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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP

Mariners Move Closer to Another September Comeback, 12-2

September 21, 1996|From Associated Press

Ken Griffey Jr. hit his career-high 46th home run Friday night as the Seattle Mariners kept pressure on Texas in the AL West with their ninth consecutive victory, 12-2, over the Oakland Athletics at Seattle.

The Mariners, in a repeat of their last-month charge last season, made up eight games in the standings in just over a week to move within one game of the first-place Rangers and within half a game of Baltimore in the wild-card race.

Jay Buhner hit a three-run homer and Joey Cora added a solo shot as the Mariners set a club winning-streak record before a sellout crowd of 56,535. Seattle, trying for its second consecutive division title, is a season-best 12 games over .500.

Rafael Carmona (7-3) entered in the third inning and pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win. Rusty Meacham pitched 3 2/3 hitless innings for his first save this season.

Oakland starter Don Wengert (7-11) was charged with five hits and seven runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Boston 4, New York 2--Once Tim Wakefield got control of his knuckleball, the rest was relatively easy at New York.

Wakefield pitched eight effective innings and the Red Sox tightened the wild-card race with their fifth consecutive victory.

The Red Sox closed within three games of the Orioles for the wild-card spot.

"We're still in the thick of things," said Wakefield, who overcame three walks in the first inning.

Boston tied the score with two runs in the sixth against Dwight Gooden. The Red Sox scored twice in the seventh, helped by shortstop Derek Jeter's throwing error after a hard slide by John Valentin that might have sidelined him for the series because of a sprained ankle.

Toronto 5, Baltimore 1--Pat Hentgen shut out the Orioles for eight-plus innings at Baltimore.

The Orioles have lost three of four and remain four games behind the Yankees in the East.

Baltimore committed three errors and stranded 12 runners.

Chicago 7, Minnesota 3--Frank Thomas hit his ninth homer in his last 10 games, a grand slam, to lead the White Sox at Chicago.

Thomas' slam, the fourth of his career, highlighted a five-run second inning, when Chicago scored all the runs after two outs.

Kansas City 6, Cleveland 4--The Royals scored three in the first and one in the third off Charles Nagy (16-5), who may have had a weakness exposed--holding runners on. Bip Roberts stole three bases and Jose Offerman stole one at Cleveland.

Detroit 10, Milwaukee 1--Melvin Nieves hit a three-run homer and Travis Fryman drove in three runs at Milwaukee.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

AL Playoff Race at a Glance

DIVISION *--*

WEST W L Pct. GB Texas 84 70 .545 -- Seattle 82 70 .539 1 EAST W L Pct. GB New York 87 66 .569 -- Baltimore 83 70 .542 4 Boston 80 73 .523 7 WILD CARD TEAM W L Pct. GB Baltimore 83 70 .542 -- Seattle 82 70 .539 1/2 Chicago 82 73 .529 2 Boston 80 73 .523 3

*--*

One wild-card team qualifies for the playoffs.

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