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AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Griffey Helps Mariners Frustrate A’s

From Associated Press

On major league baseball’s final bow before the strike, Ken Griffey Jr. showed fans all they’ll be missing.

Griffey hit a grand slam and made a spectacular catch to help the Seattle Mariners defeat the Oakland A’s, 8-1, at Oakland, preventing the A’s from pulling even with the idle Texas Rangers atop the American League West.

Griffey’s 40th homer highlighted a six-run second inning and gave the Mariners their fifth consecutive victory. Randy Johnson (13-6) took care of the rest, pitching a four-hitter and had 15 strikeouts to enter the work stoppage leading the majors with 204.

Some scattered boos were heard when Johnson struck out Ernie Young for the final out at 9:45 p.m. PDT. Johnson waved to the crowd as he left the mound.

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For the Mariners, the strike meant going home for the first time since July 19, when ceiling tiles fell from the Kingdome roof and sent the team packing for the next 20 games. They finished the trip 11-9 to move within two games of the Rangers.

Advance ticket sales for the final game were only about 17,000, but 26,808 showed up to see the two teams usher in the strike. Signs protesting the work action--"Stupid Is As Stupid Does” and “Will Play For Food"--abounded, but there were nearly as many banners heralding Griffey.

Toronto 8, New York 7--Ed Sprague, who drove in the Blue Jays’ first two runs with a triple, opened the 13th with a home run at New York.

Joe Carter of the Blue Jays, who ended last season with a World Series-winning home run, nearly finished this one with another homer. He led off the 12th with his 27th home run, but the Yankees weren’t finished. They tied the score when Luis Polonia opened the 12th with a double, moved up on a single by Wade Boggs and scored on a double-play grounder by Paul O’Neill.

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Sprague’s 11th home run of the season beat Joe Ausanio (2-1), who was sent to triple-A Columbus after the game.

Milwaukee 10, Detroit 5--The Brewers scored six runs in the eighth inning at Detroit.

On another day, the game might have been called. But no one wanted a rainout on the eve of a walkout. So, the Brewers and Tigers spent nearly three hours playing cards and eating doughnuts while the start of the game was delayed because of rain.

Milwaukee scored six runs in the eighth on five hits, including Jody Reed’s two-run double, two errors and a wild pitch.

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