This was the way it was supposed to be: Todd Van Poppel starting and winning, with Dennis Eckersley getting a save. This is the way it has been: Van Poppel starting and losing since Sept. 20, 1993, with Eckersley not getting many opportunities to save anything.
Van Poppel inspired no confidence at first, then settled in to pitch 5 1/3 innings in the Oakland Athletics' 6-2 victory at Kansas City. Eckersley got the final three outs for his third save.
Oakland earned back-to-back victories for the first time in a month.
Van Poppel had spent extra time with pitching coach Dave Duncan after his earned-run average soared to 9.59, but you could hardly tell it when the first three Royals went triple, double and double for a 2-1 lead.
"I'm feeling a little erratic," Van Poppel said. "The first three batters hit the ball right where we weren't. After that, they popped it up, they put the bat on it and hit it at us."
Van Poppel (1-4) gave up only two more hits and left with a 4-2 lead. He beat Royal rookie Jeff Granger, who also pitched 5 1/3 innings and left trailing, 3-2, in his first major league start.
New York 12, Milwaukee 1--Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs and Bernie Williams homered at Milwaukee as the Yankees won their 10th game in a row, their longest winning streak since 1987.
The three-game sweep in Milwaukee was New York's first since 1971.
Paul O'Neill went two for three, increasing his major league-leading average to .467, as the Yankees won for the 20th time in 24 games.
Mattingly had four of the Yankees' 17 hits--the sixth game in a row in which they have had 10 or more--and drove in two runs.
Scott Kamieniecki (3-0) gave up one run and five hits in eight innings for New York.
Minnesota 5, Baltimore 2--Kevin Tapani pitched a five-hitter in Minneapolis and the Twins completed a three-game sweep.
Tapani (3-2), who came in with a 7.78 ERA, struck out four and retired 16 of the last 17 in his first complete game of the season.
Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro doubled in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to a major league-best 18 games.
Chicago 9, Texas 6--Wilson Alvarez won his 14th consecutive regular-season decision, one shy of the team record, and the White Sox won at Arlington, Tex.
Alvarez (7-0) gave up four runs, only one of them earned, and nine hits in seven innings.
Cleveland 11, Detroit 6--Kenny Lofton singled, doubled and homered, scoring four times, and Albert Belle homered and drove in four runs for the Indians in a rainy victory at Cleveland that completed a three-game sweep.