AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Abbott Has Yankees' Flag Flying High, 4-3

From Associated Press

Buck Showalter can walk into Yankee Stadium today, look on the roof over the outfield facade and get the same view his more famous predecessors have had: his team's pennant flying on the first-place pole.

New York moved into sole possession of first place in the AL East this late in the season for the first time since May 16, 1989, and so what if it's a new division and there are still 132 games to play?

"Every day I go out and look at those pennants out there," Showalter, the Yankee manager, said of the flags that fly above the outfield facade in order of standing. "I'm as tired as our players are of seeing someone else's flag up there."

Jim Abbott made sure that the view above was new, pitching a solid 7 2/3 innings of a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Pat Kelly singled in two runs as the Yankees moved atop the AL East by half a game over the Boston Red Sox.

Mike Gallego doubled twice and made some big plays at shortstop for the Yankees, whose 20-10 start matches their best since opening the 1953 season 21-9.

Abbott (4-2) gave up three runs and eight hits to win his third game in a row.

"It's nice to be in first place," said Abbott, who pitched a no-hitter last Sept. 4 against Cleveland. "Mike Gallego said last year was like climbing up a hill of Vaseline. But you have to take it in perspective."

Jack Morris (1-4) lost his fourth consecutive decision after winning his first start of the year on April 7. He gave up six hits in 7 1/3 innings, walked five and struck out three.

Baltimore 4, Toronto 1--Sid Fernandez couldn't put his curveball over the plate at Baltimore, so he stayed with a fastball and got some luck when several hard-hit balls ended up being outs.

Fernandez (2-0) gave up one run and four hits in 7 1/3 innings in lowering his earned-run average to 1.95. Lee Smith, the fourth Baltimore pitcher, got three outs for his major league-leading 14th save. He has a save or victory in 15 of the Orioles' 19 victories.

Milwaukee 7, Boston 4--Emergency starter Mike Ignasiak (1-0) gave the Brewers more than they hoped for on his first day back in the majors, retiring the final 10 in his five-inning stint at Boston.

Ignasiak, a reliever at New Orleans of the American Assn., was promoted because he was rested, and Milwaukee hoped to get two or three innings out of him after Bill Wegman, scheduled to start, suffered a strained lower abdomen Sunday. The Brewers intend to fill Wegman's spot in the rotation with Mark Kiefer, still at New Orleans.

Having done his job, Ignasiak might be returned to New Orleans. He gave up two runs, five hits and no walks before being replaced by Jesse Orosco.

Seattle 3, Chicago 2--Felix Fermin homered against Jose DeLeon with two out in the ninth inning to lift the Mariners at Chicago. It was Fermin's first homer of the season and only the fourth of his major league career. Entering this season he had hit only three in 2,172 at-bats.

DeLeon (0-2) entered the game in the ninth inning after Wilson Alvarez, bidding for his 14th consecutive victory, left with the score 2-2.

Bill Risley (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth after Greg Hibbard went the first seven. Bobby Ayala got the last out for his fourth save.

Minnesota 9, Kansas City 5--Pat Meares, who grew up watching the Royals play in Kansas City, had three hits and drove in three runs to help the Twins beat them there.

Meares had an RBI single during a three-run second inning and hit a two-run double during a five-run fourth that brought a 9-1 lead.

Kevin Tapani (2-2) gave up 11 hits in eight-plus innings, his longest outing this season. He struck out a season-high seven.

Chris Haney (1-2) lasted only 3 1/3 innings for the Royals, giving up eight runs and eight hits.

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