Maybe having John Wetteland around won’t make ninth innings all that much more peaceful for the Texas Rangers.
Wetteland made his Texas debut harder than it had to be, loading the bases before getting out of it Tuesday, preserving a 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Arlington, Texas.
“I was tremendously nervous, no doubt about it,” said Wetteland, who had been given one of the loudest ovations during pregame introductions. “There was a lot of adrenaline going.”
For Rangers fans, the scene was eerily reminiscent of last year when Texas relievers blew 17 regular-season saves plus leads in all three playoff losses to the New York Yankees.
Wetteland admitted that Texas fans should get used to his anxiety-provoking but effective style.
“This was not totally unusual,” Wetteland said. “I really would like to put a dent in that (reputation). But the bottom line is the bottom line still. The important thing is getting that last out while your team is still ahead.”
Lee Stevens hit a three-run homer and Damon Buford hit a two-run drive to highlight the Rangers’ offense.
Chisox 6, Jays 5 (10) Toronto
Albert Belle, making his debut for Chicago, doubled home the first run of the 1997 major league season and later launched a two-run homer.
Norberto Martin and Ray Durham, however, were the guys who won the season-opener for the White Sox.
Martin tied it with a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning and Durham streaked home from first base after a ground ball went underneath the glove of shortstop Alex Gonzalez in the 10th.
It was Belle’s first homer since leaving Cleveland for Chicago - he did not connect in 67 at-bats in spring training.
Twins 7, Tigers 5 Minneapolis
Given a chance to hold a five-run lead, Detroit self-destructed, losing on Pat Meares’ two-run homer in a four-run eighth.
Melvin Nieves hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Tony Clark hit a two-run double in the fifth to put the Tigers head 5-0.
Puckett on DL
The Minnesota Twins placed Kirby Puckett on the 60-day disabled list Tuesday even though Puckett retired last summer and hasn’t played a regular-season game since Sept. 25, 1995, when he was hit in the face by a pitch from Dennis Martinez of the Cleveland Indians.
Puckett, forced to retire after losing the vision in his right eye to glaucoma, remains on the roster to collect his $6 million salary for the 1997 season.
Clearing the bases
Cal Ripken and the Baltimore Orioles have yet to reach an agreement in negotiations designed to extend Ripken’s current contract beyond this season. Ripken’s deadline of opening day to reach an extension agreement was extended by a day because the Orioles’ opener against the Kansas City Royals was postponed by high winds in the Baltimore area.
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