Roger Clemens became a 20-game winner for the third time Thursday night as the Boston Red Sox scored seven runs in the ninth inning and beat the Cleveland Indians, 9-2, for their seventh consecutive victory.
With his 89-year-old grandmother looking on, Clemens (20-5) won his eighth consecutive start and kept his earned run average at 1.95, best in the majors. He struck out nine, raising his major league-leading total to 198, and walked none.
It was the first time his grandmother saw him pitch a full game.
“She lives up in Detroit,” said Clemens, who gave up nine hits in his seventh complete game and improved to 14-2 lifetime against Cleveland. “She saw me pitch two innings in my major league debut here in 1984, but she had to go back to the hotel because it was too cold. This was a good chance for her to see me pitch. That was something I really wanted to do.”
Clemens’ winning streak is his longest since he won 14 in a row to start the 1986 season. He won 24 games in 1986 and 20 in 1987, and became the fourth Boston pitcher to win 20 in at least three seasons.
Oakland 6, Kansas City 5--Mike Gallego singled home the winning run with one out in the ninth inning at Oakland to help the Athletics to beat the Royals and overcome a rare blown save by Dennis Eckersley.
The Royals tied the game against Eckersley (3-2) in the eighth inning on a long solo homer by Bo Jackson, who has six home runs and 15 runs batted in since returning from the disabled list five games ago.
“That was the longest home run I’ve given up,” Eckersley said about Jackson’s blow, which landed in the second deck of the left-field stands. “I think it was, but the wind knocked it down (or it would have gone farther). It’s nice to give up one like that. Who wants to give up a teeny one?”
In the ninth, Willie Randolph, who had four hits, singled with one out against Steve Crawford (5-3) and stole second. Gallego singled into the left-field corner, making a winner of Eckersley, who has 39 saves in 41 chances.
Rickey Henderson had three hits, including the 45th homer of his career leading off a game.
George Brett left removed from the game in the fifth inning with a sore back, an apparent after-effect of a collision he’d had with A’s pitcher Scott Sanderson on a play at first base Wednesday night.
Chicago 4, Minnesota 3--Ron Karkovice hit an inside-the-park grand slam in the fourth inning, leading the White Sox past the Twins at Minneapolis and ending a five-game losing streak.
Karkovice lined a 1-and-2 pitch just over the glove of leaping Twin shortstop Greg Gagne. The ball rolled to the fence between left fielder Dan Gladden and center fielder John Moses.
Moses slipped at the base of fence and tossed the ball to Gladden. But Gladden, who was looking toward the infield, missed it and the ball rolled away.
It was the second grand slam for Karkovice and only the second inside-the-park grand slam in the majors this season. Luis Polonia of the Angels hit one Aug. 14 against the New York Yankees.
Bobby Thigpen earned his major league-leading 44th save.
Baltimore 6, New York 1--Pete Harnisch pitched a five-hitter and the Orioles snapped a five-game losing streak, beating the Yankees at Baltimore.
Harnisch (10-9) failed in six straight attempts since July 22 to earn his 10th victory while losing a career-high four consecutive decisions. He struck out nine and walked two.
Detroit 3, Seattle 2--Lloyd Moseby hit a two-run double that broke a ninth-inning tie and lifted the Tigers over the Mariners at Seattle.
Moseby, who drove in all three Detroit runs, doubled just beyond the reach of center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. with one out for a 3-1 lead.
Mike Henneman (7-6) replaced Frank Tanana and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth when Edgar Martinez grounded out. The Mariners scored an unearned run in the ninth on Harold Reynolds’ grounder.