It was a convincing performance, but the Toronto Blue Jays were playing it cautious after sweeping a three-game series from the Yankees at New York.
"It's only June. You don't win a pennant in three games," winning pitcher Jimmy Key said after the Blue Jays had beaten the Yankees, 4-1, Wednesday night for their eighth straight victory.
Hot-hitting George Bell connected for his major league-leading 21st home run as the Blue Jays moved to within one victory of tying the longest winning streak in team history. Toronto outscored the Yankees, 22-3, in the series and leads second-place New York by 2 1/2 games in the American League East.
"We're not stupid enough to think that because we're in first place now, we're going to be in first place in September," said Key (8-3), who allowed five of the Yankees' seven hits in 7 innings. Tom Henke finished for his 10th save.
Bell hit a three-run homer, increasing his AL-leading RBI total to 54. He went 7 for 13 with 3 home runs, 2 doubles and 8 RBIs in the series.
Yankee starter Tommy John (6-2) allowed six hits, walked four and struck out three over 7 innings, his longest appearance of the season. The 44-year-old left-hander had won his last four starts.
Minnesota 4, Kansas City 3--Gene Larkin's one-out, 10th-inning single scored Greg Gagne from second, giving the Twins the victory at Minneapolis and moving them into first place in the American League West ahead of the Royals.
Gagne began the winning rally with a single off Jerry Don Gleaton (1-2). Gagne stole second as Kirby Puckett struck out. After Gary Gaetti was intentionally walked, Larkin grounded Gleaton's first pitch to left, and Gagne's slide beat left fielder Bo Jackson's throw home.
Jeff Reardon (3-4) pitched two scoreless inning of relief for the victory.
The three-game series sweep gave Minnesota a five-game winning streak for the first time in two years.
Boston 15, Baltimore 4--Rookie Ellis Burks hit two homers, including a grand slam, and Marty Barrett also hit a grand slam as the Red Sox handed the slumping Orioles their seventh straight loss.
"I can't describe it," said Burks, who finished with seven RBIs. "I'm flabbergasted. It's great. You only dream about nights like this.
"I only call home to Fort Worth, Tex., once a week, but seven runs batted in makes a big difference. I'll call tonight and not collect. I'm in the big leagues."
Burks' sixth home run of the season ignited a five-run fourth inning, and Barrett's bases-loaded homer triggered a five-run seventh as the Orioles dropped the 11th of their last 12 games. It was the first time two grand slams ever came off Oriole pitchers in the same game.
Red Sox starter Al Nipper (5-5) scattered seven hits in nine innings, including solo home runs to Lee Lacy and Ray Knight. Eric Bell (5-4) took the loss as Boston erupted for 18 hits.
"We're in a bad streak all the way around," said Oriole Manager Cal Ripken Sr. "We're not pitching. When we do, we're not hitting. Tonight we didn't do either one. It's a terribly bad streak."
Boston's Wade Boggs had three hits, including two doubles, and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Teammate Don Baylor was hit by a pitch for the 239th time, four off the major league record held by Ron Hunt.
Milwaukee 8, Detroit 5--B.J. Surhoff hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning to give the Brewers the victory at Detroit and snap the Tigers' four-game winning streak.
Eric King (3-5) started the 10th for the Tigers and gave up a one-out walk to Rob Deer and a single to Greg Brock. After Paul Molitor struck out, Mark Thurmond relieved King.
Surhoff hit the second pitch off Thurmond to center for his third homer, the Brewers' third home run of the game.
Dan Plesac (2-0) pitched the last three innings for the victory.
Oakland 5, Chicago 2--Mike Davis homered and reached base four times, helping the A's complete a three-game series sweep of the White Sox at Oakland.
Dennis Eckersley (5-4), who relieved when starter Joaquin Andujar strained a hamstring, worked five shutout innings to hand Chicago its ninth loss in 11 games.
Eckersley, who has retired 33 of the last 37 batters he has faced, allowed only two singles and struck out six. Jay Howell pitched the ninth for his 11th save. Neil Allen (0-3) surrendered 10 hits over 6 innings and was the loser.
Texas 9, Seattle 5--Darrell Porter's pinch-hit, three-run homer capped a five-run eighth-inning rally that lifted the Rangers over the Mariners at Seattle.
Porter hammered a 1-and-0 pitch from reliever Steve Shields into the third deck in right field. All three of Porter's homers this season have come while he was pinch-hitting, a club record.