AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Surprisingly Good White Sox Beat Surprisingly Bad Royals

Some teams might be ready to concede the West to the Oakland Athletics, but the Chicago White Sox have other ideas.

The White Sox, who were last in the division in 1989 and have not had a winning record since 1985, are enjoying their improved status.

With Melido Perez pitching another strong game, the White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals, 6-3, Saturday night at Chicago.

The White Sox, in second place, have a 16-10 record, 4 1/2 games behind the Athletics. The Royals, who spent millions in the hopes of catching the A’s, are 10-19--12 games behind Oakland.


Perez (3-2), who lost a 1-0 one-hitter to the Texas Rangers’ Nolan Ryan this season, retired the first nine Royals. He held the Royals to three hits in 8 2/3 innings, but three unearned runs in the ninth ruined his bid for a shutout.

The Royals scored all their runs without a hit on an error by third baseman Robin Ventura, Perez’s only two walks, Gerald Perry’s RBI grounder and a two-base error by right fielder Sammy Sosa on Bo Jackson’s drive. Scott Radinsky got the final out for his second save.

The White Sox scored five runs in the third inning with five runs. Carlos Martinez tripled home two runs and Ivan Calderon had one of his four singles during the rally.

“We know the Athletics are an outstanding team,” Manager Jeff Torborg said. “But we have a bunch of youngsters who just keep getting better. The more young players win, the more confidence they develop.”

Although he is only 23, Perez, younger brother of the New York Yankees’ right-hander, Pascual Perez, is already in his third season with the White Sox.

Baltimore 3, Oakland 2--The Orioles are the worst-hitting team in the league. But Cal Ripken’s second home run of the game in the ninth inning at Oakland ended the Athletics’ five-game winning streak. They had beaten the Orioles eight times in a row.

Ripken had a single, in addition to his sixth-inning home run that made the score 2-2. The rest of the Orioles were held to five hits by Curt Young and Gene Nelson (1-2). The A’s had not let an opponent score more than one run in five previous games.

Jose Canseco provided the offense for the Athletics (22-7), hitting his ninth home run, a two-run shot to left-center.

“I should have been able to hold the lead Jose provided me,” Young said. “But when Ripken homered, my victory chances were gone.”

Oriole catcher Mickey Tettleton, who was one of the league’s hottest hitters early last season, went 0 for 4 and has only two hits in his last 39 at-bats.

Minnesota 5, Milwaukee 2--Even though Frank Viola is the first seven-game winner in the majors, the Twins are happy with last summer’s trade. When the New York Mets sought Viola, the Twins were able to get some outstanding talent in return.

Two former Mets, Kevin Tapani (4-2) and Rick Aguilera, figured in the victory at Minneapolis. Although he gave up 10 hits in six innings, Tapani was the winner. Aguilera pitched out of a jam in the eighth with one out and the Twins leading, 3-2, earning his eighth save in nine opportunities.

Cleveland 5-1, Texas 4-2--Felix Fermin singled in the winning run in the seventh inning at Arlington, Tex., in the first game, which had been suspended because of rain Friday night.

In the second game, Bobby Witt gave up six hits in 8 2/3 innings for his first victory at Texas Stadium since last July 23.

Outscored 26-2 in the first inning over their previous 13 games, the Rangers got a run in the first on Pete Incaviglia’s double off Bud Black (3-1) following Julio Franco’s two-out single and a walk to Ruben Sierra. Texas’ opposition had scored first in eight of the previous nine games.

It was the second consecutive impressive performance by Witt. He had been taken out of the rotation in April after his earned-run average soared to 6.75.

“That’s pretty good pitching,” Manager Bobby Valentine said. “He certainly will get another chance.”

Friday night’s game was halted after the Indians scored twice in the top of the sixth for a 4-4 tie. When it resumed, Sandy Alomar singled with out out in the seventh off Texas relief ace Jeff Russell (1-2), stole second and scored on Fermin’s single.

Steve Olin (1-2) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the victory. Doug Jones went 1 2/3 innings for his 11th save.

Texas’ Nolan Ryan failed for the third time to get his 294th career victory. Ryan took a 4-2 lead into the sixth and retired the first two batters as rain began.

But Mitch Webster hit his second triple of the game, ending a streak of 15 consecutive batters retired by Ryan, and Ryan left with a muscle spasm in his lower back. Cleveland tied the score against Mike Jeffcoat on pinch-hitter Chris James’ RBI single and Candy Maldonado’s double.

New York 4, Seattle 1--Tim Leary pitched another strong game and the Yankees won their second in a row at Seattle.

Leary had a five-hit shutout until Ken Griffey Jr. hit his sixth home run of the season with two outs in the ninth. Leary struck out eight.

Roberto Kelly had a two-run triple in the seventh for New York.

After Alvaro Espinoza and Steve Sax singled, Kelly hit a liner to right that hopped over Darnell Coles’ head to the fence, scoring both runners. Bryan Clark relieved Hanson and gave up an RBI single to Don Mattingly.