A few months from now, this matchup might mean a lot more. On a Monday in May, the Cleveland Indians were willing to count it only as just another win.
Jim Thome hit a grand slam, Manny Ramirez homered and drove in three runs, and Cleveland gave the New York Yankees a close-up look at the majors' most fearsome lineup in a 7-1 victory yesterday at Yankee Stadium.
Playing for the first time against the team that beat them in last year's American League Championship Series, the Indians ended their longest losing streak of the season at three. They also stopped New York's five-game winning streak.
"I think it's much too early to place too much importance on these games," Indians Manager Mike Hargrove said. "I think it was important for us to win because we'd lost the last three. But if we lost, we weren't going to jump off the Triboro Bridge."
Charles Nagy (6-3) helped Cleveland improve the best record in baseball to 33-16. The Indians roughed up starter Orlando Hernandez (5-5), with Thome's slam making it 7-0 in the second inning.
"We understand they have a great ballclub, a tremendous ballclub," Thome said. "Right now, it's a great way to come in and say, `Okay, where are we at?'
"But May and October are different. We know it and they know it."
RED SOX 8, TIGERS 7: A weird ejection during a wild comeback ignited some Detroit frustrations and capped a crazy day for host Boston.
Jason Varitek had a pinch-hit two-run homer and Troy O'Leary hit a two-run homer in a four-run seventh inning in Boston's comeback victory. Three Tigers were ejected during the inning, including reliever Matt Anderson, who hit a batter after yielding both home runs.
The Red Sox finished 20-8 in May, their most wins in the month since going 21-7 in 1986. They were 12-3 at Fenway Park.
"It was a day game, but I was looking for the moon," Red Sox Manager Jimy Williams said. "There were some strange things going on."
Boston's Tom Gordon pitched the ninth for his 11th save of the season.
Gabe Kapler and Bobby Higginson had solo homers for the Tigers, who built a five-run lead against starter Mark Portugal. The Tigers' Damion Easley was hit three times by pitches, tying a major league record held by 18 others.
RANGERS 4, ROYALS 3: Juan Gonzalez singled home the game-winning run in the 10th inning as host Texas won its seventh straight.
Tom Goodwin led off the 10th with an infield single off Kansas City reliever Jose Santiago (2-3) and was sacrificed to second by Mark McLemore.
After Rusty Greer was intentionally walked, Gonzalez singled to left to drive in Goodwin. "I don't care if he's in an 0-for-90 slump -- we don't want anybody else up there, as many times as he's come through for us," Goodwin said of Gonzalez.
Jeff Suppan shut down the Rangers' powerful lineup on three hits for 7 2/3 innings, but Lee Stevens hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Jeff Montgomery to tie it at 3.
TWINS 3, ANGELS 2: In Anaheim, Minnesota scored all its runs on sacrifice flies, including a tiebreaking one by Todd Walker in the eighth inning, in ending a five-game losing streak.
Denny Hocking, who had just entered the game as a defensive replacement in center field, preserved the win when he threw out Todd Greene at the plate with one out in the eighth.
ATHLETICS 10, DEVIL RAYS 7: In Oakland, Matt Stairs's three-run home run in the ninth beat Tampa Bay.