A September callup homered for the New York Yankees. Only it was Clay Bellinger instead of Darryl Strawberry.
Bellinger started a four-run rally in the third inning with a single and hit his first career home run in the sixth yesterday to help the Yankees post a 9-3 victory over the visiting Oakland Athletics.
Bellinger overshadowed Strawberry's first game since last Sept. 27. Strawberry struck out twice and walked in his return 11 months after learning he had colon cancer and one month after his 113-day drug suspension ended.
Strawberry's fourth comeback in five years with the Yankees began with warm applause from the 33,147 fans at Yankee Stadium.
"It was really good to be back, with all the guys pulling for me," Strawberry said. "It's going to take some at-bats for me to make the adjustments."
ROYALS 4, RED SOX 2: In Boston, Sal Fasano homered and Mac Suzuki pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball as Kansas City snapped a six-game losing streak and spoiled the return of Ramon Martinez. The Red Sox, who remained two games ahead of Oakland in the wild-card race, had won six straight.
Ramon Martinez (0-1), the older brother of Boston ace Pedro Martinez, was making his first start for the Red Sox and his first major league appearance in more than a year. The right-hander yielded four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in three innings.
TIGERS 8, RANGERS 7: Deivi Cruz's two-run homer in the eighth rallied Detroit at home. Bobby Higginson homered twice for the Tigers, who won three of four games in the series.
The Tigers trailed 7-4 after Rafael Palmeiro and Todd Zeile hit back-to-back homers in the top of the eighth. The Rangers have hit 46 homers in their last 21 games and 78 in 41.
GIANTS 3, PHILLIES 2: After gaining virtually no ground the past two weeks, the Giants are suddenly back in the NL West race. Getting seven strong innings from rookie Joe Nathan and the go-ahead run on Barry Bonds's sacrifice fly, host San Francisco beat Philadelphia to complete a four-game sweep.
It was the Giants' sixth straight win and pulled them within six games of division-leading Arizona, which was idle. The Giants have gained 2 1/2 games in the last three days after cutting into Arizona's lead just four times in the first 48 days since the all-star break.
INDIANS 6, ANGELS 5: Richie Sexson's three-run homer capped another big inning for Cleveland against visiting Anaheim, sending Charles Nagy and the Indians to a victory and a four-game sweep.
Sexson's third homer in three games against the Angels gave him 27 this season, and was his second three-run shot of the series. Tuesday night, he hit a three-run homer to close out Cleveland's 10-run eighth-inning rally.
Nagy (15-9) allowed one run and eight hits in seven innings. The right-hander joined Atlanta's Greg Maddux as the only pitchers in the majors to win at least 15 games in each of the past five seasons.
BLUE JAYS 5, TWINS 1: Carlos Delgado hit his career-high 39th homer and David Wells pitched a four-hitter, leading host Toronto over Minnesota. Toronto moved within four games of Boston and two games of Oakland in the AL wild-card race, as the Red Sox and Athletics both lost.
Delgado's three-run homer, a 431-foot shot to center, gave Toronto a 4-0 lead in the first. Delgado, who topped the 38 homers he hit last year, has the most single-season home runs by a left-handed hitter in Blue Jays' history.
CARDINALS 4, BREWERS 3: Joe McEwing's ninth inning RBI single through a drawn-in infield helped visiting St. Louis edge Milwaukee. St. Louis now has a three-game winning streak on the heels of a season-high seven straight losses.