Most of the candidates for the Cy Young Award in the American League were on display Wednesday night and the longshot, Jimmy Key, continued to look sharp.
Key pitched six-hit ball for seven innings at Toronto and won his eighth in a row as the Blue Jays hung on to a share of first place in the East with a 7-0 victory over Baltimore.
Tony Fernandez frustrated the futile Orioles, who have lost eight in a row, so much that when he flied out in the fourth, they asked to have his bat confiscated. Fernandez, who had three hits and drove in three runs, had two hits after he was forced to use a different bat.
Key (17-6) became the third pitcher in Blue Jays' history to win 17 games in a season. He will get at least three more chances to break the tie with Doyle Alexander and Dave Stieb.
The last time Key lost was July 11. He went the distance in that one, giving up two runs and three hits, but lost to Bret Saberhagen, a former Cy Young winner, 2-1.
Since the All-Star break, Key, who missed two starts in August because of a tender elbow, has started 12 times. He had four no-decisions, but Toronto won all four of them. Since coming back from the injury, he has started five times and given up only seven earned runs in 35 innings.
The 26-year-old left-hander struck out four and did not walk a batter. He lowered his league-leading earned-run average to 2.77.
Acting Manager Frank Robinson asked the umpires to confiscate Fernandez's bat after a fly hit to medium center. Manager Cal Ripken, Sr. was ejected earlier.
Detroit 4, Boston 1--Jack Morris is another strong candidate for the pitching award, possibly the strongest. Despite a delay of almost 90 minutes before the start in Detroit, Morris easily improved his record to 18-8.
The strong-armed right-hander had a no-hitter until Ellis Burks singled with one out in the sixth. He finished with a three-hitter and the only Boston run was unearned.
Alan Trammell drove in two runs with a home run and a double as the Tigers remained tied with Toronto for the top spot in the East.
Trammell doubled in Kirk Gibson in the first, then hit his 26th home run in the third inning to give Morris all the help he needed.
Texas 4, Oakland 1--Until recently, the hottest choice in the Cy Young battle was Dave Stewart of the Athletics.
The former Dodger right-hander gained his 19th victory Sept. 7. While nobody has matched his win total, Stewart failed in his second attempt to reach 20 in this game at Arlington, Tex.
Stewart (19-11) gave up only five hits, but two of them were home runs by Darrell Porter and Larry Parrish. He was outpitched by Charlie Hough, another former Dodger.
Although his catcher, Geno Petralli, set a major league record by dropping a third strike in the fourth inning for his 34th passed ball, Hough improved his record to 17-11.
Chicago 13, Minnesota 10--It may be that the Twins will stagger to the pennant in the West. Although they lost for the 47th time in 76 games on the road, they retained their 3 1/2-game lead.
The White Sox, with Harold Baines wielding the potent bat, scored five times in the fifth inning and seven times in the sixth to beat the Twins for the third time in a row. Baines doubled home two runs in the fifth and hit a two-run home run in the sixth.
The Twins, who have only six more road games, are 77-70, the only team in the West above .500.
Milwaukee 5, New York 4--Although he didn't pitch his best game, Ted Higuera (17-9) remained one of the leading contenders for the Cy Young.
He became the winner in New York when Glenn Braggs tripled off reliever Tim Stoddard to break a 4-4 tie and climax a three-run Brewers' rally in the seventh.
Braggs, who missed four games with a sore right shoulder, was 0 for 18 against the Yankees before hitting the opposite-field triple to right that dropped the Yankees eight games out of first place in the East.
Seattle 5, Cleveland 3--Rey Quinones hit a two-run home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth at Seattle to give the Mariners the victory.
Earlier, Joe Carter of the Indians became the third player in the majors to join the 30-30 club this season. Carter has 31 home runs. His 30th steal made him the first American Leaguer in nine years to have 30 steals and 30 homers. Eric Davis of Cincinnati and Howard Johnson of the Mets have also done it.