Former USC slugger Mark McGwire hit two home runs and drove in four runs Friday night at Detroit to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 7-2 victory over the Tigers.
McGwire, a rookie from Claremont who set a Pacific 10 record for home runs with 32 in 1984, has seven home runs. His three-run smash was the highlight of a five-run fourth inning that enabled Curt Young (4-1) to win his third game in a row.
The 23-year-old first baseman is living up to the praise given him recently by Walt Terrell, one of the stalwarts of the Detroit pitching staff.
After McGwire tagged the big right-hander for a long home run recently, Terrell said, "He's got as much power as any of the phenoms of last year."
Terrell compared McGwire with Oakland's Jose Canseco and Texas' Pete Incaviglia, both of whom had more than 30 home runs as rookies, and Angel Wally Joyner, who had 22.
"He's big and strong," Terrell said. "The pitch he hit off me, he knocked the you-know-what out of it."
After McGwire hit .318 for half the season at Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League in his second year as a pro, the A's brought him up for a taste of major league life. In 18 games, he batted only .189 but hit three home runs.
McGwire is hitting .255 and leads the club in home runs (7) as well as RBIs (17). He may be the rookie slugging star of 1987.
"I just go up and try to be aggressive every at-bat," said McGwire, who has 5 home runs and 12 runs batted in in his last 13 games. "You see the ball, and things are going to happen.
"He (Frank Tanana) throws a lot of off-speed stuff. You have to tell yourself to stay back and wait a little longer. It helps a lot."
Young allowed 6 hits and struck out 5 in 8 innings. Detroit is 0-8 against left-handers this season.
"Numbers don't lie," Tiger Manager Sparky Anderson said. "We just hope there aren't that many left-handers out there."
New York 11, Minnesota 7--The Twins' 36-year-old manager, Tom Kelly, had the solution for Tommy John, the 44-year-old left-hander who has been bedeviling American League hitters, but with victory seemingly near in New York, his bullpen ace let him down.
Kelly pitched batting practice to get the Twins ready for John's assortment of off-speed pitches. The Twins shelled John for 6 hits and 4 runs and chased him in the second inning.
The Twins were hanging on to a 7-5 lead when Jeff Reardon put out a fire in the eighth. But the Yankees jumped on Reardon, the relief ace the Twins got from the Montreal Expos, in the ninth.
The crowning blow was a grand slam by Mike Pagliarulo, and it preserved the Yankees' perfect (10-0) record at home.
Reardon struck out Rick Cerone with the bases loaded in the eighth. But he walked the first Yankee in the ninth, and Rickey Henderson hit his seventh home run to tie the score. The Yankees loaded the bases on three walks with one out. Reardon struck out Gary Ward, but Pagliarulo lined his second home run of the game over the right-field fence.
Baltimore 7, Chicago 6--Eddie Murray emerged from the longest slump of his career in dramatic fashion at Chicago.
With two out in the ninth, Cal Ripken on base and the White Sox leading, 6-5, Murray unloaded his second home run of the game to give the Orioles the victory.
Murray entered the game batting only .202. He hit a homer left-handed in the fourth inning, then turned around and hit the game-winner from the right side.
Murray's home run overshadowed a perfect night for the White Sox's Ivan Calderon, who hit a 440-foot home run in the eighth to put Chicago ahead. Calderon was 3 for 3, with one walk.
Harold Baines came off the disabled list to get a hit and drive in a run for the White Sox.
Mike Boddicker started for the Orioles but had to leave after five innings with a sore knee.
Kansas City 9, Cleveland 5--At Cleveland, Bo Jackson hit a two-run home run, one of four homers by the Royals, as they stretched their winning streak to five games.
Angel Salazar drove in three runs for the Royals, and Mark Gubicza gave up two runs in seven innings. The Indians have lost five in a row.
Jackson, who also had a single, has hit six home runs this season.
Toronto 7, Texas 4--Jesse Barfield drove in five runs at Arlington, Tex., with a pair of home runs, and the Blue Jays held off a late Texas surge.
The Blue Jays built a 7-1 lead for Jim Clancy (4-2), always tough on the Rangers. He left after giving up a three-run home run to Geno Petralli in the seventh. Clancy is 14-7 against the Rangers in his career.
Barfield, who hit both home runs off Jose Guzman, has nine this season, three of them in nine at-bats off Guzman. Barfield led the majors with 40 home runs last season.
Seattle 4, Milwaukee 3--The Brewers are coming back to the pack in the East. Scott Bradley singled home John Christensen from second base with two out in the 12th at Milwaukee as the Mariners handed the Brewers their fourth loss in a row.
The Brewers loaded the bases in both the 10th and 11th innings against Stan Clarke and didn't score, then had two on in the bottom of the 12th. However, Greg Brock, who hit a home run earlier, flied out to end the game.
The Brewers lead the Yankees by only 2 1/2 games.