The Indians' Steve Carlton, 42, beat the Seattle Mariners on a seven-hitter, 9-2, yesterday in Cleveland, then proclaimed: "I'm 95 percent as good now as I ever was."

He is the ninth winningest pitcher ever. His 328 victories put him one up on John Clarkson and 14 behind Tim Keefe.

Carlton (5-4) tied Phil Niekro (5-6) for team leadership in victories this season. The Philadelphia Phillies, who dumped Carlton twice, have only one pitcher, Shane Rawley (7-4), who has won more games this season.

Carlton had a three-hit shutout until Mickey Brantley and Dave Valle doubled in the eighth inning. Brook Jacoby homered twice and doubled as the Indians backed Carlton with a season-high 16 hits.

Cleveland's Rick Dempsey and Seattle's third baseman, Jim Presley, fought briefly in the third inning. Dempsey, caught in a rundown, tried to knock the ball from Presley's glove. Not only did he fail, but Presley threw him down.

Red Sox 9, Yankees 4:

Al Nipper (6-6) gave up three runs in the first inning, then used his knuckleball to win a five-hitter in Boston.

"I started throwing more knuckleballs after the first inning," he said. "I must have thrown 25 or 30, maybe more. It was way more than I usually throw."

Teammate Wade Boggs hit safely in his 21st straight game, singling home a run in the third inning, then doubled home another in a four-run fifth inning against starter Tommy John (7-3).

The Yankees optioned right-hander Charles Hudson (7-2, 3.62 ERA) to Class AAA Columbus. He got the news 12 hours after beating the Red Sox Friday night. Among the Yankees, only Rick Rhoden (8-4) has more victories. Bob Tewksbury (0-1 with the Yankees) is back and will start against the Red Sox today. He was 6-1 in Columbus.

Brewers 3, Blue Jays 2:

The Blue Jays got a three-hitter from Jimmy Key in Toronto, but errors cost them a chance to take a full-game lead over New York.

Tony Fernandez, playing his 393rd consecutive game, singled in the Blue Jays third, then Lloyd Moseby homered off the right field foul pole for a 2-1 lead.

In the Brewers seventh, Jim Paciorek grounded to third baseman Kelly Gruber, who threw wide to first. Then Glenn Braggs hit a grounder off Gruber's chest. Bill Schroeder, 10 for 15 his last four games, singled home Paciorek, then Jim Gantner's fly brought in the winning run.

Rangers 7, Athletics 6:

In Oakland, Pete Incaviglia's two-run homer and Oddibe McDowell's two-run double highlighted a five-run fourth inning that the Rangers barely made stand up.

Texas' Bobby Witt (2-3), idle since May 20 because his shoulder hurt, lasted five innings with familiar results: three runs on two hits and six walks. He was down by 2-0 until the fourth.

Then, with two outs, Ruben Sierra singled and Incaviglia hit his 16th homer. Pete O'Brien singled, Don Slaught walked, then McDowell and Steve Buechele doubled.

Oakland starter Curt Young (8-4) was still around in the fifth, when the first two hitters, Scott Fletcher and Sierra, homered.

"I was surprised to get hit hard like that," Young said.

The Athletics got within 7-6 and had men on second and third in the seventh. But Mitch Williams relieved Jeff Russell and got pinch hitter Ron Cey to foul out. Cey hasn't had a hit in his last 15 trips.

White Sox 10, Twins 5:

Daryl Boston had gone hitless in 21 trips, Jose DeLeon hadn't won since May 19, the White Sox had lost five straight and they were facing Bert Blyleven in Minneapolis.

But Boston provided a 2-0 lead with a 443-foot homer in the fifth inning off Blyleven (5-6). That's the way it stood until the Chicago seventh. Ken Williams walked, and Tim Hulett and Ozzie Guillen singled for one run. After Carlton Fisk walked, shortstop Greg Gagne threw away Harold Baines' grounder for two more runs. Then Greg Walker grounded to third baseman Roy Smalley, who overthrew first base for another run.

Donnie Hill greeted Juan Berenguer with an RBI single, then Boston made it 10-0 with a three-run homer to right. Seven of the runs were unearned.

DeLeon (5-6) blanked the Twins until Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek homered in the seventh.

Royals 8, Angels 4:

George Brett, Danny Tartabull and Kevin Seitzer each hit two-run homers to back an eight-hitter by Charlie Leibrandt (8-4) in Anaheim, Calif., and help Kansas City to its fourth straight victory.

The Royals hit five homers to tie a club record. Three of them came off Jack Lazorko (2-3); Jamie Quirk and Steve Balboni had the others.