, who won the games that turned the playoffs and the Series around last fall, won a game Wednesday night to end the longest losing streak in club history--11 games.
Jackson held the Baltimore Orioles to three hits in six innings at Kansas City, and Lonnie Smith hit a home run in the Royals' 3-0 victory.
Last fall, the Royals trailed Toronto, 3-1, in the best-of-seven pennant series before Jackson tossed a shutout to start a three-game winning streak. The Royals also called on Jackson when they trailed St. Louis, 3-1, in the World Series; Jackson gave up only a run and won, and the Royals won the next two games to take the title.
Jackson, who took the mound Wednesday night a little more than 12 hours after his wife gave birth to their second child, improved his record to 5-6. Bud Black retired the last nine Orioles to earn his third save.
"I was just lucky," said Jackson, who was up at 3 a.m. to take his wife to the hospital. "I didn't feel right out there, and I was tired."
Smith scored all the runs. He was hit by a pitch in the first inning and completed the circuit on singles by Mike Kingery and Frank White. In the third, Smith hit his fourth home run of the season, and in the sixth, he scored the final run after getting a single to open the inning.
Boston 7, Oakland 6--Wade Boggs didn't exactly balance the books in this game at Boston, but he did manage to play a prominent part in the game.
At third base, the major leagues' leading hitter made two errors that helped the A's score five unearned runs off Jeff Sellers. But Boggs had three hits, including a double, scored a run and drove in two others to help make a winner of the rookie.
With two out and two on base in the third inning, Boggs fumbled a grounder, and two runs scored. Then, Dave Kingman hit his 19th home run and the A's had four unearned runs.
Boggs did his part in a six-run rally in the third. Sellers, despite his shaky defense, lasted into the eighth, and Joe Sambito got the last five batters for his ninth save.
Detroit 7, Minnesota 0--Short vacations do wonders for Tiger catcher Lance Parrish. After he gets a couple of days off, he seems to go on home run binges.
In this game at Minneapolis, he hit two home runs to back the six-hit pitching of Jack Morris (8-6). Parrish has 21 home runs, three in the last two games, following two games off.
"Sometimes, I get fatigued from playing a lot," Parrish said. "When I feel strong, I get the bat through the baseball and homers seem to jump. The last time I got a short rest, I hit three home runs in three days."
Parrish, who was hitting .163 two months ago, has raised his average 100 points. He has been making his hits count, too. With just 74 of them, he has driven in 59 runs.
Cleveland 6, Chicago 3--Phil Niekro pulled a muscle in his chest, and it hurt the 47-year-old Indian pitcher so much that he could throw only knuckleballs in this game at Chicago. The injury occurred when he jumped out of bed to turn off his alarm Wednesday morning.
Although he gave up five hits in the fifth inning, he yielded only one other hit and improved his record to 6-6.
"Some of his pitches didn't even register on the speed gun but had good location," White Sox Manager Jim Fregosi said. "It is amazing he's still pitching."
Julio Franco led the Indians' 14-hit attack by going 5 for 5, all singles.
Toronto 6, Seattle 5--Cliff Johnson singled home two runs at Toronto to cap a three-run eighth inning that brought the Blue Jays from behind and gave reliever Bill Caudill the victory.
Ken Phelps hit his 14th home run, a two-run shot in the eighth, to give the Mariners a 5-3 lead.
New York 5, Texas 4--The fans voted Dave Winfield to the All-Star team, but the Yankees have decided to platoon him, benching the outfielder against right-handed pitching.
Winfield, appearing as a pinch-hitter, doubled in Paul Zuvella with two out in the eighth at Arlington, Tex., for what proved to be the winning run. Zuvella, who is 0 for 23 since the Yankees obtained him from Atlanta, had walked.
The Rangers missed a great chance to pull it out. Pete Incaviglia doubled home a run in the ninth off Dave Righetti, and the Rangers went on to load the bases with nobody out. But Tom Paciorek bounced to Righetti for a home-to-first double play, and Don Slaught struck out.