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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Blue Jays Stop Complaining About SkyDome

Toronto’s SkyDome is a beautiful new all-weather stadium. When they first started playing there early last season, the Blue Jays’ hitters didn’t care for it.

They said that the ball didn’t carry as well in the SkyDome as it did in little Exhibition Park, where they used to play.

Now, though, Exhibition Park has long been forgotten because the ball has been flying out of the SkyDome this season.

There were 10 home runs hit there Sunday, including three by Detroit’s Cecil Fielder, but the Blue Jays won, 11-7.

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Although outhit, 15-12, the Blue Jays had four doubles to go with their five homers.

Fielder, a former Toronto player who spent last season in Japan, was four for five and drove in five runs. He is the first player in the majors to hit 10 home runs this season.

Chet Lemon hit the other two Tiger homers, while Kelly Gruber had two of the five hit by the Blue Jays. The total is one shy of the major league record. There have been 11 homers in a game seven times. The last time it was done at Exhibition Park. The Blue Jays hit 10 and Baltimore one Sept. 14, 1987.

Gruber has nine home runs this season, all of them at the SkyDome.

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“First of all,” he said, “it’s my home park. Anyone will tell you he feels more relaxed at home. Another thing, you don’t have to put up with the elements here. You know from one day to the next that the wind isn’t going to be blowing and the cold won’t be a problem.

“There weren’t any cheap home runs hit. Freddie’s (McGriff) was gone in any park and the one Manny (Lee) hit was in the middle deck.”

Fielder, who hit three in a spring game, hit 14 homers in 175 at-bats for the Blue Jays in 1988.

“I’m the kind of hitter who gets home runs in bunches,” Fielder said. “Today, they came in bunches.”

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Fielder, who also leads the majors with 25 runs batted in, hit a two-run shot that put Detroit ahead, 3-2, in the third. He hit a solo shot in the fifth and another two-run homer in the seventh. He had a chance to hit another in the ninth, but Tom Henke struck him out.

Minnesota 4, Milwaukee 0--The Brewers scored first in each of their first 21 games, but Kevin Tapani put a stop to that at Milwaukee.

Tapani (3-2), one of the pitchers obtained from the Mets in the Frank Viola trade, gave up just five hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine as he pitched his first shutout.

Kansas City 7, Chicago 6--Ending their five-game losing streak at Kansas City with their second win in the last 12 games was anything but easy for the Royals.

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Bret Saberhagen had a 5-2 lead going into the eighth inning. Bullpen ace Mark Davis, who was successful in 44 of 48 save chances last season, not only couldn’t hold the lead, he fell behind, 6-5, in the ninth.

Rookie Terry Shumpert tripled in the bottom of the ninth and scored the tying run on Kevin Seitzer’s sacrifice fly. In the 10th, Jim Eisenreich doubled with one out and scored on Mike Macfarlane’s two-out single.

Oakland 4, Boston 2--For the second game in a row and the record 43rd time in his career, Rickey Henderson led off a game with a home run.

Curt Young, despite walking five in the first four innings at Oakland, yielded only two hits in eight innings to get his first win. Dennis Eckersley struck out two of the three batters he faced for his ninth save.

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Henderson left the game after stealing his 13th base in the fourth inning. He is hitting .381.

Cleveland 9-3, Texas 5-0--Candy Maldonado hit two home runs and drove in five runs in the first game of the doubleheader at Cleveland and rookie Jeff Shaw pitched well in the second game.

Shaw, in his first major league start, gave up four hits and struck out five in 6 2/3 innings for the victory. In his only previous appearance, he gave up four home runs in relief against Toronto last Monday.

Maldonado hit nine homers and drove in 41 runs in 129 games for San Francisco Giants last season. Signed as a free agent by the Indians, he has seven home runs and 20 RBIs in 23 games. “Just because you had one bad year, doesn’t mean your career is over,” Maldonado said. “I always had confidence in my hitting.”

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Seattle 5, Baltimore 4--Third base apparently is a tough position for young players in the AL. Last Thursday, the Yankees’ Mike Blowers tied a record with four errors.

The Mariners’ Edgar Martinez did the same at Seattle, committing three of them in the seventh inning.

But Martinez was taken off the hook when Harold Reynolds singled home the winning run in the eighth inning.


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