Reliever Aurelio Lopez's three-fingered Little League grip tarnished Bobby Murcer Day in New York.
When Detroit's starter, Dan Petry (12-7), tired in the eighth, Manager Sparky Anderson looked in vain for a rested and healthy reliever. His ace, Lopez, has strained ligaments in his right hand.
"We called down (to the bullpen) three different times to see if he could pitch," Anderson said. "We were trying to sneak through because he was the only one we had."
Lopez said he'd pitch and he did, throwing "nothing" balls, by his own account. "I threw mostly fast balls, because I grip my breaking ball with my whole hand and I was trying to protect my hand," he said. "I had to hold my fast ball with three fingers instead of two and it was maybe 60 percent. I had nothing, but I have a lot of confidence in my location."
He relieved with a runner on second and one out. Oscar Gamble hit a long foul into the upper deck, then popped out; Andre Robertson was out on a 400-foot fly.
Lopez gave up a single and double in the ninth, then Steve Kemp hit a fly over the center field fence. But Kirk Gibson reached over the fence to turn it into a sacrifice fly. Lopez hit Don Baylor with a pitch, but got Don Mattingly, representing the tying run, to fly out.