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Cone Gives Yankees Plenty to Celebrate

September 21, 1997|From Associated Press

The New York Yankees clinched a playoff berth Saturday, yet they had something even more special to celebrate: David Cone, it appears, is all right.

Cone, sidelined for a month because of tendinitis in his right shoulder, pitched five encouraging innings and the Yankees nailed down a postseason berth with a 4-3, 11-inning victory over Toronto at New York.

"I'm honestly pleased with how the day came out," Cone said. "I thought it was pretty close to normal."

"Today was a huge step," he said. "Now, I need to see how I recover between starts. I also need to get another start."

The Yankees, who also welcomed catcher Joe Girardi back to the lineup after a two-week absence, won it on Derek Jeter's bases-loaded walk with two out. After two straight losses, they eliminated the Angels from wild-card contention.

New York, trailing Baltimore by five games in the AL East, will make its third consecutive postseason appearance, its best stretch since 1976-78. And Cone seems ready to be a part of it.

"I'm excited about his outing," Yankee Manager Joe Torre said. "I couldn't be happier. We'll see how he feels tomorrow and the next day."

The defending World Series champion became the third team in the majors to clinch a postseason berth, joining the Orioles and Atlanta Braves.

"It is everything you work for all year, to get to the playoffs," Torre said. "We're not just satisfied with getting there, we want to win a few series."

Cone gave up three runs, one of them unearned because of his own throwing error. He walked none, struck out five and threw 80 pitches.

He gave up six hits to a team that began the game last in the majors in batting at .243. Rookie Shannon Stewart tied a Toronto record with two triples.

If he checks out fine today, Cone will get one more start in the regular season, probably Thursday at Cleveland. Then, if the AL standings hold, Cone would be ready to face the Indians in the first round of the playoffs, likely pitching Game 1 at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 30.

Kansas City 5, Cleveland 2--Johnny Damon's tie-breaking triple in the eighth inning sent the Royals past the Indians, who lost left-handed starter John Smiley before the game because of a possible broken arm.

While throwing a curveball in warmups before the game, Smiley broke a bone between the elbow and shoulder of his pitching arm.

Baltimore 12, Detroit 5--Eric Davis, who returned this week while still undergoing treatment for colon cancer, broke out of a 0-for-26 slump with two hits and drove in three runs as the Orioles routed the Tigers at Baltimore.

Chris Hoiles, Mike Bordick and B.J. Surhoff each homered in a nine-run second inning as the Orioles moved closer to their first AL East title since 1983.

Baltimore won for only the sixth time in 15 games and reduced its magic number to clinch the division title to three.

For Davis, though, it was a relief to get his first hits since rejoining the club.

"It felt great to finally get that monkey off my back," said Davis, who got his first hit in 11 at-bats with a second-inning double. "It's tough enough to play this game when you're right, but it feels like I haven't missed a beat."

Chicago 6, Boston 4--Nomar Garciaparra became the first Red Sox rookie to reach 200 hits since Johnny Pesky in 1942, but Ozzie Guillen keyed a three-run eighth with a two-run single as the White Sox won at Boston.

Chicago, which began the day 7 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central, won its fourth in a row and evened its record at 77-77. The White Sox, who have eight games remaining, are on the verge of elimination.

Garciaparra had one hit in five at-bats and became the first rookie to reach 200 since Kevin Seitzer did it in 1987 with Kansas City. The rookie record of 217 was set by Tony Oliva in 1964.

Bret Saberhagen, who missed last season because of shoulder surgery, made his sixth start since returning and had his best outing. Saberhagen gave up four hits in five shutout innings, struck out one, walked one and left after a 51-minute rain delay.

Minnesota 6, Milwaukee 1--Pat Meares homered and LaTroy Hawkins held the Brewers without a hit until the sixth inning at Minneapolis.

The loss dropped Milwaukee 7 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central with 10 games left.





Player Team Performance Team's Result Jason Giambi Oakland 3 for 4, 2 homers, 3 RBIs Win Eric Davis Baltimore 2 for 3, 3 RBIs, 1 run Win Charlie Hayes New York 3 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 Run Win




Player Team Performance Team's Result LaTroy Hawkins Minnesota 6 innings, Win 1 run, 2 hits David Cone New York 5 innings, 3 runs, Win 6 hits, 5 strikeouts Jeff Juden Cleveland 7 innings, 2 runs, Loss 4 hits, 7 strikeouts


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