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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Ventura Solves Eckersley With Homer

September 20, 1993|From Associated Press

Robin Ventura, who had never gotten a hit against Dennis Eckersley, picked the right time to finally come through.

Ventura's two-run home run against the struggling reliever in the ninth inning Sunday gave the Chicago White Sox a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Oakland.

It was the 14th victory in 21 games for the White Sox, who lead the American League West by 4 1/2 games over Texas, which lost to the Angels.

"I've hit balls good off him, I've just never gotten a hit," Ventura said. "It just seems like I've always hit them at someone."

After Frank Thomas' leadoff single, Ventura was given a bunt sign, then was told to swing away. He drove Eckersley's 1-0 fastball over the center field fence for his 22nd homer.

Eckersley (2-4), making his 800th career appearance, gave up three hits and retired only one batter in the ninth before being replaced by Roger Smithberg. It was Eckersley's second rocky outing in three appearances. He blew a save Thursday in Minnesota, giving up Dave Winfield's 3,000th hit.

"It's kind of been a bad year and humbling experience for me, including today," Eckersley said. "I didn't have anything in the 'pen. I just feel terrible mentally."

Thomas had suffered a muscle spasm in his left arm after crashing into the stands chasing a foul ball in the seventh. Because the soreness hampered his swing, Thomas was planning to bunt to get on base in the ninth. Instead, he punched a single into right field.

"That's the first time we've ever done anything against Dennis," Thomas said. "He's embarrassed us. I was going to do whatever it took to get on."

Tim Belcher gave up five hits, struck out three and walked one in 7 1/3 innings for the White Sox. Scott Radinsky (7-2) won in relief. Roberto Hernandez got three outs for his 35th save.

Chicago Manager Gene Lamont said Belcher had one of his best outings since being dealt by the Cincinnati Reds on July 31.

"I thought he threw well all day," Lamont said. "He had better control. He's a guy that can put together a long string if he gets hot."

Toronto 10, Minnesota 0--The Blue Jays extended their win streak to eight games with a club-record nine doubles and solid pitching by Jose Guzman at Minneapolis.

The Blue Jays have a four-game lead in the American League East--their largest this season. It also gave Toronto a five-game advantage in the loss column over the New York Yankees and Baltimore with 13 left.

"We're going home with a great road trip behind us and with momentum on our side," said Joe Carter, who drove in the first run but was the only Toronto starter who didn't double.

"We had such great pitching last year that we couldn't go through a tailspin," Carter said. "This year, we've had to scratch and claw for everything. But lately, the pitching has been coming through in the clutch and we've turned it up a notch."

Guzman (13-3) gave up eight hits in eight innings and is 6-0 since last losing on July 20. The Twins, who stranded 10 runners in scoring position, were shut out for a league high 13th time.

Mike Trombley (5-5) gave up nine hits in 6 2/3 innings for the Twins.

Boston 8, New York 3--The Red Sox's victory at New York spoiled Frank Tanana's debut and dropped the Yankees four games behind Toronto in the AL East with 12 games left.

The Yankees acquired Tanana from the Mets on Friday hoping for three quality starts. Tanana (7-16) gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings.

The 40-year-old left-hander was 4-0 against Boston last season for Detroit and had been 18-9 against the Red Sox.

He said the Yankees are not out of the race.

"I've seen close races change and turn around very quickly," Tanana said. "In 1987 with Detroit, we came back in the last week to win the division when Toronto went on a losing streak."

Danny Darwin (15-11) gave up three hits and one run in six innings for the victory.

John Valentin had three hits and drove in four runs for Boston with a run-scoring double in the second inning, a two-run homer in the fifth, and a run-scoring single during Boston's four-run eighth.

Paul O'Neill hit his 20th homer for the Yankees.

Baltimore 8, Milwaukee 4--Harold Baines drove in four runs at Milwaukee to help the Orioles stay within five games of first-place Toronto in the AL East.

The third-place Orioles have three games at Cleveland before going home to play their last 10 at Camden Yards, including the final four with Toronto.

The Orioles, shut out in the first two games of the series with the last-place Brewers, got their first runs in 25 innings during a four-run third.

Arthur Rhodes (5-4) gave up six hits in 6 1/3 innings for the victory.

Alan Mills, who got his third save, then retired Greg Vaughn on a foul fly to end the threat.

Seattle 4, Kansas City 1--Erik Hanson scattered five hits over 8 1/3 innings at Seattle to break his four-game losing streak.

Hanson (11-12) struck out nine and walked one. Ted Power finished for his 11th save, giving up a run-scoring single to Kevin McReynolds.

Hanson, 5-0 in his first eight starts this year, is 6-6 in his last 14 games.

Mike Magnante (1-2) gave up four runs and five hits in five innings for the Royals, who were shut out for the seventh time this season.

Cleveland 12, Detroit 2--Mark Clark took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and Sam Horn hit two homers and drove in four runs for the Indians at Detroit.

Horn, who had not homered since July 1, 1992, at Baltimore against Milwaukee, hit a solo shot in the second and a two-run homer during the seventh. Horn led the International League with 38 home runs this season at Charlotte.

Clark (6-4) gave up six hits, struck out six and walked one in 8 1/3 innings. He did not give up a hit until Scott Livingstone's infield single with one out in the seventh. Clark came off the disabled list Sept. 9 and had not given up a run in 22 innings before Lou Whitaker's run-scoring double in the ninth.

Bill Gullickson (12-9) gave up seven runs in three-plus innings.

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