Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs restored order to the American League Wednesday night at Minneapolis.
While Clemens was pitching his third two-hitter of the season and improving his record to 19-4 in the Boston Red Sox's 9-1 victory over Minnesota, Boggs returned to his spot as the league's leading hitter.
In lowering his earned-run average to 2.54, the winningest pitcher in the majors struck out Kirby Puckett three times. Puckett, who slipped past the ailing Boggs Tuesday night, .349 to .348, went 0 for 3 and dropped to .347.
Meanwhile Boggs, who has won the batting title two of the last three years, appeared to have recovered from a lower back problem. He had a triple, double and single, raised his average to .351 and helped the Red Sox retain their 5 1/2-game lead in the East.
For Clemens, it was his best performance in nearly three weeks. From the time Jim Rice and Tony Armas doubled in runs during a three-run first inning, Clemens was in charge. He struck out six to run his league-leading strikeout total to 186.
He was somewhat wild, though. He walked six batters, the most he has had in any game this year, and two wild pitches set up the Twins' run. Randy Bush singled in the fourth for the Twins' first hit and reached third on two wild pitches. He scored on Kent Hrbek's sacrifice fly.
Red Sox Manager John McNamara sounded a warning to the rest of the league.
"He's getting the rhythm back that he lost after the All-Star game for awhile," McNamara said of Clemens. "He had control and location tonight and was much better. He was back to his old self."
The Red Sox banged out 14 hits, including home runs by Rice, Don Baylor and Dwight Evans.
"I had good pop," Clemens said. "But when you get the support I had tonight, it's a lot easier.
"For one thing, when you have a lead, you can work on things. I was back in form. I expect a lot of myself, also."
Toronto 4, Chicago 1--The Blue Jays are starting to resemble last year's team that won the East. They are combining solid pitching with timely hitting.
In this game at Toronto, rookie Joe Johnson (3-1) held the slumping White Sox to six hits in eight innings and Lloyd Moseby hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to lead the Blue Jays to their fifth win in a row. The White Sox have lost eight of their last 10 games.
Moseby, who went 4 for 4 in Tuesday's win, hit his 17th home run, then walked and scored in the eighth. The center fielder has scored a run in 13 consecutive games.
Johnson had a shutout going until Darryl Boston singled to open the ninth. Tom Henke replaced Johnson and gave up two hits for the Chicago run.
Texas 7, Kansas City 1--Charlie Hough, emerging from the worst slump of his career, pitched a brilliant game at Kansas City but was not permitted to complete it.
Hough, who was hammered in five previous games, was pitching a three-hitter when Manager Bobby Valentine decided to let Dale Mohorcic get the last out and gain a tie with Mike Marshall by pitching in 13 games in a row. Marshall, as the workhorse of the Dodgers, legitimately appeared in 13 games in a row in 1974. Valentine used Mohorcic at least three times when he had no bearing on the outcome.
In his previous five starts, three of which he lost, Hough (10-8) pitched 25 innings, giving up 40 hits and 34 runs, 24 of them earned.
"It's been frustrating," Hough said. "But, I pitch well in this park. I was around the plate all night."
It was Hough's first victory since July 12.
With the Angels losing, the Rangers closed to within four games of first place in the West.
New York 5, Seattle 2--After hitting a two-run home run in the second inning at New York to get the Yankees on their way to a victory, Dave Winfield wondered what all the changes in the roster was doing to his team.
"The jury's out," he told United Press International after hitting his 300th career home run. "We have a lot of new faces around here, and it remains to be seen how they'll handle the pressure. But we need to build a winning streak--with whoever we have on the team now. We have to create a new chemistry with the new players."
Don Mattingly also hit a two-run home run for the Yankees and one of the new players, pitcher Tim Stoddard pitched 2 scoreless innings to gain his second win as a Yankee.
Milwaukee 6, Cleveland 3--Ernest Riles snapped an 0-for-17 slump by hitting a three-run home run in the second inning at Cleveland to get Bill Wegman (4-9) off to a good start. Rob Deer also hit a three-run home run, his 28th home run of the season.
Wegman, who had not won since July 21, retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced.
Riles almost didn't play. Manager George Bamberger planned on resting the slumping shortstop. But Jim Gantner had a strained thigh, so Riles, 6 for 42, was forced to play.