Joe Carter has taken matters into his own hands for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Carter hit a three-run homer in a seven-run first inning Saturday, and the Blue Jays then hung on to beat the Angels, 9-5. Toronto maintained a one-game lead over New York in the AL East. The Yankees beat Kansas City, 12-5.
Rickey Henderson and Devon White reached on consecutive walks in the first and Paul Molitor scored Henderson with a double. Carter then hit his 30th homer on an 0-and-1 pitch from Hilly Hathaway (4-3).
“It was good for us to put them away early,” said Carter, who also hit a home run on Friday. “The homer was not only a big hit for me, but a big hit for the team. If the (Blue Jay) pitcher makes a mistake, we still have a big enough lead.”
John Olerud hit his major league-leading 49th double and Roberto Alomar reached on an error before Tony Fernandez hit a run-scoring single.
Pat Borders grounded into a double play to score Alomar, and Henderson capped the inning with a run-scoring single against reliever Doug Linton.
“Going into the year, I count on getting 30 homers and 100 RBIs,” Carter said. “I’ve done it so often before that it’s not a big deal. I guess it would be a big deal now if I didn’t.”
Hathaway failed to get an out, facing seven in the first and giving up seven runs--five earned--and two walks.
“I just couldn’t get any of my pitches working,” Hathaway said. “This was the worst inning I’ve ever had in pro ball. I felt as good as ever coming into the game, and I never felt worse leaving one.”
Pat Hentgen (17-8) gave up five runs, eight hits and two walks, striking out four in 6 1/3 innings for the victory. Danny Cox worked the last two innings.
“If there’s been one area where we’ve been lacking, it’s consistency,” Carter said. “If we can be consistent for the rest of the season, I like our chances.”