Tommy John, overcoming a record three errors on one play, pitched a strong seven innings, and the Yankees pounded out 18 hits to rout Milwaukee, 16-3, Wednesday at New York.
Dave Winfield hit two home runs and drove in five runs to lead the attack on Chris Bosio (6-12) and two successors.
As he has for nine consecutive games, Rickey Henderson opened the game for the Yankees by getting on base. This time it was a bloop single, and it ignited a four-run rally, three coming on Winfield's 400-foot blast.
The runs gave some padding to John (8-3), who needed it after his fourth-inning defensive performance. The 45-year-old left-hander's three errors tied a 90-year-old record for miscues by a pitcher in an inning. It was set by J. Bentley Seymour of the New York Giants on May 21, 1898.
With Jim Gantner on first, Jeffrey Leonard hit a roller toward first. John pounced on it, fumbled it for one error, then threw wild past first for another. But that's not all. As Gantner sped for home, John cut off the throw by Winfield and threw the ball into the Milwaukee dugout. Both runs scored. That cut the lead to 4-2.
Henderson singled in a run in the fourth, and Winfield hit his second homer, this one off Chuck Crim with one on in the sixth to make it a rout.
John, the oldest player in the majors and a key man in the Yankees' drive into first place in the American League East, joked about his play.
"I've made errors before, but these seemed like a lifetime in one play," he said. "Maybe, I should have had four errors.
"My instinct was to go after Leonard's ball with both hands, but I didn't think I had a whole lot of time. So I figured I'd have to pick it up and throw it. After that I should have eaten it. But then I looked up and thought, 'If I make a good throw I get him.'
"Well, I threw the ball to the batboy in right field. That was another mistake. I followed that by cutting off the ball in a place I shouldn't have been in in the first place. That's another mistake. Finally, I threw the ball to their trainer in the dugout. It must have been a glitch in my head. I do that every once in a while to get the team loose."
Detroit 3, Kansas City 1--There's nothing like home to get a struggling team out of its slump.
Pat Sheridan stroked a tie-breaking single with two out in the fifth inning, and losing pitcher Mark Gubicza (12-6) balked in the extra run to help the Tigers win their second in a row.
Doyle Alexander (10-5) worked out of one jam after another until Mike Henneman came to the rescue with two out in the eighth. Alexander had given up his ninth hit, the third by George Brett.
"The Yankees will outscore us by 100 runs," Manager Sparky Anderson said after his club's victory kept it a half-game behind the Yankees. "But that doesn't matter. It's how many wins at the end of the season that counts."
Sheridan also saved a run in the sixth inning when his accurate throw from left field after a diving catch of a low liner prevented a runner on third base from scoring.
Ellis Burks, who hit a grand slam in the sixth to bring the Red Sox from behind, singled with two outs in the eighth to start a three-run rally that put Boston in front for good.
Kevin Romine singled in the go-ahead run, and Todd Benzinger singled in two more in the ninth.
Toronto 4, Minnesota 1--It was an unusual day at the Metrodome. For one thing, Frank Viola (16-3) lost a game. For another, Kirby Puckett didn't get a hit.
Viola, who had won 7 in a row and 16 of his last 17 decisions, served up home runs to Sil Campusano, Jesse Barfield and Fred McGriff.
The left-hander, who was the most valuable player in the World Series last year, had not lost at home in his previous 25 starts, going back to May 22, 1987.
Puckett had hit safely in 14 games, and his 147 hits are easily the most in the majors. He was coming off consecutive four-hit games.
He was 0 for 4 against John Cerutti (5-6), who was given the starting assignment because Dave Stieb had a blister on his pitching hand. Gary Gaetti's 23rd home run in the second inning gave Viola a 1-0 lead. In the fifth, Campusano, a replacement in left field for George Bell, hit his second homer to tie it, and a few minutes later Manny Lee doubled in a run. In the sixth, Barfield and McGriff hit consecutive home runs, making Viola a loser for the first time since June 11.
"I guess it was fitting that my streak ended against the team that's given me the most trouble, lifetime," said Viola, who is 3-11 against the Blue Jays.
Bell, who got into an argument with Manager Jimy Williams Tuesday night, had made errors in six of the previous seven games.
Cleveland 12, Baltimore 2--Julio Franco hit doubles in each of the first three innings at Cleveland, driving in five runs and extending his hitting streak to 22 games, longest in the American League this season.
It was a breeze for Tom Candiotti (8-8), who had an 11-0 lead before he went out to pitch in the fourth inning.
The Indians are 9-0 against the Orioles this season and have beaten them 11 times in a row.
Chicago 6, Seattle 1--Melido Perez, given all the runs he needed in the first inning at Chicago, gave up eight hits in seven innings to win his fourth game in a row and improve his record to 10-5.
Darryl Boston singled in two runs in the three-run rally that started the White Sox on the way to their third win in a row. The loss was Seattle's fifth in a row.