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American League Roundup : Yankees Beat Indians in Road Opener, 6-2

It isn’t just at home that the New York Yankees are a dominant force.

With Joe Niekro pitching well and Mike Easler leading the attack, the Yankees opened their road schedule with a 6-2 victory Tuesday night at Cleveland. It was their fifth win in a row and boosted their record to 6-1.

Niekro retired 19 of the first 20 batters he faced. He retired with one out in the eighth, having given up just four hits and a run.

Easler had two singles and drove in three runs. The top six men in the Yankee lineup each had at least one hit and accounted for 12 of the Yankees’ 13 hits. Dave Winfield and Ken Griffey had three apiece.

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On a cold rainy night, there were only 3,223 fans on hand to see the Yankees continue their hot streak.

“We can play a different game every day and beat you,” new Manager Lou Piniella told the Associated Press. “We can beat you with power. We can beat you with speed. We can beat you with pitching. And tonight, we beat the Indians with singles (11 of them). But the thing that is there every day is defense. What holds you together day in and day out is defense.”

Although he struck out six of the first 10 batters he faced, Tom Candiotti took the loss. The first hit off Candiotti, like Niekro a knuckleball specialist, was Willie Randolph’s double in the fourth. He scored on Easler’s single. Easler also had a two-run single in the ninth off Jim Kern.

Brian Fisher replaced Niekro and gave up Andre Thornton’s second home run of the season in the ninth.

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Oakland 8, Minnesota 2--Moose Haas pitched a five-hitter at Minneapolis, and Alfredo Griffin had four hits to lead the A’s 16-hit attack.

It was the second consecutive sharp outing for Haas. In his first start last week, he pitched 7 scoreless innings. Both times, he faced the Twins.

Steve Lombardozzi’s two-run double in the second inning accounted for the only runs the Twins have scored in 16 innings against Haas.

The A’s broke the game open in the sixth inning. Jose Canseco walked and two outs later went to third on a single by Griffin. Consecutive run-scoring singles by Bill Bathe, Tony Phillips, Dwayne Murphy and Dusty Baker accounted for a four-run inning.

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