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American League Roundup : Kittle Hits 17th Homer, Gets Traded to Yankees

July 30, 1986|From Times Wire Services

Ron Kittle's swan song to the Chicago White Sox was a towering, two-run homer Tuesday night that helped them defeat the visiting Boston Red Sox, 4-1, and end an eight-game losing streak.

Immediately after the game, the White Sox announced that Kittle, infielder Wayne Tolleson and catcher Joel Skinner had been traded to the New York Yankees for catcher Ron Hassey, minor league infielder Carlos Martinez and a player to be named later.

"I knew I was gonzo," Kittle said after the game. "I have no control over the matter. I'll go to the Yankees and do the best I can. At least the Yankees have a better-looking uniform."

Kittle, whose homer was his 17th of the season and gave him a total of 111 home runs with the White Sox in 3 1/2 years, said he had mixed feelings.

"There's a lot of happiness and a lot of sorrow," Kittle said. "I can hit home runs anywhere. When you hit 31 a year, you can hit them anywhere."

Kittle was a hero in Chicago in 1983 when he led the White Sox to the American League West Division title with 35 home runs. He won Rookie of the Year honors and became one of the most popular White Sox players.

But he became expendable after hitting just .215 in 1984, .230 in 1985 and .213 with 17 home runs this season.

Said Chicago Manager Jim Fregosi: "We had to do something because of the way we were playing the last 10 days. We are trying to make this team a solid ball club. He is a fine young man and has outstanding power. We just had to make a move."

Ken Harrelson, White Sox baseball operations chief, said the key to the move was Martinez, now playing with the Yankees' Double-A club at Albany.

"He is just an outstanding young player," Harrelson said. "He has the chance to be a superstar."

Kittle's homer capped a three-run third inning and backed the two-hit pitching of Joe Cowley. Cowley (6-6) needed last-out help from Bob James, who earned his 14th save.

Chicago's skid was its longest since 1978, when it lost nine in a row. Boston, struggling but still leading the AL East, lost for the 10th time in the last 12 games.

Jim Rice had both Boston hits, a single in the second and an RBI single after an error in the fourth.

Kittle's homer came in a three-run third inning against Jeff Sellers (3-6). Steve Lyons led off with a double and scored on a single by Greg Walker. Kittle then homered in the upper deck in left-center field for a 4-0 lead.

Milwaukee 6, New York 4--Rob Deer's two-run homer capped a five-run first inning and Gorman Thomas also homered at Milwaukee as the Brewers struck early and held on.

Milwaukee sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning and chased Scott Nielsen (2-3).

Successive singles by Paul Molitor, Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper produced the first run. After a walk to Thomas, Ernest Riles singled to center scoring Yount and Cooper. Riles was called out for passing Thomas, but Deer followed with his 19th homer, a two-run shot over the left-field wall to give the Brewers a 5-0 lead.

Thomas hit his 12th homer and second since signing as a free-agent with the Brewers at the All-Star break in the second inning to put Milwaukee ahead, 6-0.

Dave Winfield's 16th homer of the season accounted for two Yankee runs in the eighth.

Minnesota 4, Seattle 2--Workhorse Frank Viola, pitching on two days' rest, scattered six hits over 6 innings, striking out six and walking one, as the Twins won at Minneapolis.

Viola had pitched four innings in a rain-delayed game Saturday at New York. He got plenty of support from Kent Hrbek, who hit a two-run homer, and Kirby Puckett, who went 3 for 4, including an RBI triple.

Roy Lee Jackson pitched the final 2 innings for his first save.

Puckett, who entered the game hitting .331, hit a single, double and triple. He ranks second in the American League with 75 runs, second in hits with 145 and second in total bases with 241.

Detroit 6, Cleveland 3--Pinch-hitter Dave Bergman's bases-loaded single and a throwing error by third baseman Brook Jacoby in the 11th inning gave the Tigers the win at Cleveland.

With one out, Dwight Lowry drew a walk from Bryan Oelkers (1-2). Lowry took second on a groundout and Alan Trammell was intentionally walked. Dickie Noles relieved Oelkers and Chet Lemon's infield single loaded the bases.

Bergman followed with a slow bouncer to Jacoby, whose throw skipped past first baseman Joe Carter. Bergman was credited with a single that scored Lowry, and Trammell scored on an error charged to Jacoby. Darrell Evans then delivered an RBI single, his third hit of the game.

Cleveland starter Phil Niekro allowed three runs before he was relieved with one out in the eighth. He has pitched 5,192 innings, moving past Grover Alexander into sixth place on the all-time list.

Toronto 5, Kansas City 2--Dave Stieb, flashing the form that won for him the American League earned-run average title last season, pitched a four-hitter through 6 innings at Kansas City. Stieb (3-10) had three walks and two strikeouts. Tom Henke got the final out for his 15th save.

Texas 6, Baltimore 5--Scott Fletcher's double off the left-field wall with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning scored Oddibe McDowell from first base and gave the Rangers the victory at Arlington, Tex.

McDowell had singled off Odell Jones (1-1) with two outs, and Fletcher followed with his game-winning hit.

Greg Harris (5-9), the fourth Texas pitcher, earned the victory with four innings of scoreless, three-hit relief.

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