AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Sierra’s Long Homer Leads Streaking A’s

From Associated Press

Ruben Sierra hit his 22nd home run, breaking an eighth-inning tie and sending the Oakland Athletics to their fifth consecutive victory, a 6-4 decision over the Tigers Friday night at Detroit.

Seven Oakland pitchers combined for 10 walks, but they gave up only four hits. Bob Welch (3-6) won in relief and Dennis Eckersley got his 17th save.

“This was a hell of a win because the staff did the job they are here to do, and the hitters came through for us,” Oakland Manager Tony La Russa said. “The walks aren’t good, but other than the two (Mark) Acre gave up to lead off the seventh, they didn’t bother me that much. Detroit has a lot of guys who can hit the ball into the seats, but they have enough patience to lay off the stuff out of the zone.”


Sierra led off the eighth with a 424-foot home run to left-center field off Tim Belcher (7-13) for a 5-4 lead. Belcher lost for the fifth time in six starts, giving up five runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings.

New York 5, Cleveland 2--A three-run fourth inning and a solid outing by Sterling Hitchcock at New York sent the Yankees to their seventh consecutive victory over the Indians this season.

Hitchcock (3-1) allowed baseball’s best-hitting team only two runs and nine hits in 7 2/3 innings. Bob Wickman closed the eighth and Steve Howe pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

“I really don’t understand it either,” Hitchcock said when asked about the Yankees’ unblemished mark against the Indians. “But some teams match up really well with other teams. Our pitchers against their hitters and vice versa.”

Albert Belle, who earlier in the day had his suspension for using a corked bat reduced from 10 days to six days, went three for four with his 34th home run for the Indians, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Kansas City 5, Minnesota 3--Gary Gaetti hit two solo home runs and made a sparkling defensive play at Kansas City as the Royals stretched their longest winning streak in five years to seven games.


It was the 16th two-homer game and the second this season for Gaetti, who had not homered since June 26. His 11th homer tied the score, 2-2, and his 12th, leading off the seventh, made it 3-2.

“You do things right on the field, take advantage of mistakes and don’t make as many mistakes,” Gaetti said. “We’re playing with the confidence that we’re going to win. And it’s about time.”

Jose DeJesus (2-0) went seven innings for the victory. He gave up seven hits, struck out three and walked two.

Boston 7, Milwaukee 2--Mo Vaughn homered twice and Tim VanEgmond pitched a five-hitter at Boston for his first major league win.

“This is a wonderful feeling right now,” said VanEgmond (1-3), who retired 16 of the first 17 batters he faced and lowered his earned-run average from 9.41 to 7.26 in the sixth start of his career. “Tonight, every time I threw the ball I felt it was going to go where I wanted it to go.”

Vaughn, who also had a run-scoring groundout in the first inning, led off the sixth with a 425-foot drive to right and hit a two-run homer into the screen atop the left-field wall as Boston scored four runs in the seventh. Vaughn, who has 24 home runs, has homered twice in a game four times this season.


Toronto 4, Baltimore 3--Joe Carter homered and Al Leiter pitched six solid innings at Baltimore as the Blue Jays defeated the Orioles for the first time this season.

Paul Molitor had two hits and scored twice for Toronto, which ended a three-game losing streak. The Blue Jays were 0-6 against Baltimore, managing only eight runs in 54 innings.

“This is a very important win,” Blue Jay Manager Cito Gaston said. “We certainly have not played well against them at all this year.”

Toronto has won nine of 12. Baltimore has dropped four in a row and eight of 10.

Leiter (6-5) gave up three runs, eight hits and three walks. He struck out three to improve to 3-0 in five starts since June 27. Tony Castillo pitched two innings and Darren Hall worked the ninth for his 13th save.

Chicago 5, Seattle 4--Alex Fernandez (11-7) gave up nine hits and four runs in 7 1/3 innings and that was good enough. Fernandez improved his career record to 11-1 in July as the White Sox ended a four-game losing streak with a victory at Chicago.

“He won a ballgame, that’s what counts,” Seattle Manager Lou Piniella said of Fernandez, who won his fifth game without a loss this month. “I’d rather a pitcher not have his best stuff and win than have his best stuff and lose.”


Rookie Norberto Martin had three hits for Chicago and drove in two runs. His two-out single in the seventh inning broke a 4-4 tie. Roberto Hernandez pitched the ninth for his 13th save.