Jim Rice and Dwight Evans each hit two-run homers, and Mike Brown and Bob Stanley pitched a four-hitter as the Boston Red Sox beat the Tigers, 6-2, in Detroit last night. But two of those hits were by Kirk Gibson, who hit one of the longest homers in Tiger Stadium history, then scored on a bizarre homer-turned-double.
Gibson's fourth-inning homer, on a 2-1 pitch from Brown, cleared the right field roof--which is 94 feet high--and landed on the roof of the Brooks Lumber Co. across the street from the stadium. The distance was estimated at almost 600 feet.
Only 14 times have homers cleared the right field roof, the most recent hit by Jason Thompson, who did it twice in 1977. Ted Williams' homer of May 4, 1939, was the first to go out of the park, which remains similar to the way it was rebuilt in 1938.
Then, in the sixth inning, Gibson hit a long drive to center with Lou Whitaker on first with a single. Center fielder Tony Armas ran down the ball and threw to shortstop Glenn Hoffman as Gibson and Whitaker dashed for home.
Hoffman's relay to catcher Rich Gedman got Whitaker, but, as plate umpire Larry Barnett signaled the out, Gibson came barreling home and slammed into Barnett, who caromed into Gedman, forcing the catcher to bobble the ball and allowing Gibson to step on the plate.
"I can't just stop on a dime, you know--it's like trying to stop an 18-wheeler on a wet road," Gibson said. "Maybe some day I can hit one like that to win a game. It's nice to hit a ball that long.
"But we lost the game and the umpire got hurt. Everything was overshadowed by those two things."
Umpire Dale Ford said the ball was an inside-the-park homer because there was no interference, but official scorer Ed Browalski of the Polish Daily News overruled the decision after consulting the rule book. Gibson was credited with a double, ruled to have advanced to third on Armas' throw home and scored when Gedman was charged with an error for not hanging onto the ball.
Barnett was carried from the field on a stretcher and taken to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit for X-rays of his back. Ford took over for him and the game continued with three umpires.
Brown (5-3), pitching his first game since injuring his groin May 28, gave up the four hits, struck out three and walked one in 7 2/3 innings.