It was a moral victory of sorts for the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night at Cleveland. They held hot-hitting Joe Carter to three singles.
However, Willie Upshaw belted a three-run home run to climax a five-run sixth inning rally that carried the sizzling Indians to a 6-4 victory.
The Indians, who had the worst record in the American League last season (61-101) are off to a 16-4 start, their most victories ever in April and their best start in 47 years.
Greg Swindell was knocked out in the ninth inning when he gave up two runs, but he became the first Cleveland pitcher since Mudcat Grant in 1961 to win his first five decisions. Doug Jones came in to get the last out for his first save.
In the previous four games, Carter hit five home runs and drove in 15 runs. Although he didn't hit one out and didn't drive in a run, the three singles gave Carter 14 hits in his last 21 at-bats for a .667 average.
Steve Trout had a 2-1 lead going into the sixth, but departed after he hit a batter and walked the next. Another walk loaded the bases. A broken-bat single by Andy Allanson scored two runs to put the Indians ahead and Upshaw followed with his fourth home run.
Swindell, a hard-throwing left-hander, was one of the reasons the Indians were so highly touted before last season. But he started poorly, suffered an elbow injury and needed surgery in early July. He was 3-8 before going on the disabled list.
At the start of this season, he has been a model of consistency. He has pitched two complete games and given up only 12 earned runs and just four walks in almost 43 innings.
"I'm not the ace, there are several of us," he said. "I owe it to my team. I just try to keep us in the game, challenge the hitter and make sure nobody walks."
A year ago the Indians were 6-14 and already out of the race. Now, they are leading the East by two games.
Kansas City 3, New York 1--Yankee Stadium has not been a fun place for the Royals. They lost all six games there last season. With two out in the bottom of the ninth inning, it appeared they were going to lose there for the 23rd time in their last 26 games.
But Danny Tartabull hit a Dave Righetti pitch 400 feet for a home run to send the game into extra innings. Kevin Seitzer singled in the tie-breaking run in the 11th for the Royals' first win in the House That Ruth Built since Aug. 10, 1986.
The winning run came off Charlie Hudson, who had pitched so well in relief recently.
Although he stoutly maintains he hasn't lost his faith in bullpen ace Righetti, Manager Billy Martin must be wondering. The home run was the only hit the brilliant left-hander gave up in 2 innings, but it was the third time in recent days that he failed to hold a lead.
Tommy John gave up just two hits, walked none and struck out five before departing with one out in the eighth.
McGwire's pinch home run was decisive Tuesday night. Dave Henderson also homered for the Athletics, who have won eight of their last nine.
With the score tied, 2-2, and two out in the sixth, Henderson doubled and Don Baylor singled him home. Henderson hit his third home run for another run in the eighth.
Juan Nieves (2-2) gave up seven hits, but survived 6 innings and Dan Plesac worked the last two for his third save.