Dave Stewart and the Oakland A's got going too late to make a mark in the American League West this season, but their strong finish has just about ended the New York Yankees' hopes of winning the East.
Stewart (9-1) survived a wobbly start Wednesday at Oakland and pitched the A's to a 5-3 victory that dropped the Yankees 8 1/2 games behind Boston in the East and virtually out of contention with only 28 games remaining.
Mike Davis, a left-handed batter who handles left-handers rather well, hit triples off lefties Ron Guidry and Rod Scurry, scored twice and drove in two runs to provide Stewart with the help he needed.
It was the fifth consecutive victory for the hard-throwing former Dodger right-hander and his second complete-game victory over the Yankees in 10 days.
Stewart gave up two runs and three hits in the first inning but kept working out of trouble the rest of the game to post his third complete game in a row. Until he went the distance against the Yankees Aug. 24, Stewart, 0-6 with Texas last season, had not had a complete game for more than two years.
Stewart gave up nine hits and walked six while striking out eight.
"He threw 130 pitches through eight innings, and I'd guess he finished with close to 155," Manager Tony LaRussa said. "He was one tired pitcher but he still got those last outs. It's remarkable."
LaRussa has done a remarkable job, himself. He took over the last-place A's at the All-Star break. With the former White Sox manager at the helm, the A's are 32-20 and have climbed to third place in the West.
By winning two out of three in this series, the A's won the season's series from the Yankees, 7-5. It was the first time since 1973 that the A's won the season series between the two teams.
It seems that all the news is bad these days for the Yankees. Before the game, Tommy John, scheduled to face the Angels Friday night, fell while warming up in the bullpen, jammed his left thumb and may have ended his career prematurely.
Then, during the game, Rickey Henderson, who had two hits, stole two bases and scored two runs, jammed his right wrist in the fifth inning while trying to make a diving catch of Davis' first triple in the fifth inning. X-rays were negative, but Henderson may be out several days.
Boston 4, Texas 3--The Red Sox have responded to the challenge of the Toronto Blue Jays and, in so doing, have all but knocked the Rangers out of contention in the West.
Wade Boggs doubled home pinch runner LaSchelle Tarver from first base with one out in the ninth at Boston to give the Red Sox their fifth victory in a row and keep them 4 1/2 games ahead of Toronto.
Boggs, who earlier hit his eighth home run, made a winner out of Bob Stanley, who failed to hold a lead for Tom Seaver in the top of the ninth.
Stanley (6-5) did strike out Pete Incaviglia in the clutch. The rookie outfielder struck out three times and has fanned 157 times this season.
Toronto 3, Cleveland 1--The Blue Jays, getting a rare solid performance out of Dave Stieb, continued to put pressure on the Red Sox in this game at Toronto.
Stieb (5-10) gave up seven singles in 7 innings as the Blue Jays won for the 17th time in their last 21 games.
Although it was the first time since July 9 that Stieb had made it through seven innings, it was his third win in a row. Tom Henke came in to get the last four outs for his 20th save.
The Blue Jays had only six hits off Tom Candiotti (13-10) but made the most of them.
Minnesota 11, Milwaukee 5--Kirby Puckett went 4 for 5, including his 27th home run, at Minneapolis, to lead the Twins' assault on Ted Higuera (17-9). Higuera was ejected for arguing with umpire Tom Leppard after Tom Brunansky's two-run home run in the second inning made it 7-0.
Puckett's big night put him in a virtual tie with Boggs for the batting lead. Boggs is batting .3493, Puckett .3492.
Kansas City 2, Chicago 1--Rookie right fielder Kevin Seitzer isn't likely to forget his first major league game at Kansas City. He singled in the ninth and scored the tying run, then drove in the winning run in the 10th with a grounder. Willie Wilson beat the throw home on the grounder to third.
The Royals' more publicized rookie, Bo Jackson, struck out three times and went 0 for 4.
Seattle 3, Detroit 2--Pinch-hitter Ken Phelps hit a solo home run with two out in the ninth inning to give the Mariners a victory over the Tigers at Seattle.
Phelps hit the first pitch by rookie reliever Bryan Kelly (0-1) 430 feet over the center-field fence for his 20th home run of the season.
Mike Trujillo (2-0), acquired from Boston in the Spike Owen trade, allowed the Tigers only one hit over the last five innings.
Danny Tartabull hit his 24th homer for the Mariners.