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American League Roundup : Molitor Streak Hits 37, but Brewers Lose

August 23, 1987|DAN HAFNER

Paul Molitor celebrated his 31st birthday Saturday night at Milwaukee by ending the suspense early.

The Brewers' designated hitter lashed a first-inning single off the Kansas City Royals' Bret Saberhagen to extend his hitting streak to 37 games.

The Royals, with Jamie Quirk hitting a grand slam and driving in five runs, went on to win, 8-7.

Despite the loss, the Brewers have benefited from the streak, posting a 23-14 record. Molitor, who also had a run-scoring single in the seventh, received a standing ovation from the crowd of 37,740 after he extended his streak. Shortly thereafter, Saberhagen picked him off first base.

It was the 19th time in the streak, which began against the Angels July 16, that Molitor has had more than one hit. During the streak, he is 66 for 156 for a .423 average.

The hit enabled Molitor to tie Tommy Holmes for the fifth-longest hitting streak in history. Holmes performed the feat with the Boston Braves in 1945. The next target for Molitor is the 40 by Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers in 1911. The eventual goal is Joe DiMaggio's 56 in 1941.

"You have to be realistic enough to enjoy each day because one day it's going to be over," Molitor said. "I'm just glad it didn't end on my birthday. It would have spoiled the celebration."

Molitor drew the praise of Brewer Manager Tom Trebelhorn.

"It's a real emotional thing to go through," Trebelhorn said. "To see a guy who has had such a tremendous career finally getting the recognition he should have gotten other than the streak, is wonderful. If you take away all the injuries he's had, he would be in select company at a very young age."

Molitor said he feels relief when he gets a hit in his at-bat.

"When you go 0 for 2, or 0 for 3, it gets a little more difficult with each at-bat. Sooner or later, it's going to come down to that last at-bat, and sooner or later I won't get that hit. It's something you have built-in preparation for."

The Royals are moving back into the AL West race. With the Minnesota Twins losing again, Kansas City climbed within 3 1/2 games of first place.

The Brewers trail by 8 1/2 games in the East. With 39 games remaining, their chances are slim.

Pitcher Bill Wegman, just off the disabled list, started for the Brewers, but gave up 7 hits and 6 runs in 5 innings.

Boston 6, Minnesota 5--When Wade Boggs missed a changeup, Twin pitcher Lee Straker thought the league's leading hitter couldn't hit that pitch. So, he threw Boggs another one, which Boggs hit for his 21st home run in the seventh inning at Boston to hand the Twins their fifth loss in a row.

It was the first time on this trip in which the Twins were in the game. In the first four games, they were outscored, 37-6.

Gary Gaetti's three-run home run in the top of the seventh had lifted the Twins into a tie.

The loss cut their lead in the West to just two games over the Oakland A's.

The Twins have the best home record in the majors (42-18), but they are 24-41 on the road.

Oakland 6, New York 0--Last season, the Athletics took Dave Stewart out of the bullpen. This year, he's the top winner in the majors.

This season's experiment, with Gene Nelson, is also proving successful. Nelson, a 26-year-old right-hander, gave the Yankees 4 hits in 6 innings at Oakland, for his second impressive performance as a starter.

Last Tuesday, he held Toronto to 4 hits and no runs in 6 innings.

"He's in the rotation the rest of the season," A's Manager Tony LaRussa said. "He's pretty nasty coming out of the bullpen, but he's capable of winning 20 as a starter."

Tony Bernazard drove in three runs for the Athletics.

Detroit 8, Cleveland 6--After knocking off the leaders of the East in a doubleheader Friday night at Cleveland, the Indians threw a scare into the Tigers in this one.

Lou Whitaker's three-run home run helped the Tigers build a 6-1 lead, but the Indians rallied, and when the game ended, they had the potential tying runs on the bases.

Mike Henneman (9-1) gave up just 2 hits in 4 innings of relief to get the victory.

Bill Madlock had his 12th home run and a double to help the Tigers' cause.

Texas 8, Chicago 6--Pete Incaviglia hit a three-run home run, a 431-foot shot to center field in the third inning at Arlington, Tex., to put the Rangers ahead to stay.

Although he didn't pitch one of his best games, Charlie Hough lasted seven innings and improved his record to 14-8. Hough gave up 10 hits and all 6 White Sox runs.

Incaviglia's 25th home run came off Dave LaPoint and gave the Rangers a 5-3 lead.

Seattle 14, Baltimore 6--Mark Langston, backed by an 18-hit attack at Seattle, breezed to his 14th victory.

Langston (14-10) worked 7 innings, giving up 3 runs and 7 hits and striking out 4. He has a major league-leading 199 strikeouts.

Billy Ripken had three hits, including a homer, to drive in five Baltimore runs.

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