AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Maldonado Ruins Darling's Bid Again

For the second time in two weeks, Candy Maldonado of the Toronto Blue Jays ruined Ron Darling's bid for a no-hitter.

Maldonado opened the seventh inning at Oakland with a line single to center field, and Darling settled for a two-hitter in the Athletics' 6-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday.

July 12 at Toronto, Maldonado waited until the eighth inning to spoil Darling's bid, and Darling also finished with a two-hitter in an 8-0 victory.

"I didn't really feel as though any kind of no-hitter was going to happen today," Darling said. "Candy's always hit me well. And he's hot right now. He's done a pretty good job on us the last two games.

"I feel good about my last two efforts against the Blue Jays. They've got a lineup that really scares you. Maybe I should pitch a little scared out there."

It was the fourth time this season Darling (9-8) has taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning and the third time he has pitched a two-hitter.

Jamie Quirk's two-run double broke up a scoreless game during the fourth inning. Harold Baines, who walked and scored the first run, singled in two runs in the seventh inning and made it easy for Darling to complete his third game in a row.

Between the two-hitters against the Blue Jays, Darling gave up seven hits against the New York Yankees Monday night and lost, 1-0.

Oakland beat Todd Stottlemyre, who is 1-5 and has an earned-run average of 7.52 in eight starts since May 4.

Minnesota 3, Boston 2--Danny Darwin, normally a relief pitcher, was pressed into service by the Red Sox as a starter at Boston.

For six innings, Darwin was perfect against the Twins but wound up an unlucky loser.

Darwin, trying to protect a 1-0 lead, walked Shane Mack to open the seventh inning. One out later, Kirby Puckett, the league's leading hitter, sent a blooper into center that fell in front of Billy Hatcher and ended the no-hitter.

When Darwin walked Kent Hrbek to fill the bases, Paul Quantril replaced him. Singles by Chili Davis and Brian Harper accounted for three runs and kept the Twins three games ahead of Oakland in the West.

While the Twins were making the most of limited opportunities to beat Darwin, the Red Sox blew chances against Willie Banks.

In six innings against Banks, the Red Sox had three hits and seven walks but scored only once.

"We've got to start capitalizing on situations like today," said Darwin, making only his second start this season.

"When a guy walks seven guys like Banks did, you'd expect more than one run."

Said Twin Manager Tom Kelly: "If you can walk that many and still win, you have to feel fortunate. We got lucky today. Willie was throwing the ball all over. He was trying to give them a run."

Said Red Sox Manager Butch Hobson: "We just didn't get the big hit when we had men on base. That was a tough loss for Danny and a tough loss for us."

Texas 10, Baltimore 8--It was another tense finish for the Rangers at Baltimore.

A seven-run sixth inning gave them an 8-0 lead. But the Rangers are the best in the majors at losing leads in the late innings.

They have lost 10 games they led after six innings.

"It was a nail-biter, but we've had a lot of games like this. You kind of get used to it," Ranger Manager Toby Harrah said.

The Rangers led, 10-7, going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Jeff Russell, before getting his 25th save, needed 44 pitches to get the last three outs.

He walked in a run and the bases were full when Brady Anderson lined to center to end the game.

"I made it more difficult than it should have been," Russell said. "I wasn't real sharp, but I made the pitches when I had to."

Said Harrah: "I'm real proud of Russ. He battled, battled, battled--and then he did it. That's what you love to see."

The Rangers had only one hit against Rick Sutcliffe (10-10) until the sixth inning, when they sent 11 batters to the plate. Rafael Palmeiro and Brian Downing each hit two-run doubles during the inning. Downing had four hits and drove in three runs.

It was Sutcliffe's fifth attempt at his 150th victory. He is 0-4 with a 5.35 ERA in July.

Milwaukee 3, Chicago 0--For the fourth time, Charlie Hough failed to get his 200th victory.

Scott Fletcher's three-run homer off Hough broke a scoreless tie with two out in the bottom of the ninth at Milwaukee.

Hough (4-6) gave up only four hits in the first eight innings.

A crowd of 48,528 saw the Brewers move to within 5 1/2 games of Toronto in the East.

Cleveland 6, Kansas City 5--The Indians, last in the East, used their speed in the ninth inning at Cleveland to win for the fifth time in seven games.

Mark Whiten raced from first to third on a sacrifice bunt. Then, Junior Ortiz beat out an infield hit to drive in the winning run.

Steve Olin (4-3) pitched the last two innings. He retired the Royals in the ninth on three pitches.

Seattle 8, New York 2--Mark Grant got his first victory in two seasons and his first win as a starter since 1988 as the Mariners ended a seven-game losing streak by routing the Yankees at Seattle.

Grant (1-2) got first AL victory in his fifth start for the Mariners.

Signed by Seattle as a free agent after missing all of last season because of shoulder surgery, Grant got his first victory since winning in relief for Atlanta on Sept. 3, 1990. His last victory as a starter came for the San Diego Padres on May 27, 1988.

Seattle's Edgar Martinez hit a three-run home run, his 15th homer of the season, off Yankee starter Shawn Hillegas (1-4).

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