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BLUE JAYS FINALLY CLINCH AT LEAST A TIE IN AL EAST

SHARE BLUE JAYS FINALLY CLINCH AT LEAST A TIE IN AL EAST

Last year, Jack Morris pitched the Toronto Blue Jays out of the playoffs. On Friday night, he put them on the verge of getting back in.

Morris, leading the majors with 21 victories, again pitched just well enough to win in helping the Blue Jays hold off Detroit 8-7 to clinch at least a tie for the AL East championship."I was the one who got credit for the win, but we won as a team," Morris said. "It's hard to except the fact you're getting beat around a little bit, but that was the best I had."

The Blue Jays could have clinched, but Milwaukee rallied to win 3-2 at Oakland, keeping Toronto from wrapping up its second straight division title and fourth in eight years. No AL East champion has repeated since the 1980-81 New York Yankees.

More than a half-dozen TV sets in the Toronto locker room were tuned to the Brewers-A's game, although no one was crowded around them. A few Blue Jays, including Morris and manager Cito Gaston, planned to stay in the clubhouse to watch the ending.

"This takes some of the pressure off," Morris said. "It's not over yet, but they could only tie, and then they'd have to beat us here."

If Toronto and Milwaukee finished the weekend even, there would be a one-game playoff Monday at SkyDome.

Roberto Alomar and Candy Maldonado hit two-run homers in the first inning, and Pat Borders connected in the second as Toronto opened a 6-1 lead. But winning big games has never been easy for the Blue Jays, and it wasn't this time, either, as Detroit closed to 8-7 in the seventh on Mickey Tettleton's home run.

It wasn't until Tom Henke got his 34th save by striking out Tettleton with a runner on first in the ninth that another sellout crowd at SkyDome could relax.

Brewers 3, Athletics 2

At Oakland, Calif., The Milwaukee Brewers stayed alive in the AL East pennant chase when they beat the Athletics in 11 innings.

The Toronto Blue Jays clinched at least a tie for the division title when they beat the Detroit Tigers 8-7 earlier Friday night. Both teams have two games remaining.

Pat Listach hit an infield single to start the 11th for Milwaukee. Reliever Jim Corsi (4-2) then threw a pitchout with Darryl Hamilton at the plate, but Hamilton got a piece of the ball and catcher Jamie Quirk's glove, putting Hamilton on first with catcher's interference.

Paul Molitor then sacrificed and Robin Yount was walked intentionally, loading the bases before Listach scored the winning run on Greg Vaughn's fielder's choice. Vaughn was safe at first when the A's attempted to get a double play.

Darren Holmes (4-4) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the victory.

Twins 5, Royals 1

At Kansas City, Mo., John Smiley pitched a four-hitter and stretched his streak of scoreless innings to 271/3, while Chili Davis had two homers and four RBIs, leading Minnesota to victory over Kansas City.

Angels 6, Rangers 3

At Anaheim, Calif., Reggie Williams, playing in his 13th major league game, went 4 for 4 and scored three runs as the California Angels beat the Texas Rangers.

Mariners 2, White Sox 0

At Seattle, rookie Dave Fleming set a Seattle record with his fourth shutout of the season as the Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox. Fleming (17-10) also tied the club record for victories by a rookie. Mark Langston won 17 in 1984.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 3

At Boston, Bob Wickman continued a strong rookie year with his sixth win in seven starts as New York and the Boston Red Sox began their final series of a frustrating season with a Yankees victory.

Indians 8, Orioles 5

At Cleveland, Carlos Baerga, with three singles, became the first American League second baseman ever to hit .300 with 200 hits, 20 homers and 100 RBIs as the Cleveland Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles.

National League

Astros 6, Dodgers 1

At Houston, Darryl Kile tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts and Steve Finley went 4 for 4 as Houston beat Los Angeles.

Cardinals 2, Phillies 1,

At St. Louis, Donovan Osborne pitched a five-hitter over seven innings and Rod Brewer and Stan Royer drove in second-inning runs for St. Louis.

Mets 6, Pirates 3

At New York, Pete Schourek allowed six hits in eight innings and rookie Jeff Kent had two doubles and two singles in four at-bats for New York.

Giants 4, Reds 1

At Cincinnati, shortstop Freddie Benavides' throwing error set up a four-run third inning that carried the San Francisco Giants to victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Cubs 3, Expos 1

At Chicago, Mike Morgan continued his season-long mastery at Wrigley Field, scattering five hits to improve to 9-2 at home.

Braves 4, Padres 1

Braves 7, Padres 2

At Atlanta, John Smoltz took over the NL strikeout lead and combined with four relievers on a four-hitter as the Atlanta Braves beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 in the first game of a doubleheader.

Unbeaten Pete Smith won his seventh straight in the second game as the Braves completed the sweep with a 7-2 victory before a sellout crowd of 41,075 that pushed Atlanta's season attendance to 3,019,216.