AMERICAN LEAGUE ROUNDUP : Yankees Gain in Wild-Card Race

From Associated Press

Paul O’Neill hit a two-run home run and drove in three runs as the New York Yankees tightened their grasp on the American League wild-card berth with a 5-4 victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

The Yankees increased their lead for the fourth playoff spot to 1 1/2 games over the Angels.

Sterling Hitchcock (10-10) gave up five hits over seven innings and left with a 5-2 lead before the Yankees’ shaky bullpen made it interesting by yielding two runs on four hits and a walk in the eighth.

John Wetteland earned his 30th save by striking out pinch-hitter David Hulse with two on to end the eighth and retiring the side in order in the ninth.


Minnesota 13, Cleveland 4--Marty Cordova hit a home run, doubled and drove in three runs to lead the Twins at Minneapolis.

Sandy Alomar hit two home runs and Albert Belle hit his 47th for the Central Division champions, who need to win their five remaining games to reach 100 victories. The 13 runs were the most allowed by Cleveland this season.

Chicago 7, Kansas City 0--Alex Fernandez, staked to a 6-0 lead after one inning, pitched a six-hitter and notched his career-best seventh consecutive victory as the White Sox beat the Royals, who were eliminated from the wild-card race.

Fernandez, 7-0 in his last 10 outings and 12-8 overall, struck out six and walked two in the game at Kansas City.


Texas 7, Oakland 6--Mark McLemore’s two-out single in the eighth inning broke a tie at Arlington, Tex., and kept the Rangers in the wild-card race.

Rusty Greer led off the eighth with a single off Carlos Reyes (4-6). He moved to third on pinch-hitter Jeff Frye’s sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by shortstop Mike Bordick on Otis Nixon’s grounder.

McLemore delivered the go-ahead run on a single up the middle, scoring Greer, and Will Clark followed with an RBI single for a 7-5 lead.

Baltimore 5, Toronto 0--Mike Mussina threw a five-hitter for his league-leading 18th victory as the Orioles beat the Blue Jays at Toronto.

Mussina (18-9) is tied with Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves for the major league-lead in victories.

Boston 5, Detroit 1--Zane Smith, trying to win a spot on the Red Sox’s playoff roster, went eight solid innings and John Valentin was three for four with a three-run home run at Boston.

Smith (8-8) struck out four, didn’t walk a batter and gave up six hits to earn his first victory since Sept. 2.