Roy Smalley's grand slam home run highlighted a five-run third inning last night and the New York Yankees, responding to club owner George Steinbrenner's pregame talk, went on to rout the Cleveland Indians, 11-3, in Yankee Stadium.
Oscar Gamble, singled out by Steinbrenner as a major disappointment, and 0 for 17 going into the game, had three hits, including a pair of doubles, in five at bats, scored two runs and had two RBI.
Tommy John (5-6) gave up seven hits in eight innings to get the victory with Dave LaRoche pitching the ninth.
The Yankees got three runs in the second inning on an infield single by Dave Winfield, a ground-rule double by Gamble, an RBI out by John Mayberry, a sacrifice fly by Butch Wynegar and Graig Nettles' fourth homer of the season and 299th of his career.
In the third, with one out, Winfield and Gamble hit back-to-back doubles off starter and loser Len Barker (8-4). After Mayberry flied out, Barker walked Wynegar and Nettles to load the bases. Smalley then hit a 3-2 pitch for his eighth homer, the second grand slam of the season and fifth of his career.
The sixth-place Yankees heard from Steinbrenner for almost 45 minutes. The owner declined to comment on what he told the team.
"The talk did it, all right," Smalley said. "The talk I had with (batting coach) Joe Pepitone. I talked with him before the game about some technical stuff. I hadn't been keeping my weight back well."
Pitcher Rich Gossage called the closed-door meeting "a very positive meeting. There was no ranting or raving. It was pretty much cut and dried, although some very to-the-point things were said."