Of all the sluggers in baseball's Hall of Fame, none matched the feat that Mark McGwire achieved yesterday in Oakland with his dramatic 10th-inning grand slam.
If this were the movies, fireworks would have filled the sky when his monstrous homer crashed against a beer sign hanging from the second deck about 400 feet from home plate. McGwire normally doesn't watch his homers, but he kept his eyes on the shot that made him the first major leaguer to hit 30 or more homers in his first four seasons.
The crowd of 41,704 roared as McGwire slowly circled the bases and ended the Athletics' 6-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox in a matchup of the leaders in the American League East and West.
"It's just unbelievable really," said McGwire, who in his first three seasons hit 49, 32 and 33 homers. " . . . It's mind-boggling. And the way it happened, winning the game in the 10th inning, that's fantastic."
"That's a script," Oakland Manager Tony La Russa said. "You couldn't write it any better."
Dave Stewart (17-8) got the victory in his second extra-inning performance this month.
Rickey Henderson opened the 10th by walking as a pinch hitter in his first appearance after missing seven games with a strained hamstring; he was replaced by a pinch runner. Doug Jennings reached on an fielding error and Dave Henderson was intentionally walked by reliever Daryl Irvine (1-1).
Irvine threw one ball in the dirt to McGwire and was pulled. McGwire hit Rob Murphy's first pitch, a fastball over the middle, for his fourth career grand slam.
"There's nothing to say. It was ugly, that's all," Murphy said.
Carlos Quintana's bases-loaded, ground-rule double in the fifth inning gave Boston a 2-0 lead and ended Stewart's streak of 35 1/3 innings without giving up an unearned run.
White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Ivan Calderon singled home one run and doubled and scored another and Sammy Sosa homered as Chicago, playing at home, broke a three-game losing streak.
The White Sox stayed six games behind Oakland in the West. Toronto remained two games behind Boston in the East.
Bobby Thigpen pitched the ninth for his 38th save in 44 chances.
Brewers 7, Tigers 3: Rob Deer homered for the second straight game and drove in four runs as visiting Milwaukee gained its seventh win in nine games with Detroit.
Deer is 10 for 23 (.435) with five homers and 13 RBI against the Tigers this season.
Indians 5, Twins 4: Chris James's RBI single capped a three-run rally in the seventh inning and Mitch Webster hit his fourth homer in six games as Cleveland won at home.
Rangers 2, Royals 1: In Kansas City, Bobby Witt won a team-record ninth straight decision and Gary Pettis's run-scoring single ended a string of 17 scoreless innings for Texas.