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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Valenzuela Keeps Orioles in the East Race

From Associated Press

Fernando Valenzuela struggled through August. Now he’s helping the Baltimore Orioles stay in the September race for the American League East pennant.

Backed by 12 hits, including two-run homers by Chris Hoiles and Harold Baines, Valenzuela pitched an 11-3 victory over the Red Sox at Boston Tuesday night for his fifth complete game of the year.

“They did pretty much whatever they wanted to do with the bats and we didn’t do much with Mr. Valenzuela,” Red Sox Manager Butch Hobson said.

Valenzuela (7-9) was 0-2 with a 13.95 earned-run average last month and was winless in nine consecutive starts. On Tuesday, the former Dodger star won his first game since July 23.

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“Johnny Oates kept me in the rotation and that gave me a lot of confidence,” Valenzuela said.

Baltimore overcame a 3-2 deficit with four runs in the seventh inning and five in the eighth and remained in third place, two games behind division-leading Toronto and a half-game behind the New York Yankees.

Valenzuela walked two and struck out three. Hoiles homered for the second consecutive game and Baines connected for the third in a row off Danny Darwin.

“He kept us right in (the game) until we were able to score some runs,” said Hoiles, who was three for four and is 25 for 53 with six homers and 16 runs batted in in his last 15 games.

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Darwin (14-11) is 3-10 with a 4.88 ERA when he gives up a homer and 11-1 with a 1.29 ERA when he doesn’t.

“I know I’m going to give up homers because I’m the type of pitcher who challenges hitters,” Darwin said. "(Tuesday night) I gave up two-run homers instead of solo shots.”

He retired 16 consecutive batters before Cal Ripken’s single started the seventh-inning rally. Hoiles’ 26th homer put Baltimore ahead, 4-3.

Toronto 9, Detroit 5--Tony Fernandez drove in five runs at Detroit and Juan Guzman won his fifth consecutive game as the Blue Jays won their fourth in a row.

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Guzman (12-3), who hasn’t lost in seven starts since July 20, gave up six hits over 7 1/3 innings, struck out six and walked three. Duane Ward pitched the ninth for his 40th save, striking out Cecil Fielder with two on to end the game.

With the score tied, 5-5, in the eighth, Ed Sprague singled off Storm Davis (2-7). Pinch-runner Alfredo Griffin went to third on a single by Pat Borders and scored on Rickey Henderson’s grounder to second.

Fernandez hit a three-run homer in the ninth to give the Blue Jays a four-run lead. It was the second time this season Fernandez had five RBIs in a game against the Tigers.

Fernandez has 11 hits in 24 at-bats against the Tigers, with three home runs and 13 RBIs.

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“Any good ballplayer will play better under pressure,” Fernandez said. “It brings out the best in you. It helps me concentrate. “The greatest thing for any ballplayer is to be in a pennant race.”

New York 12, Milwaukee 5--Danny Tartabull hit his 30th homer and drove in four runs as the Yankees won at Milwaukee.

New York broke a 3-3 tie with a four-run third inning on Tartabull’s RBI single, a fielder’s choice grounder by Paul O’Neill that Kevin Seitzer mishandled for an error and a two-run single by Mike Gallego after an intentional walk had loaded the bases.

The Yankees added three more in the fifth, knocking out Rickey Bones (10-10), who pitched a two-hitter in his last outing. Wade Boggs had an RBI single and when Pat Listach threw wildly on Dion James’ fielder’s choice grounder, two more runs scored.

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Chicago 8, Kansas City 3--Ivan Calderon broke a tie with a three-run double on reliever Stan Belinda’s first pitch as the White Sox won at Kansas City to increase their AL West lead to 3 1/2 games.

Chicago, which won for only the third time in eight games, gained a game on second-place Texas, which lost to Cleveland. The White Sox lead the third-place Royals by six games.

Jason Bere (9-5), who struck out 13 against Boston in his last start, gave up six hits and four walks while striking out five. He was lifted in favor of Jose DeLeon after walking Greg Gagne leading off the seventh.

Cleveland 2, Texas 0--Mark Clark gave up four hits through eight innings and Randy Milligan and Jim Thome each had two doubles as the Indians won at Arlington, Tex.

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Clark (5-4) extended his string of scoreless innings to 14, a span in which he has given up only six hits. The right-hander struck out six and walked one as the Rangers were shut out for the first time since July 18.

The Rangers had won seven of eight.

Oakland 8, Minnesota 3--Kurt Abbott and Scott Hemond hit two-run homers and Steve Karsay gave up four hits in six innings as the Athletics won at Minneapolis.

Dave Winfield drove in a run with a sacrifice fly but went hitless in three at-bats to remain three hits away from 3,000.

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Karsay (2-3) won for the first time since his major league debut Aug. 17. He walked two and struck out five before being relieved by Roger Smithberg, who pitched the final three innings for his first save.


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