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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Blue Jays Close In on Title

September 25, 1993|From Associated Press

A month ago, this weekend's New York Yankee-Blue Jay series at Toronto shaped up as the most important of the season in the American League East.

There's still some suspense left, but for a different reason. The question now is whether the Blue Jays can wrap up the AL East title by Sunday.

Rickey Henderson hit another home run against Jimmy Key and scored three times as the Blue Jays moved closer to their third consecutive AL East championship, beating the Yankees, 7-3, Friday night for their 11th victory in 12 games.

Toronto, which reduced its magic number to three, increased its lead to 6 1/2 games over the Yankees and seven games over Baltimore, which lost to Detroit, 2-0.

"It was nice doing something to get us going at the start of a big series," Henderson said. "I told our guys that I'd like to finish it with three or four games left to give some of us who are hurting some time to get better."

The Blue Jays have won the division title four times, always clinching at home. The World Series champions have only two games left at the SkyDome and must win both of them against the Yankees--and see Baltimore lose once--to clinch in front of their fans.

Juan Guzman (14-3), who won his seventh consecutive decision, gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings and struck out seven.

Key (17-6), who spent nine seasons in Toronto, gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings as the Yankees lost their fourth in a row.

Henderson, a .412 lifetime hitter against Key, doubled and scored in the first and led off the third with his ninth home run in 84 career at-bats against Key.

Detroit 2, Baltimore 0--John Doherty pitched his second shutout of the season and Travis Fryman drove in both runs as the Tigers won for the first time at Camden Yards.

Fryman hit his 21st home run, a bases-empty shot in the fourth inning, and added a run-scoring double in the sixth for Detroit, which had been 0-10 over two seasons at the Orioles' ballpark.

Doherty (14-11), the Tigers' winningest pitcher, gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out four. His first career shutout came Aug. 18 at Texas in a 2-0 victory.

Chicago 5, Texas 4--Warren Newson hit a tiebreaking pinch-single with two out in the ninth inning as the White Sox beat the Rangers at Chicago to reduce their magic number for clinching the AL West to three.

Lance Johnson led off the ninth with a bunt single against Bob Patterson (2-4), went to second when Ron Karkovice sacrificed, went to third on a groundout and scored on Newson's single against Cris Carpenter.

The victory was the eighth in the last 10 games for the White Sox, who opened a seven-game lead over the second-place Rangers.

Boston 7, Minnesota 4--Mike Greenwell singled in two runs and Tim Naehring followed with a run-scoring double as the Red Sox scored three runs in the eighth inning to win at Boston.

The Red Sox loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter against Brett Merriman (1-1) before Greenwell bounced a single through the infield against Eddie Guardado to score two runs. Naehring then doubled off the left-field wall.

Dave Winfield's pinch-RBI single had tied the score, 4-4, in the top of the eighth, saving Scott Erickson from becoming the first 20-game loser in the majors since 1980. But Ken Ryan struck out Dave McCarty with the bases loaded to end Minnesota's rally.

Oakland 5, Seattle 3--Rookie Steve Karsay threw five-plus shutout innings and Brent Gates had a two-run triple for the Athletics at Seattle.

Ken Griffey hit his 43rd homer for the Mariners.

Karsay (3-3) gave up four singles and walked two.

Chris Bosio (9-9) gave up eight hits in seven innings.

Milwaukee 11, Cleveland 8--Darryl Hamilton and B.J. Surhoff hit run-scoring singles in the 10th inning as the Brewers won at Cleveland.

Hamilton had four hits for the Brewers, who overcame four Cleveland home runs--including Albert Belle's first two in nearly a month--to win for the fifth time in eight games.

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