Kirk McCaskill pitched the California Angels to a one-game lead in the Western Division with a seven-hit, 9-3 victory over the Indians yesterday in Cleveland.

The Angels will begin a four-game series in Kansas City tonight. The second-place Royals lost to Minnesota yesterday, 6-3.

McCaskill (12-11) gave up two runs in the first inning when Brett Butler doubled, Julio Franco tripled and Andre Thornton got a sacrifice fly. But McCaskill, who struck out a career-high 10, yielded only one run on four hits thereafter.

"I wish he'd stuck to hockey," said Manager Pat Corrales, whose Indians lost their 100th game.

McCaskill said the victory "finally allowed me to do something productive." He said he gave up hockey when he was a forward with Sherbrooke, Quebec, of the American Hockey League, "and it seemed I wasn't ever going to get called up by Winnipeg (of the NHL)."

He said that while he was in the bullpen before the game, Manager Gene Mauch called on the phone.

"Gene told me I wasn't going out there to win the pennant," McCaskill said. "I really relaxed after that."

Bob Boone's fly drove in California's first run in the second inning, and the Angels chased Curt Wardle (8-9) with three runs in the third. Boone's double provided a 4-2 lead.