Rookie Todd Benzinger's homer highlighted a four-run fourth inning and Mike Greenwell drove in four runs, enabling the Boston Red Sox to beat the slumping Baltimore Orioles, 9-3, last night at Fenway Park.
With their fifth straight loss, the Orioles were mathematically eliminated in the American League East, their earliest exit since 1958.
Baltimore, 13-44 against AL East foes this season, is 0-8 against Boston.
Winner Jeff Sellers (7-7) allowed eight hits over eight innings. He was hit by Larry Sheets' line drive in the right leg in the eighth and could not pitch the ninth.
Boston's rookie outfield -- Benzinger (three hits), Greenwell (two hits) and Ellis Burks (three hits, three runs scored) -- devastated the Orioles.
"A few weeks ago, I had trouble getting one hit, let alone three," Benzinger said. "I have gotten away from my swing. I talked with my father and he helped me straighten it out. I had faced John Habyan in the minors and it was good to see a guy I had faced before. He's given me trouble in the past, gotten me out, but he gave me a ball to hit tonight."
Trailing by 3-2 in the fourth, the Red Sox scored four runs to chase Habyan (4-5). Benzinger, 10 for 15 in his last four games, tied the game with his third homer in four days. Spike Owen singled, John Marzano was hit by a pitch and Burks bunted for a single to load the bases. Marty Barrett followed with a single to make it 4-3.
Mike Kinnunen relieved and walked Wade Boggs, forcing in Marzano. Greenwell's sacrifice fly gave the Red Sox a 6-3 lead.
Barrett's sacrifice fly and Greenwell's two-run double pushed Boston ahead, 9-3, in the eighth.
Baltimore had scored in the third when Mike Young reached on a fielder's choice and stole second, and Mike Hart singled. The Orioles scored twice in the fourth on Sheets' double, Eddie Murray's single, Cal Ripken's fly and singles by Ray Knight and Terry Kennedy.
Greenwell's RBI single in the first moved the Red Sox ahead, 1-0. After Hart's single tied the game, Boston moved back on top in the third on Dwight Evans' RBI single.
Boston has won four straight.
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 5: Ernie Whitt had an RBI single with two out in the 10th inning to give Toronto the victory at home and a share of first place in the AL East with Detroit.
Willie Upshaw led off with a single and stole second when Garth Iorg struck out for the second out. Dave Righetti (7-4) walked Kelly Gruber to pitch to the left-handed Whitt, who had three hits in his previous 29 at-bats. Whitt then sent home Upshaw home with a single.
Winner David Wells (2-3) pitched 1 2/3 innings. He got Don Mattingly to line out with two out and two on in the top of the 10th.
Toronto's Tony Fernandez extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
Brewers 5, Tigers 2: Greg Brock drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run and B.J. Surhoff added a two-run single to cap a four-run eighth inning as Milwaukee won at home. Detroit dropped into a first-place tie with Toronto in the AL East and Milwaukee pulled to within 6 1/2 games of the leaders.
Ted Higuera (16-9) won his fifth straight decision with a six-hitter for his 12th complete game.
Higuera had thrown a three-hitter, one-hitter and two-hitter in his last three starts, but his bid for a fourth straight shutout was ended when Brookens hit his 12th homer with two out in the fifth inning. The homer ended Higuera's scoreless streak at 30 innings, a Brewers record. The previous mark was 29 2/3 scoreless innings by Ray Searage in 1984-85.
Higuera struck out 10 to pass the club record of 207 he set last season. He has 217 this season.
Twins 13, Indians 10: Dan Gladden hit a two-out, three-run homer in the 11th inning, rallying Minnesota to victory in Cleveland.
With one out in the 11th, Tim Laudner singled off Don Gordon (0-3). Laudner advanced when Chris Pittaro grounded to Tommy Hinzo, and the second baseman's throw pulled shortstop Julio Franco off second for an error. The runners advanced when Greg Gagne grounded out and Gladden followed with his sixth homer of the season.
Mel Hall had two homers for Cleveland.
Rangers 7, Angels 2: In Anaheim, Calif., Jose Guzman scattered eight hits for his fifth straight victory and Tom Paciorek and Steve Buechele each hit two-run homers as Texas ended a five-game losing streak against California.
Guzman (13-11) didn't allow a hit for 3 2/3 innings and threw a wild pitch in allowing his first run in the fifth. He walked five and struck out eight, including the side in the seventh inning.
Brian Downing hit his 25th homer of the season in the ninth for the Angels.
Royals 9, Athletics 0: Bret Saberhagen pitched a five-hitter in Oakland for his first victory in more than a month and only his second since the all-star break as third-place Kansas City stayed 5 1/2 behind Minnesota in the West. Oakland, in second, dropped 3 1/2 back.
Saberhagen (17-8) walked two batters and struck out three. Second baseman Frank White supplied an important part of the Royals' offense and defense. He tripled and doubled, scoring two runs and driving in another, while his backhanded stab of Alfredo Griffin's two-out grounder in the fifth preserved the shutout as the A's wasted a leadoff double by Mark McGwire.
White Sox 5, Mariners 1: Carlton Fisk broke a tie with a two-run double in the seventh inning and Jose DeLeon and Bobby Thigpen pitched a five-hitter for Chicago in the Kingdome.
Fisk broke a 1-1 tie when he doubled with the bases loaded off loser Mike Campbell (0-4).