Dave Stewart is coming through for Toronto at just the right time after struggling this season.
Stewart (10-8) gave up five hits in 6 2/3 innings and struck out five consecutive batters in one stretch as the first-place Blue Jays beat the Twins, 5-1, at Minneapolis Saturday for their seventh victory in a row. He walked two and struck out seven.
"It tells you what kind of guy he is," Manager Cito Gaston said of Stewart. "He gets up for this type of game."
The victory kept Toronto three games ahead of second-place New York in the American League East. The Yankees rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Boston, 4-3. The Blue Jays lead third-place Baltimore by five games.
"I just kept coming at the hitters, challenging the hitters and trying to keep them off balance," Stewart said.
Rickey Henderson and Devon White had consecutive RBI singles in the third inning off Scott Erickson (8-19), who gave up eight hits in 8 2/3 innings. Henderson, who broke out of three-for-31 slump, strained his right hamstring and is questionable for today's game.
"It's a little strain from slipping on the turf," Henderson said. "We'll see how it feels."
Erickson, a 20-game winner in 1991, is closing in on the first 20-loss season in the major leagues since Brian Kingman dropped 20 for Oakland in 1980. Erickson probably will have two more starts this season.
"Scott pitched a whale of a game, but we gave away at least three runs because of defensive mistakes," Manager Tom Kelly said. "I kept Scott in there at the end because I wanted to give him a chance for the win. He had an outstanding day."
Said Stewart: "In this part of the year, well-pitched ballgames are appreciated more. Any well-pitched game now will be that much more special, especially the way our pitching staff has been criticized."
Milwaukee 3, Baltimore 0-- The Orioles fell further behind in the AL East race, losing at Milwaukee as rookie Angel Miranda and Jesse Orosco combined on a four-hitter.
The loss was the fourth in five games for Baltimore. Only six days ago, the Orioles were in second place, 1 1/2 games off the Blue Jays' pace.
Miranda (4-5) gave up four hits before leaving in the ninth for Orosco, who finished up for his seventh save.
B.J. Surhoff accounted for all three Brewers' runs on the same play in the third off Jamie Moyer (12-7).
Jose Valentin dropped a leadoff bunt down third and advanced on Kevin Seitzer's roller under third baseman Tim Hulett's glove. Surhoff doubled them home for a career-high 69 RBIs. He scored an unearned run on right fielder Jack Voigt's two-base throwing error.
Surhoff had rounded second on the play when second baseman Mark McLemore took left fielder Brady Anderson's relay throw and fired to Voigt, who was covering second. As Voigt chased Surhoff toward third, his throw went over Hulett and into the Baltimore dugout.
Detroit 7, Cleveland 6--Eric Davis continued his hot hitting, hitting two-run homer as the Tigers won at Detroit.
Detroit led, 5-0, after one inning but squandered the lead, and trailed, 6-5, before Davis' fourth homer since being acquired from the Dodgers on Aug. 31 in the fourth inning.
Tom Bolton (6-5) got the victory with two-thirds of an inning. Detroit starter John Doherty lasted only 3 1/3innings, giving up five runs on seven hits.
Oakland 3, Chicago 2--Bobby Witt settled down after a shaky start to combine with two relievers on a five-hitter as the Athletics won at Oakland.
Jack McDowell (21-10), baseball's winningest pitcher, lost his third consecutive decision, giving up eight hits in an eight-inning complete game. He is 0-3 with a 5.94 ERA over his last three starts.
Witt (12-12), who won his third start, is 3-1 this season against Chicago. Witt gave up four hits, walked three and struck out two in seven innings.
Kansas City 1, Seattle 0--Kevin Appier pitched a three-hitter to outduel Chris Bosio and win his sixth consecutive decision at Seattle.
Appier (17-6) stretched his scoreless streak to 28 1/3 innings and lowered his American League-leading ERA from 2.73 to 2.62. It was his seventh career shutout, his first since Sept. 3, 1991, at Chicago. He struck out three and walked one.