Don Mattingly Took A Meager .184 Batting Average Into Sunday's Game. (Gannett News Service 4/17/94)


     DETROIT - Don Mattingly took a meager .184 batting average into
  Sunday's game. Luis Polonia was hitting .160. Bernie Williams was
  hitting just two points higher than Polonia.
     Yet that trio's perseverance and production helped the resilient
  New York Yankees outscore Detroit 8-6 Sunday at Tiger Stadium to
  take the rubber match of their three-game series and conclude a 3-3
  trip.
     Mattingly finished 2 for 5 with a pair of doubles. The first of
  those represented the only extra-base hit in a three-run third
  inning that began the scoring. The second triggered a four-run
  eighth off left-hander Bill Krueger (0-1) that snapped a 4-4 tie.
     Polonia beat out an infield single to help fuel the third inning
  and his two-run single climaxed the eighth. Williams, normally the
  starting center fielder, replaced Daryl Boston as a pinch-hitter in
  the sixth and promptly tied the score with a fielder's choice.
  Williams' sacrifice fly delivered the tie-breaker in the eighth.
     The contributions of those three struggling players said much
  about the way the scrappy 6-5 Yankees are approaching their
  business. They started this trip by dropping their first two games
  in Chicago but salvaged the finale there. They took two of three
  here in a series made difficult by strong winds and the Tigers'
  strong hitters.
     "I like the way we're competing," manager Buck Showalter said.
  "We're taking the same competitive edge into games that we took
  last year and that will enable you to play to your abilities. We'll
  have to see what those abilities are."
     Mattingly said his track record of success - he's a lifetime
  .309 hitter - helped him stay positive after early negative
  results. He had produced just seven hits in 38 at-bats before Sunday.
     "I've played too long to let 35 at-bats affect my year," the
  11-year veteran said. "When I was young, it probably would have
  scared the heck out of me."
     When he was young, he undoubtedly would have scrambled to make
  an adjustment - find a new stance, find a new approach, find
  something. Now, he's resisting that impulse.
     "My biggest fight," Mattingly said, "has been not to get
  frustrated and not to make any changes. I've stuck to my guns by
  not changing anything. I haven't made any changes in seven or eight
  weeks now. That may be the longest ever."
     Mattingly, hitless in eight at-bats in the first two games of
  this series, used the opposite field to collect both of his big
  doubles. He stroked a double past third against starter Bill
  Gullickson in the third inning. He sliced a double to left to lead
  off the eighth versus Krueger.
     "So far," Detroit manager Sparky Anderson cracked, "he looks
  like a right-handed pull hitter."
     Danny Tartabull followed Mattingly's second double by singling
  him to third before Paul O'Neill's comebacker advanced Tartabull to
  second but forced Mattingly to hold while O'Neill was retired.
  Detroit used the open base to intentionally walk Mike Stanley and
  put the pressure on the floundering Williams.
     "I know the way I'm swinging the bat now all I can try to do is
  make  contact, get a good pitch and put a good swing on it,"
  Williams said. That is exactly what he did in lifting a sacrifice
  fly to right that easily scored Mattingly.
     Mike Gallego greeted reliever Mike Gardiner with a run-scoring
  single before last-place hitter Pat Kelly drew a walk to fill the
  bases for Polonia, who was eager to atone for past offensive sins.
     "I've been getting some people on base and haven't been getting
  key hits," said Polonia, a free agent signee. "I think maybe I was
  not doing better because I've been pressing."
     He got ahead of Gardiner 2-0 before a swinging strike. "When I
  swung and missed, I realized I was swinging too hard," he related.
     "I said, `Just put the bat on the ball and see what happens.' "
     Polonia steered a single through the middle for two runs and an
  8-4 margin.
     REST OPTIONAL
     The Yankees needed all of those runs because their starting
  pitching was shaky. So was their middle relief. Terry Mulholland
  scrambled through what he described as a "hard six innings,"
  allowing four runs, one earned, on six hits and four walks.
     He needed 120 pitches to survive six innings, 49 of them to
  escape a two-run third inning that included a bases-loaded walk to
  force in a run.
     Xavier Hernandez went two more hard innings, gaining a win in
  his first decision as a Yankee despite serving up a two-run homer
  to Eric Davis in the eighth. Jeff Reardon retired the side in order
  in the ninth, giving him saves in both of the Yankees' victories
  here.
     Reardon's efficiency was the only routine element of a series in
  which little was routine due to the conditions. The wind was
  measured at 24 miles per hour at game time Sunday and was gusting
  much higher than that.
     "I never thought I'd see a park over here like Candlestick, but
  this was close," said Yankees' outfielder Paul O'Neill, a former
  National Leaguer. "I'm glad we got out alive."

Copyright 1994, Gannett News Service, a division of Gannett Satelitte Information Network, Inc.

PEDULLA, TOM, DETROIT - Don Mattingly took a meager .184 ba., Gannett News Service, 04-17-1994.




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