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AL: Cleveland clings to wild-card lead

By Associated Press
Published September 17, 2005

CLEVELAND - Casey Blake and Grady Sizemore hit consecutive fifth-inning homers, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1 Friday night to maintain their wild-card lead.

Scott Elarton gave up one run and five hits in 71/3 innings as Cleveland won for the 10th time in 11 games. The Indians remained a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees in the wild-card race and 41/2 games back of first-place Chicago in the Central.

Cleveland is a major-league best 31-11 since July 31, cutting a division deficit that was 15 games on Aug.1. The Indians open a three-game series at Chicago on Monday and conclude the regular season with three games against the White Sox at Jacobs Field.

Scott Sauerbeck got the final out of the eighth inning, and Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his 42nd save in 47 chances, completing a six-hitter.

Elarton held the Royals hitless until Aaron Guiel singled to start the fourth. Guiel was quickly erased on a double play, one of four turned by the Indians.

Kansas City's only run was on a two-out homer by Mark Teahen in the fifth. Elarton became the fourth Cleveland starter with 10 or more wins, joining Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook and C.C. Sabathia.

Cleveland starters are 10-2 with a 1.83 ERA in the last 15 games.

YANKEES 11, BLUE JAYS 10: Randy Johnson had his shortest start in more than a decade, ejected in the second after complaining to the home plate umpire. Visiting New York jumped to take an eight-run lead against Toronto, then barely held on.

Robinson Cano homered twice and drove in five runs and Alex Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 43rd home run in the Yankees' fifth straight win.

New York remained a half-game behind Cleveland in the wild-card race. The Yankees began the night 11/2 games behind first-place Boston in the East.

With Toronto leading 3-2 with two outs in the second inning, Frank Menechino at the plate and the count 2-2, Johnson threw a pitch on the inside part of the plate that was called a ball. The 6-foot-10 left-hander yelled at umpire Fieldin Culbreth, who popped out to the first-base side of the plate and took off his mask. The two exchanged shouts and Johnson was ejected.

"I can assure you that nobody finds it exciting to come to the ballpark this time of year and have to eject Randy Johnson," Culbreth said.

Cano hit a three-run homer off Dave Bush in the third that put New York ahead 5-3 and a two-run shot off Brandon League in the fourth that boosted the lead to 11-3, the first multihomer game of his career. The rookie second baseman tied his career high of five RBIs, set Thursday at Tampa Bay.

WHITE SOX 2, TWINS 1 (10): Joe Crede drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single in the 10th for visiting Chicago, which maintained a 41/2-game lead over Cleveland.

Bobby Jenks pitched the final 11/3 innings for his first major-league win.

Jermaine Dye and A.J. Pierzynski started the 10th with singles, and Jesse Crain made an error when he couldn't handle Juan Uribe's sacrifice bunt, loading the bases. Crede's liner hit Crain's leg and bounced away, scoring Dye.

Chicago's Jon Garland pitched eight strong innings, allowing six hits and one run. He struck out six and walked one. The right-hander hasn't won on the road since July 17 and is 1-4 in his past seven starts.

RANGERS 5, MARINERS 3: Rod Barajas homered and Josh Rupe allowed two runs over five innings to win in his major-league debut.

Rupe, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma on Monday, allowed six hits, struck out three and walked one. He became the first Ranger to win his starting debut since Justin Duchscherer in 2001.

Francisco Cordero got three outs for his 33rd save. He struck out Richie Sexson to end the game.

RED SOX 3, A'S 2 (10): Manny Ramirez was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 10th for the winning run.

Boston's Mike Timlin got out of a 10th-inning jam when he retired Mark Ellis on a groundout with Marco Scutaro on third.

David Ortiz tied the score in the sixth inning with his 43rd homer as Boston maintained a 11/2-game lead in the East over the Yankees.

Oakland fell a game behind the Angels who beat Detroit.

ANGELS 7, TIGERS 6 (12): Robb Quinlan's pinch-hit single drove in Vladimir Guerrero with the winning run and Kelvim Escobar pitched three innings of one hit relief for the win as the Angels ttok sole possession of first in the AL West.

[Last modified September 17, 2005, 02:15:31]

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