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ALL-STAR? CARTER CONNECTED ON HIS 17TH HOME RUN AND IS CURRENTLY CONSIDERED THE HOTTEST HITTER IN MAJORS.

When baseball's biggest trade in years was made last winter, it was announced as a deal involving four all-stars - Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez from Toronto to San Diego for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter.

There was only one thing wrong. Carter, despite averaging 29 home runs and 109 RBIs for five seasons, had never been an all-star.That, though, is likely to change next month when Carter's team, the Toronto Blue Jays, plays host to the game at the SkyDome.

Carter, the hottest hitter in the majors, connected for his major league-leading 17th home run and tied two team records Sunday as the Blue Jays beat Cleveland 3-1 for their fourth straight victory.

Carter's solo shot in the first inning enabled him to match George Bell's mark for home runs in a month and most home runs in four consecutive games (five).

Carter, batting .312 with 20 doubles and 50 RBIs, has helped put the Blue Jays in first place in the American League East, one game ahead of Boston.

Carter said his main goal when he was traded to Toronto was to finish first. After all, he never got close in his time with Cleveland and San Diego. He did admit, however, that he wouldn't mind making the all-star team, too.

Recently, Carter's teammates gave him some good

natured needling, stuffing his locker with all-star ballots. Unfortunately for him, the Toronto fans haven't stuffed the ballot box - Carter is sixth in the voting for a starting spot in the outfield, well behind Ken Griffey Jr., Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, Jose Canseco and Kirby Puckett.

Carter got a brief standing ovation at the SkyDome after his latest home run. The fans like him and his hustle a lot more than Bell, who left as a free agent and is batting .283 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs for the Chicago Cubs.

Yankees 11, Twins 2

Roberto Kelly went 5-for-5, drove in three runs and stole three bases as New York sent visiting Minnesota to just its second loss in 21 games. Kelly got his first career five-hit game. He capped a six-run second inning with a two-run homer in the Yankees' highest-scoring game of the season.

Athletics 4, Red Sox 2

Bob Welch pitched seven strong innings before Dennis Eckersley relieved for his major league-leading 20th save as Oakland salvaged the finale of a four-game series at Fenway Park.

Tigers 4, Angels 3

Mickey Tettleton homered in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings, and Tony Phillips and Rob Deer drove in the tying and winning runs in the 10th. Paul Gibson (3-4) won it by getting the final two outs in the top of the inning after California had gone ahead 3-2.

Brewers 5, Mariners 2

Teddy Higuera pitched one-hit ball for six innings and Greg Vaughn hit a two-run homer as Milwaukee beat Seattle at home. Higuera (3-2) won his third straight decision. He struck out three, walked one and allowed only a bunt single by Edgar Martinez in the first inning.

White Sox 6, Rangers 5

Relief aces Bobby Thigpen of Chicago and Jeff Russell of Texas each faltered as the White Sox won in the 10th at Comiskey Park. Kevin Reimer hit a two-run single in the top of the 10th off Thigpen (4-2). But Chicago bounced back against Russell (1-1) when Frank Thomas led off with a single and Craig Grebeck walked.

Orioles 11, Royals 8

Orioles 9, Royals 8

Joe Orsulak singled home Cal Ripken in the 12th inning to give Baltimore a victory in the nightcap. The Orioles tied the opener on Chris Hoiles's grand slam in the ninth and won it in the 10th on homers by Tim Hulett and Brady Anderson.