Light-hitting Steve Lombardozzi was the unlikely hero as the Minnesota Twins clinched their first American League West Division title in 17 years Monday night.
Lombardozzi, batting only .235, tied his major league high with four runs batted in with a three-run homer and a tie-breaking single in the Twins' 5-3 division title-clinching victory over the Texas Rangers at Arlington, Tex.
"I was in a rut for quite a while," Lombardozzi said. "But it was great to get a couple hits and win a game this big. It's a dream come true, a real fantasy."
Seattle's 5-1 victory over Kansas City would have given the Twins the division title had they not beaten the Rangers.
"We were hoping Kansas City would come back and win because we wanted to do this ourselves," Lombardozzi said. "It's especially good to win one on the road like this."
Twin Manager Tom Kelly said he had a premonition about Lombardozzi.
"I had a feeling about Lombardozzi all day," he said. "I just knew he was going to do something tonight. I even told a couple of people that."
The final two outs came on a line drive hit by Gino Petralli to Lombardozzi, who turned it into a celebration-triggering double play by getting Oddibe McDowell at first.
The Twins borrowed a page from the New York Giants of the National Football League with buckets of Gatorade drenching the mob of celebrants around the pitcher's mound, where Jeff Reardon earned his 31st save.
It was Minnesota's fourth division title. The Twins won the AL pennant in 1965 but have yet to win a World Series. The Twins play host to the opening of the League Championship Series on Oct. 7.
Milwaukee 6, Toronto 4--Dale Sveum hit a three-run double in the fifth inning, helping the Brewers stall the Blue Jays' drive to the American League East title at Toronto.
Toronto remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the AL East. The Tigers lost to the Baltimore Orioles.
Bill Wegman (11-11) earned the victory and Mark Clear, the third Milwaukee pitcher, got the last two outs for his sixth save. Mike Flanagan (6-8) was the loser.
Baltimore 3, Detroit 0--John Habyan pitched a five-hitter for 8 innings, and rookie Pete Stanicek drove in a run and scored twic as the Orioles blanked the Tigers at Detroit.
Jack Morris (18-11) gave up eight hits in eight innings but lost his third straight start. Morris, who is 6-7 since the All-Star break, walked 5 and struck out 10.
Morris also threw his 23rd wild pitch, in the sixth inning, breaking the major league record set last year by Bobby Witt of Texas.
NY Yankees 9, Boston 7--Mike Easler capped a six-run rally in the ninth inning with a two-run homer as the Yankees beat the Red Sox Sox in New York.
With one out, Easler hit a 2-and-2 pitch from Calvin Schiraldi, the fourth Red Sox pitcher in the inning, into the upper deck in right. Six of the seven New York batters in the ninth scored.
Meanwhile, American League batting leader Wade Boggs, bothered by a bruised left knee, was sent home by the Red Sox. He will be examined today or Wednesday by team physician Dr. Arthur Pappas.
Seattle 5, Kansas City 1--Lee Guetterman pitched a four-hitter for six innings, and Phil Bradley drove in two runs as the Mariners beat the Royals in Kansas City.
Guetterman (10-4) made his first start since Aug. 15 when Mark Langston was rested because of the flu. Jerry Reed allowed only two hits over three innings for his sixth save.
NY Mets 1, Philadelphia 0-- Howard Johnson doubled home the game's only run in the second inning, and John Candelaria and two relievers combined on a seven-hitter as the Mets beat the Phillies in Philadelphia.
The victory moved the Mets within two games of the National League East-leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets have five games to play and the Cardinals seven.
The Cardinals open a four-game series tonight against third-place Montreal, three games off the lead.
Cincinnati 6, Atlanta 5--Barry Larkin hit a three-run home run and Buddy Bell hit a two-run homer during a six-run fourth inning as the Reds rallied to beat the Braves at Cincinnati.
The homers gave Cincinnati 192 this season, the second-highest total in club history. The 1956 Reds hit 221 homers, equaling the National League record set by the 1947 New York Giants.
It was the second straight game in which Atlanta blew a 5-0 lead by yielding six runs in the fourth inning. San Francisco did it Sunday and wound up beating the Braves, 15-6.