Jack Morris has found a sure cure for his home run ball. Just throw a shutout.
The hard-throwing right-hander pitched a two-hitter Friday night at Detroit in a 5-0 victory over the slumping Texas Rangers. It was the third consecutive shutout for Morris and improved his record to 10-6.
For the first half of the season, Morris was setting quite a home run pace. He gave up four to the Boston Red Sox and allowed 12 before he had pitched 37 innings. By the midpoint of the season, he had thrown 25 gopher balls.
Morris, a 20-game winner in 1983, has pitched six consecutive complete games, throwing only two home run balls in his last 53 innings.
In this game, he struck out 11 and walked only two. He gave up a lead-off double to Scott Fletcher to open the game, then picked him off second. With two out in the second, he walked Larry Parrish, and Don Slaught doubled. But Morris struck out rookie Ruben Sierra and retired 17 in a row after that.
Morris has not given up a run in the last 31 innings and has yielded only one earned run in the last 41 innings.
Morris is still far behind Don Drysdale's major league record of 58 straight scoreless innings.
"His is the most awesome feat in baseball, in my opinion," Morris said. "I've thrown three consecutive shutouts and I'm not even close.
"They talk about Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak and a lot of other feats, but I'm convinced Drysdale's is the most impressive."
Morris is the first Detroit pitcher since Mickey Lolich in 1967 to pitch three shutouts in a row.
The 11 strikeouts in the game, which began in 93-degree weather, gave Morris 139 for the season. In the American League, only Roger Clemens (146) has more.
Darnell Coles and Kirk Gibson led the Tiger attack. Coles had three hits, including a two-run home run, and Gibson had four straight singles.
New York 8, Chicago 4--Mike Pagliarulo, frustrated by left-handers most of the season, took it out on Floyd Bannister in this game at New York.
Pagliarulo, batting only .210 against left-handers, went 3 for 3 and hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to put the Yankees ahead for good, 5-3. It was the 22nd home run for the third baseman, but only his second off a left-hander.
The home run enabled Joe Niekro, just off the disabled list, to improve his record to 8-6. Niekro was out with a bruised right index finger. He gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings. Dave Righetti pitched two hitless innings to get his 21st save.
"The more I see left-handers, the better I'm going to hit them," Pagliarulo said.
Minnesota 7, Baltimore 3--After hitting two home runs and driving in three runs at Baltimore, Kirby Puckett should have been happy. Instead, he was upset by his error, which led to two unearned runs in the eighth.
"I almost blew it," the center fielder said. "The ball knuckled on me at the last minute, but I'm not supposed to do that."
His second home run, in the ninth with one on, helped build the lead back to four.
Puckett, who hit only four home runs in his first 289 games with the Twins, has 19 this season.
Bert Blyleven gave up only four hits and one earned run but departed when Puckett misplayed Lee Lacy's drive.
Cleveland 3, Kansas City 2--Shortstop Buddy Biancalana blew an inning-ending double play when he had trouble getting the ball out of his glove in the 10th inning at Kansas City, then blew the game when he threw poorly to second.
The Indians had two on and one out when Andre Thornton hit a chopper to shortstop. By the time Biancalana finished messing up the play, the Indians had a run.
Bryan Oelkers pitched two innings of relief to win his first major league game. Dan Quisenberry was the loser. His record fell to 0-4.
Rookie Mike Kingery and Steve Balboni hit home runs to account for the Royal runs. It was the first major league home run for the talented Kingery.
Seattle 10, Boston 4--It may be that the flareup by Oil Can Boyd when he was left off the All-Star team may have helped trigger the collapse of the Red Sox.
With Danny Tartabull hitting a three-run home run at Seattle to lead a 14-hit assault, the Mariners handed the Eastern leaders their third loss in a row and fourth in five games since Boyd threw his tantrum.
The defeat cut the Red Sox lead over the New York Yankees to five games.
Oakland 6, Milwaukee 1--Joaquin Andujar pitched three-hit shutout ball for 5 innings on his return from a six-week injury layoff. Three relievers followed Andujar, with Steve Ontiveros working the final 2 innings at Oakland for his ninth save.
Andujar (5-2) won for the first time since May 7. The veteran right-hander went on the disabled list June 6 because of a pulled hamstring.
Dusty Baker's fourth homer of the season--all have come off Milwaukee pitching--accounted for Oakland's final two runs in the eighth.