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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Rested Erickson Looks Sharp in Winning 17th

From Associated Press

Scott Erickson got a few days off and got back on track.

Erickson returned to his early-season form with seven shutout innings at Minneapolis Monday and became one of three 17-game winners in the major leagues as the Minnesota Twins beat the Cleveland Indians, 9-3.

Kirby Puckett’s run-producing double in the seventh inning broke a scoreless tie and sparked Minnesota’s four-run burst. Shane Mack’s second grand slam of the season capped a five-run eighth for the AL West leaders.

Erickson (17-6), who hadn’t pitched in eight days, scattered six hits and struck out seven in his best performance since returning from the disabled list July 15 after suffering a strained right elbow.

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Since his return, Erickson had been 4-3 with a 7.49 earned-run average. During that span, he averaged only 4.41 innings per start, compared to 7.67 before his injury.

The Indians hit several balls hard in the first two innings before Erickson settled down. He twice struck out Carlos Baerga with two out and two runners on base.

Eric King (5-9) gave up only one hit until the seventh, when Randy Bush drew a leadoff walk. Pinch-runner Jarvis Brown was running and scored from first when Puckett slapped a head-high pitch down the left-field line for a 1-0 lead. Kent Hrbek singled home a run, an error by Baerga at second base allowed another to score and Junior Ortiz’s RBI double finished King.

Steve Bedrosian relieved Erickson to start the eighth and failed to retire any of the four batters he faced, allowing RBI singles to Carlos Martinez and Mike Aldrete. Rick Aguilera got Jeff Manto to ground into a run-scoring double play and finished up in the ninth for his 37th save in 44 chances.

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Texas 7, New York 2--Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd had to survive 2 hours 19 minutes of rain delays at Arlington, Tex., but he finally earned his first victory with the Rangers.

Boyd pitched five shutout innings as the Rangers beat the Yankees at home for the 14th time in a row.

Boyd (1-4) won in his seventh start with Texas. He had not won since July 19 when he pitched a five-hit shutout for Montreal. The Rangers got him in a trade with the Expos two days later for two minor league pitchers.

Boyd was dropped from the rotation by the Rangers and missed one start. He gave up five hits, struck out two and walked one in a 79-pitch outing.

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Yankee Manager Stump Merrill said the rain made fielding and pitching difficult. He said starter Wade Taylor didn’t have it after going an inning then enduring a second rain delay of 1 hour 54 minutes.

Toronto 5, Baltimore 4--Cory Snyder, whose strikeouts got him sent to the minors last month, returned to the majors with a single that drove in the winning run in the 12th inning at Toronto in the Blue Jays’ victory over the Orioles.

Toronto, which rallied from an early 4-0 deficit, blew scoring chances in the ninth and 10th innings.

Joe Carter, who struck out with a runner on second to end the ninth, led off the 12th with drive that glanced off Chito Martinez’s glove in the right-field corner. Snyder followed with a single down the left-field line off Gregg Olson (3-5).

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Snyder’s hit came in his first at-bat since being recalled Sunday from Syracuse. The AL East-leading Blue Jays got Snyder from the Chicago White Sox on July 14, and sent him to the minors on Aug. 9.

Detroit 12, Seattle 5--Cecil Fielder took over the major league lead with his 37th home run at Seattle and Lou Whitaker and Tony Phillips also homered in the Tigers’ victory over the Mariners.

Bill Gullickson (17-7) tied Scott Erickson and Tom Glavine for most victories in the majors as Detroit stayed 2 1/2 games behind Toronto in the AL East. The Mariners lost their fourth in a row and 10th in 13 games.

Fielder hit a three-run homer in the fifth for a 6-2 edge. He broke a tie with Jose Canseco for the home run lead and connected off Rich DeLucia (11-9), who has given up 27 homers, tops in the league.

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Whitaker hit his 21st homer, a solo shot, in the first inning. Phillips hit his 16th, a two-run blow, in the eighth.

Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 19th home run.


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