Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson's major league debut was just an inch or two away from being sensational Tuesday night at Kansas City.
The Auburn running back, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, didn't pick on some patsy for his debut with the Royals. After 53 games of pro experience in the Southern League, Jackson faced a certain Hall of Fame member, Steve Carlton, in his first game.
On his third pitch from the 41-year-old left-hander, Jackson hit a towering 425-foot drive to left that barely went foul. When he followed with an infield hit, outrunning Carlton to first, Jackson was accorded a standing ovation.
In subsequent at-bats, Jackson grounded to short and just missed hitting into a triple play when he hit a hot smash to third that was turned into a double play, but he just beat the throw to first.
Jackson wasn't the only Royal overmatched. Carlton pitched eight innings and the Chicago White Sox won, 3-0 to give him a 3-2 record in the American League.
Jackson turned down a reported $7-million offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because he preferred to play baseball.
"I'm just happy to be here," Jackson told the Associated Press. "I like the major leagues.
"I hit that first one good and I could see it slicing. I was afraid it might go foul."
Although Royals management has stressed that Jackson has a long way to go, interim Manager Mike Ferraro said: "I was impressed with what I saw. I saw great bat speed, really unusual bat speed."
Ozzie Guillen went 4 for 4 and drove in two of the Chicago runs.
Boston 8, Texas 6--It was good news for the Red Sox at the expense of the Rangers for the third time in a row at Boston.
Marty Barrett hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to break a 5-5 tie and give Sammy Stewart (4-1) the victory. Stewart blanked the Rangers for 3 innings.
It was the fourth win in a row for the Red Sox and, with Toronto's winning streak ending, their lead in the East was increased to 4 1/2 games.
The Red Sox trailed, 5-3, going into the sixth, but Don Baylor hit a two-run home run to tie it. Baylor has 27 home runs.
"This is a never-die team," Baylor said. "We're winning in a lot of ways, and it's a different character each game. Tonight, Wade Boggs set it up, and Marty came through with the big hit."
Shortly before Barrett's hit, Boggs fouled off eight consecutive 3-and-2 pitches before drawing a walk to load the bases.
Cleveland 9, Toronto 5--After going all of August without a victory, Ken Schrom (12-6) pitched a strong six innings at Toronto to end the Blue Jays' nine-game winning streak.
Schrom gave up six hits and hit three batters but left with a 5-2 lead. Andre Thornton's pinch-hit three-run double in the ninth helped raise the lead to 9-2.
George Bell hit his 29th home run in the ninth to drive in the last three Toronto runs.
Jim Clancy (14-8) gave up nine hits before being knocked out in the fourth.
Minnesota 4, Milwaukee 0--Bert Blyleven (15-10) pitched a five-hitter at Minneapolis for his third shutout of the season and the 54th of his career.
Kirby Puckett, in a battle with Boggs for the batting title, had two hits and scored two runs for the Twins.
Pete Vuckovich, continuing his attempt to battle back from arm trouble, was the loser. He gave up four hits and three runs in 5 innings.
Blyleven, who faced only 31 batters, has won 15 or more games eight times.
New York 9, Oakland 8--Dave Winfield's RBI single capped a three-run ninth-inning rally to lift the Yankees to victory at Oakland.
Brian Fisher, the fourth of five Yankee pitchers, improved his record to 8-5, and Dave Righetti pitched the final inning for his major league-leading 34th save. It was Righetti's 17th straight save in as many opportunities. Jay Howell (2-5) took the loss.
Jose Canseco's 29th homer of the year, a three-run shot in the third, gave Oakland a 4-3 lead and was immediately followed by Dave Kingman's 31st homer of the year.
Detroit 7, Seattle 5--Darrell Evans drilled a two-run single to cap a three-run ninth-inning rally that lifted the Tigers to victory at Seattle.
With one out in the ninth, Lou Whitaker singled off loser Lee Guetterman (0-4). Tom Brookens singled Whitaker to second, and Pete Ladd relieved Guetterman. Alan Trammell singled home Whitaker to tie the game, 5-5.
After pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson popped out, John Grubb walked to load the bases. Evans, whose 27th homer tied the score in the eighth, then ripped a single off the right-field fence, scoring Brookens and Trammell. Evans was trapped between first and second on the play and was tagged out to end the inning.