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American League Roundup : Yankees Lose Again--This Time to Indians, 4-2

April 08, 1989|DAN HAFNER

The baseball season is only four days old, but the New York Yankees are already frustrated, angry and on a losing streak.

All this despite a beautiful start when 45-year-old Tommy John, the grand old man of the major leagues, beat the best left-hander in the game, Frank Viola, and the Minnesota Twins in the opener.

In the next two games, starters Andy Hawkins and Dave LaPoint were hammered. And Hawkins and Dave Righetti threw "purpose" pitches that almost hit Twin slugger Kent Hrbek. All that did was arouse the Twins.

It didn't get better when the Yankees opened their home season Friday against the Cleveland Indians.

John Candelaria, who had walked only one of the last 162 leadoff batters he faced, started the game by walking Oddibe McDowell.

After an infield singles by Jerry Browne, Joe Carter hit a drive to deep left-center, where center fielder Roberto Kelly appeared to make a fine leaping catch. But when he came down, his glove hand hit the fence, the ball fell out, Carter had his first home run and the Indians had a 3-0 lead.

Candelaria settled down, but the Indians went on to win, 4-2, with Rich Yett going 8 1/3 innings. Doug Jones picked up his second save.

Former Dodger Jesse Orosco came in with one out and two on to try and protect a 4-0 lead. He struck out Tom Brookens, but pinch-hitter Don Slaught doubled home two runs. Jones, who missed most of spring training because of an injury, then gave up an infield hit to Steve Balboni. But Kelly bounced into a game-ending force-out.

"I deserved it," Carter said. "After all, I hit it 400 feet. Now, they only owe me one. Rickey (Henderson) has jumped over the fence to take two away from me."

Don Mattingly, bothered by a back problem, made his first appearance as the designated hitter but failed to perk up the Yankee offense, going 0 for 3.

There were 55,655 fans on hand for the Yankees' first loss in a home opener in six years.

"Candelaria (who struck out 10 and walked three in seven innings) pitched a very good game," Yankee Manager Dallas Green said. "Offensively, we have not done well. Yet I'm impressed the way this team has battled."

Detroit 10, Milwaukee 3--Kenny Williams made an auspicious debut at Detroit as a Tiger, driving in three runs with a double and a single to make Sparky Anderson the 10th manager to win 1,700 games.

Williams, acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the Eric King trade, had the big hit in the seventh inning. The Brewers were leading, 3-2, but the Tigers had two on and nobody out when Williams drilled a 3-and-2 pitch into left-center to drive in two runs. Five runs in the eighth broke it open.

Veteran right-hander Doyle Alexander went 7 1/3 innings to get the win. Guillermo Hernandez retired the last five Brewers for the save.

Minnesota 8, Baltimore 3--The Orioles, who lost 21 games to open last season, can forget about opening this one with 21 victories.

Gary Gaetii had four hits, including a two-run single in a six-run sixth-inning rally that ended the Orioles' two-game winning streak.

Kansas City 9, Boston 8--Bob Boone capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning at Kansas City with a run-scoring single.

It appeared that the Red Sox, after building an 8-5 lead, were finally going to win one. But bullpen ace Lee Smith couldn't hold the lead, and the Red Sox lost their third in a row.

The Royals, who earlier had led, 4-0, tied the score in the ninth before anybody was out. George Brett singled with the bases loaded, driving in two runs, and Danny Tartabull singled home the tying run. There were two out when Boone delivered the clincher.

Toronto 10, Texas 9--Moments after Kelly Gruber's home run in the eighth inning at Arlington, Tex., gave the Blue Jays the lead, Texas reliever Cecilo Guante hit Tony Fernandez in the face.

Fernandez, who had hit a grand slam in the second inning, lay motionless for several minutes and was taken to a hospital. There was no immediate word on his condition. Players on both teams doubted that Guante hit Fernandez intentionally, citing the fact that they are friends from the same town in the Dominican Republic.

Manny Lee's RBI single in the seventh got the Blue Jays even, 9-9.

Chicago 7, Oakland 1--Dave Gallagher's soft fly to short right field hit the foul line for an RBI double, breaking a scoreless tie in the sixth inning at Oakland, and Harold Baines drove in three runs with two singles as the White Sox handed the Athletics their first loss of the season.

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