The 7-5 loss reduces the Blue Jays' lead to a game and a half. In the Blue Jays' locker room Fernandez, a Dominican, shouts, "¡No hablo inglés!" when asked about the botched double play. He happens to speak English very well. What we have here is what he and Garcia had out there: a failure to communicate.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 13
Before tonight's anthems the Yankees attempt to civilize their fans by reminding them that Canada is an American ally that lent considerable help during the Iranian hostage crisis a few years ago. A few Pinstripe diehards remember back that far and applaud politely. But most of the crowd isn't buying. "O Canada!" Boooo!
That's when the booing should have started. On the night Phil Niekro is seeking his 300th win—a milestone that seems all the greater because of the game's importance to both teams—the shabbiest baseball of the week is played. Toronto wins 3-2, and all three runs are unearned. The first two score on a rare error by first baseman Don Mattingly—only his fourth this year—a walk and a single to left that Ken Griffey misplays into a triple. The winning run comes around as the result of a dropped third strike, a stolen base with a throwing error tagged on and a bloop single. On top of everything else, the game slogs along for three hours and 13 minutes.
The only highlights are Niekro—who guttily hangs in for nine innings—and Toronto reliever Tom Henke, who strikes out three in the final 1⅔ innings to pick up his 12th save since being recalled from Syracuse on July 28. Early in the year he was pitching before 500 people in the International League. Tonight he mowed them down at Yankee Stadium, cool as a Missouri mule, before a crowd of 53,303. Henke, 27, was plucked from the Texas Rangers organization last winter as compensation for Texas's signing of Cliff Johnson, and he has been the top man out of the Blue Jays' high-priced bullpen (Lamp, Gary Lavelle, Bill Caudill) for the last month and a half. Tonight is also his fifth anniversary. He figures his wife, Kathy, watched the game back home in Taos, Mo. (pop. 759). The folks in Taos will be able to read all about it in a few days. A bulletin board outside Eikens' general store provides TOM-HENKE NEWS. Henke sends his wife his newspaper clippings, and she tacks them up so the whole town can share in his success.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 14
This anthem business is really getting to be an adventure. Tonight, after another patriotic speech by the public address announcer urging respect for U.S. allies, someone named Mary O'Dowd steps to the microphone, purses her lips, and begins to belt out O Canada in some strange tune that vaguely resembles America the Beautiful She then forgets the words. Stopping, O'Dowd apologizes to the Great White North and starts over—this time with a crib sheet. The melody, unfortunately, continues to elude her. This could mean war.
With the score tied 2-2 in the sixth, Iorg flares a one-out pop to right that glances off the heel of second baseman Rex Hudler's glove as he dives. Base hit, the first that reliever Rich Bordi has allowed since being called into the game with one out in the fifth. From the dugout pops Martin. Three of the next four Blue Jays are lefties, so Martin calls for his southpaw stopper, Dave Righetti, for the 69th time this year. "Bordi has trouble with lefthanders," an embattled Martin says afterward. "I'd do the same thing in that situation 100 times."
It doesn't work because Righetti can't find the plate at first, throwing six straight balls. When he finally does get the range, Toronto hammers him for a double and two singles. Arm weary? Martin, never known to have a light touch with his pitching staff, has been getting Righetti up as early as the fifth or sixth inning for weeks. The pitcher looks exhausted. Brian Fisher, taking over, surrenders a two-run single to Cliff Johnson that caps the five-run inning, and the Blue Jays coast to a 7-4 win, getting nine strong innings from 24-year-old Jim Key. Their lead is now 3½ games.