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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Gonzalez Spurring Rangers' Powerful Move Toward First Place

September 14, 1993|From Associated Press

Juan Gonzalez hit his major league-leading 44th home run Monday night as the Texas Rangers routed the Cleveland Indians, 12-1, at Arlington, Tex., and moved closer to the lead in the American League West.

The Rangers' victory, combined with Chicago's 9-0 loss to Kansas City, leaves Texas 2 1/2 games behind the first-place White Sox. The Rangers have lost only once in eight games and have never been closer to first place this late in the season. The Rangers are 47-27 since June 25, the second-best record over that span in the majors behind the Atlanta Braves.

Gonzalez, who had three hits, hit a two-run homer against Jose Mesa (10-11) in the third inning after Rob Ducey led off with his first major league homer in almost two years.

"It was typical Juan," Ranger Manager Kevin Kennedy said. "The only trouble Juan has had this year is with the bases loaded. I think he puts too much pressure on himself, trying to clear the bases with one swing."

Gonzalez, who led the majors in 1992 with 43 homers, hit loser Jose Mesa's pitch into the stands in left-center field.

Rafael Palmeiro added a sixth-inning solo homer, his 36th, and Dean Palmer had a solo shot in the seventh, his 29th. Gonzalez, Palmeiro and Palmer homered in the same game for the first time this season.

Kevin Brown (13-11) won his third consecutive start, pitching a six-hitter for his major league-tying 11th complete game.

Kansas City 9, Chicago 0--Kevin Appier gave up two hits in seven innings to help the Royals move to within five games of the White Sox in the American League West.

Felix Jose hit a three-run homer for the Royals.

Appier (16-8) has pitched 19 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings to lower his earned-run average to 2.73.

Mark Gubicza pitched the final two innings, giving the White Sox their 13th shutout.

Tim Belcher (3-5) lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up six runs and seven hits.

Chicago's Frank Thomas doubled in the sixth. It was Thomas' 73rd extra-base hit, leaving him one short of the club record set by Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920.

New York 3, Milwaukee 1--Jimmy Key gave up four hits in six innings at Milwaukee as the Yankees regained second place in the American League East.

Key (17-5) is 10-2 in 19 starts after Yankee losses as New York won for only the second time in seven games.

Lee Smith got the last four outs for his 44th save, his first as a Yankee. Smith struck out Juan Bell with runners at first and third to end the game.

Boston 6, Baltimore 4--The Orioles fell two games behind AL East-leading Toronto when wildness led to a four-run sixth inning by the Red Sox at Boston.

The Red Sox had four walks and three hits during the inning to overcome homers by Harold Baines and Chris Hoiles.

Billy Hatcher started the sixth with a single and scored on John Valentin's double. Carlos Quintana walked, Bob Melvin sacrificed, and Mike Greenwell was walked intentionally, loading the bases with two out.

Oakland 7, Minnesota 2--Dave Winfield moved into 18th place on the all-time home run list, but Bobby Witt beat the Twins with a six-hitter at Minneapolis.

Winfield's 2,997th hit came on a homer leading off the seventh. Winfield's 21st homer was the 453rd of his career, moving him past Carl Yastrzemski. Winfield also tied Mel Ott for 11th in total bases with 5,041.

Witt (11-12) is 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA in six starts since ending a six-game losing streak.

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