Phil Niekro, the oldest player in the major leagues, pitched a two-hitter yesterday, retiring 24 in a row at one point, to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
For Niekro (4-6), it was the ninth career two-hitter and the 304th career triumph, putting him just one victory behind Eddie Plank for 14th place on the all-time list. The 47-year-old right-hander walked none and struck out four in getting his first victory since May 19.
"I just slowed myself down a lot," he said. "I really wasn't zeroing in the way I was used to doing. I don't think I threw any more than six or seven pitches that weren't knuckleballs."
Mike Smithson (6-6) lasted only 2 1/3 innings for the Twins.
With two out in the first and the score tied at 1, Roy Smalley grounded out to start Niekro's string of 24 consecutive outs. The string ended when Kent Hrbek was hit by a pitch with two out in the bottom of the ninth.
Cleveland took a 2-1 lead in the second on singles by Cory Snyder, Chris Bando and Tony Bernazard.
The Indians knocked Smithson out in the third. With one out, Andre Thornton was safe on shortstop Greg Gagne's error, and Mel Hall followed with his 10th homer of the season to make it 4-1.
Blue Jays 15, Yankees 1: Tony Fernandez and Ernie Whitt each hit two-run homers and two-run doubles, highlighting a 16-hit offense that routed New York in Toronto.
Fernandez went three for five, and Whitt, Willie Upshaw, Lloyd Moseby, Jesse Barfield and Damaso Garcia had two hits each.
The game was tied at 1-1 after four innings, but Upshaw's two-run single sparked a four-run fifth. Toronto added three runs in the sixth, four in the seventh and three in the eighth.
Jimmy Key (5-5) scattered nine hits in eight innings and struck out seven.
White Sox 10, Mariners 4: Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Bonilla each drove in a pair of runs to help beat visiting Seattle and give Jim Fregosi a victory in his first game as Chicago manager.
The White Sox scored one run in the first and four more in the second for a 5-0 lead.
In the second inning, Guillen hit a two-run single up the middle and scored on a wild pitch. A single by Carlton Fisk scored Julio Cruz.
Bonilla hit a two-run double over center fielder John Moses in the fifth inning to give Chicago a 7-3 lead. The lead grew to 8-3 when Guillen doubled and scored on a double by John Cangelosi in the sixth.
Chicago went ahead by 9-4 in the seventh. Harold Baines doubled, went to third on a groundout by Greg Walker and scored on Ron Kittle's sacrifice fly.
First baseman Alvin Davis dropped a popup in the eighth, allowing the White Sox to score their final run.
"I don't care if it was sloppy, dirty or grubby as long as we won," said Fregosi.
Brewers 5, Tigers 4: Mike Felder's bases-loaded single with two outs in the ninth inning gave Milwaukee the edge over visiting Detroit.
With the score 4-4, Billy Jo Robidoux drew a leadoff walk from Dave LaPoint (2-6). Ernest Riles sacrificed pinch-runner Rick Manning to second, and reliever John Pacella intentionally walked Jim Gantner.
Dale Sveum lined out before Rick Cerone walked, loading the bases. Willie Hernandez then relieved Pacella, and Felder lined his game-winning single to right.
Royals 7, Angels 4: Steve Balboni hit a three-run homer and rookie Scott Bankhead pitched seven strong innings, enabling Kansas City to end a four-game losing streak with the victory over visiting California.
Balboni's 14th home run of the season capped a four-run rally in the second inning as California's five-game winning streak ended.
Bankhead (3-0) gave up five hits in the seven innings and struck out seven.
Rangers 5, A's 4: Gary Ward drove in four runs with three hits, including a two-run triple that broke a seventh-inning tie and gave Texas the win over Oakland.
The Rangers won a team-record 11th straight at home. The A's lost for the 14th time in a row on the road, also a club mark.
The Rangers rallied from a 3-2 deficit with three runs in the seventh. Jose Rijo (2-6) gave up a double to Steve Buechele, a single to Curtis Wilkerson and an RBI single to Oddibe McDowell that tied the score. Ward then hit his triple.