Mark Whiten's first major league home run, a two-run shot in the third inning, snapped a 4-4 tie and led the Blue Jays to a 7-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals Thursday at Toronto.
With the Boston Red Sox's loss to the Detroit Tigers, the Blue Jays took sole possession of first place in the American League East.
Losing pitcher Kevin Appier (5-4) walked Fred McGriff with one out in the third inning, and McGriff took second on John Olerud's groundout. Greg Myers' single scored McGriff to tie the game, 4-4, and Whiten hit Appier's next pitch over the center-field wall.
"I hit it well, but I can hit it better," Whiten said. He was grinning because of the timing.
"That's the key," Whiten said. "It's important to be able to contribute. But when you can put your team up, it's even more important."
Myers hit a sacrifice fly to make it 7-4 in the fifth and offset Mike Macfarlane's third home run in the Royals' seventh.
John Cerutti (7-6) won for the sixth time in his last seven decisions, yielding five runs and eight hits in seven innings. Jim Acker went one inning, and Tom Henke pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 22 opportunities.
Appier gave up all seven Toronto runs--four earned--and eight hits in six innings as Kansas City's four-game winning streak ended.
Detroit 10, Boston 4--Lloyd Moseby hit a home run and a two-run single and Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker each had three hits and two runs batted in to lead the Tigers at Detroit.
Winner Dan Petry (8-6) yielded three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings before giving way to Paul Gibson and Mike Henneman. Loser Wes Gardner (2-6) went 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on two hits and three walks before leaving when his elbow stiffened.
Boston cut the Tiger lead to 4-3 in the sixth inning on Mike Greenwell's home run into the right-field upper deck.
But the Tigers added four runs in the seventh on an RBI single by Trammell, an RBI double by Larry Sheets and a two-run single by Moseby. Carlos Quintana doubled home Boston's final run in the eighth.
Seattle 6, Minnesota 4--Edgar Martinez's three-run homer lifted the Mariners to a victory at Minneapolis, leaving the Twins alone in last place in the West.
Martinez hit seven home runs in his first 134 at-bats, his last coming May 24. He also had only one RBI in his previous 17 games.
Ken Griffey Jr. added his 14th homer in support of Bill Swift (4-2), who had his third consecutive start after 30 relief appearances in a row. He is 2-0 with a 1.74 earned-run average as a starter.
Swift scattered seven hits and allowed one earned run before giving way to Mike Jackson with one out in the seventh inning. Mike Schooler finished for his 27th save.
Minnesota starting pitcher Allan Anderson dropped to 4-13.