Pete Incaviglia came off the Oklahoma State campus to have a big rookie season last year for the Texas Rangers, but his 33 home runs and 88 runs batted in went relatively unnoticed.
It was the 23-year-old outfielder's misfortune to break into the American League in the same year as Wally Joyner of the Angels and Jose Canseco of the Oakland A's.
While Joyner and Canseco have had some problems getting going this season, Incaviglia has ignored the so-called sophomore jinx.
Incaviglia hit his league-leading 11th home run and drove in three runs Wednesday night at Arlington, Tex., to lead the Rangers to a 7-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
While the Rangers were hammering Phil Niekro for four home runs, Charlie Hough, 39, nine years younger than Niekro, improved his record to 2-1 by scattering 8 hits, striking out 6 and walking none.
Incaviglia, born in Pebble Beach, Calif., seems to have overcome the one weakness he had a year ago. He struck out 185 times, four short of Bobby Bonds' major league record. But this season, Incaviglia is still hitting home runs and not striking out so often. He is hitting .330 and has driven in 25 runs.
"I think what Pete did last year was unparalleled," Texas Manager Bobby Valentine said. "The fact that he was never hot the entire season is a testament to his inner strength. He had to scratch.
"He keeps learning. There's no telling how good he might become."
Boston 6, Oakland 2--Mike Greenwell continues to do an excellent job as a replacement for ailing Jim Rice, but pitcher Roger Clemens still hasn't approached last year's form.
Greenwell smashed a three-run home run to break a 2-2 tie in the seventh. Greenwelll is 11 for 21 with 11 RBIs and 6 runs scored in the 6 games he has played because of Rice's elbow injury.
Clemens, last year's American League Cy Young Award winner, was hit in the right ankle by Mike Davis' liner in the fourth inning. Clemens stayed around until two were out in the sixth, when the A's tied the score. The ankle was bruised, but Clemens is not expected to miss a turn.
Calvin Schiraldi took over and pitched 3 hitless innings to get his first victory.
The A's run was the first off Red Sox pitching in Fenway Park in 32 innings.
Wade Boggs, batting third in the order for the second straight game, had three hits for the Red Sox. In two games, he is 5 for 6.
Baltimore 6, Minnesota 0--The Orioles' pitching has been among the worst in the league. But in two games in the hitters' paradise, the Metrodome, Oriole pitchers have been almost perfect.
Rookie Eric Bell had a no-hitter for eight innings Tuesday night, and in this game, Scott McGregor pitched a three-hitter for his first victory after four defeats. He had a 5.10 earned-run average going into the game.
Cal Ripken Jr. hit a three-run home run in the third inning for all the runs McGregor needed. Ripken has 9 home runs and 30 runs batted in. His last nine hits have been for extra bases, four of them home runs.
The home run was the 11th given up this season by Bert Blyleven, who gave up 50 last season to set a major league record.
New York 4, Chicago 1--The Yankees proved at Chicago that they can win a two-hitter as well as lose one. Tuesday night, Joe Niekro gave up two hits but lost to Bill Long, who also threw a two-hitter.
In this game, Rick Rhoden (3-3) pitched a two-hitter and won. Gary Ward drove in two runs for the Yankees, who finished 5-7 on their longest trip of the season.
An error by catcher Joel Skinner set up the only White Sox run in the fourth. Greg Walker's sacrifice fly drove it in.
Kansas City 6, Toronto 3--A few years ago, Bud Black was a 17-game winner as a starter. Last season, he was 5-10 as a reliever.
In his first start in exactly a year, the veteran left-hander pitched six strong innings to gain his first win of the season.
Hal McRae and Juan Beniquez each drove in two runs as the Royals won their fourth game in a row.
Detroit 7, Seattle 5--Kirk Gibson, in just his second game of the season, hit a home run and drove in two runs at Detroit to help the Tigers end a four-game losing streak.
Darrell Evans and Matt Nokes also hit home runs to give Walt Terrell some runs to work with--for a change. Terrell (2-3) struck out 8 in 7 innings and improved his Tiger Stadium record to 21-6.
The Mariners scored five runs off Terrell, who had not won since April 9, but two of them were unearned.