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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Indians Happy to See Black Jack of Old

May 02, 1997|From Associated Press

Black Jack came back, spitting mad and dominating as ever.

Disgusted by a demotion to the bullpen, Jack McDowell made a fiery, nearly flawless return to his old form Thursday night, striking out a season-high nine and leading the Indians to a 7-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Cleveland.

"I know emotionally I was a different player tonight," said McDowell, who gave up one run and three hits in seven innings after starting the season with a 12.51 earned-run average in three starts. "Sometimes it takes having your back against the wall for that to happen."

The Indians hit four more home runs and lead the majors with 53. David Justice hit two, giving him a team-high nine. Manny Ramirez hit one, and Omar Vizquel hit his first, meaning every position player on the roster has at least one homer.

Despite all that power, the Indians merely evened their record at 13-13. The struggles have been due to the worst pitching in the American League, a trend McDowell reversed for at least one night.

"I felt good for Jack, but I felt really good for the ballclub," Manager Mike Hargrove said.

McDowell (2-2) evoked memories of his old days of dominance. With a lively fastball, devastating splitter and even a few slow curves, he gave up only Jason Giambi's first-inning single through 6 1/3 innings.

"The command of my fastball was probably as good as it's been in a long, long time," McDowell said.

McDowell fanned Jose Canseco to end the sixth and Mark McGwire to start the seventh during a string of four consecutive strikeouts.

He struck out Canseco twice and thought he had another, arguing a call when the Athletic slugger appeared to swing at strike three leading off the fourth. McDowell ended the inning by striking out Geronimo Berroa, glaring at the umpire as he stormed off the mound.

"It was lights out tonight," Hargrove said. "Jack just came out and took command of the game."

Mike Jackson relieved McDowell, who threw 132 pitches, in the eighth and got the last six outs.

Justice, hitting .402, hit his eighth home run into the picnic area beyond the center-field fence in the fifth. The two-run homer, estimated at 423 feet, followed Vizquel's solo homer and gave the Indians a 6-0 lead.

Justice hit his ninth homer, off Richie Lewis, in the eighth. Ramirez hit his second in two nights.

Kansas City 8, Toronto 0--Jose Rosado pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings and Jay Bell and Jose Offerman drove in three runs apiece, powering the Royals at Kansas City.

Chili Davis added a two-run homer in the fifth, his second homer in three games.

Rosado (2-0), who has lost three potential victories this year because of poor relief pitching, gave up only three hits, struck out five and walked four. He lowered his earned-run average from 2.59 to 2.08.

Reliever Mitch Williams got the last out in the eighth and Jim Converse gave up one hit in the ninth to complete the combined four-hitter.

Joe Carter tripled with one out in the sixth, but Rosado preserved the shutout by striking out Ed Sprague and getting Juan Samuel on an infield grounder.

Offerman, who hit a three-run homer Tuesday night after coming off the disabled list, gave the Royals a 5-0 lead with a bases-loaded triple in the fourth. The Royals had loaded the bases off Woody Williams (0-2) on a walk and singles by Tom Goodwin and Johnny Damon.

Baltimore 3, Minnesota 2--Scott Erickson gave up five hits over 8 1/3 innings and B.J. Surhoff drove in two runs as the Orioles won at Minneapolis, extending the Twins' losing streak to eight games.

Erickson (4-1), who pitched eight shutout innings against Boston in his previous start, gave up only Chuck Knoblauch's infield single through six innings. He gave up only three balls out of the infield until Matt Lawton's drive barely cleared the right-field curtain to make it 3-1.

He gave up consecutive doubles to Ron Coomer and Todd Walker in the eighth as the Twins closed to 3-2. Walker advanced to third with no outs on a wild pitch, but Erickson struck out Pat Meares and then got Knoblauch and Rich Becker on grounders to preserve the lead.

After striking out Roberto Kelly to start the ninth, Erickson was replaced by Randy Myers, who got the last two outs for his league-leading 11th save in 11 opportunities.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

Player: David Justice

Team: Cleveland

Performance: 3 for 4, homer, 3 RBIs, 3 runs

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Jose Offerman

Team: Kansas City

Performance: 2 for 4, double, triple, 3 RBIs

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Rafael Palmeiro

Team: Baltimore

Performance: 2 for 4, double, 2 runs

Team's Result: Win

PITCHING

Player: Jose Rosado

Team: Kansas City

Performance: 7 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 5 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Scott Erickson

Team: Baltimore

Performance: 8 1/3 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 7 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Jack McDowell

Team: Cleveland

Performance: 7 innings, 1 run; 8.69 ERA coming in

Team's Result: Win

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