It might have been fun writing about a pitcher named Champion who can’t do anything but lose. But while the Red Sox were having one of their infrequent one-sided games, beating the Brewers, 10-1, at Fenway Park yesterday, Doug Griffin fractured his left hand and will be lost for four to six weeks.
Rico Petrocelli, who knocked in two important runs the night before, was stout with his bat again. He had three singles and his seventh homer into the net in the third off Bill Champion; Luis Aparicio also had four hits, and Carl Yastrzemski kept his streak alive for the fifth game with a single.
While all the muttering has been going on about why the Red Sox dawdle so much, Griffin had been playing his best ever at second base. But this righthander, Champion, who has now lost 14 straight, hit Dough on the left hand in the first inning.
When Griffin topples over and writhes on the ground, it’s a cinch he isn’t acting. And yesterday, after trainer Buddy LeRoux helped Doug off the field, it was learned he had suffered a fracture in the same area he had a year ago when Gaylord Perry hit him.
Champion’s misfiring caused no trouble, but when Bill Lee, who had Bob Montgomery as catcher after his verbal squabble with Carlton Fisk in Baltimore, struck out Ellie Rodriguez on the left shoulder in the third inning, there were some ominous signs.
Lee and Rodriguez had been in sessions in Puerto Rico two years ago when Lee’s face was battered by a Rodriguez attack. And when Rodriguez was struck, he hoisted his bat and headed slowly toward the mound.
Fortunately, Montgomery stepped out in front of Rodriguez, put his two hands on the Brewers catcher’s shoulders and said to him:
“Why don’t you go to first base where you belong?”
Rodriguez dropped his bat and went, though he did mutter several things at Lee.
So Lee talked long and pleasantly in the dressing room after the Red Sox had cracked Brewers pitching for 16 hits, and Champion an 11-straight game loser with the Phillies last year, was gone in the fourth inning. Chris Short, Gary Ryerson and Ray Newman, all lefties, followed Champion.
But the talk yesterday with the 8,416 was about two bunts that Rick Miller laid down and beat out. The first was clever. The Sox had scored a run in the second inning on three singles and had the bases loaded with two outs. Miller dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line for the second run. A Red Sox player bunting with two out!
And, after walking in the fourth, Miller started the sixth with a drag bunt over the pitcher’s head. The Red Sox went on to score four runs with singles by Yastrzemski, Orlando Cepeda and Petrocelli following, and centerfielder Dave May helped when he dropped Montgomery’s fly for a two-base error.
Lee, now 4-1, gave up his five hits and had no trouble with Montgomery.
“We got along famously,” said Lee. “Bob and I always work well.”
So now we’ll probably have one of those “I-like-to-pitch-to-this-guy” things for the rest of the year.