All season, the Oakland Athletics have been one step in front of the Minnesota Twins. For two straight days, the A's have been one run ahead, too.
The Athletics again strengthened their strong hold on the AL West Tuesday, beating the second-place Twins 2-1 for their eighth straight victory.Oakland, which beat Minnesota 3-2 Monday night at the Coliseum, leads the division by eight games. The A's reduced their magic number to 10, and tonight will face the fading World Series champions for the final time this season.
"The idea is to finish it," Oakland manager Tony La Russa said. "As far as I'm concerned, that means don't get sloppy, don't get comfortable and don't do anything we haven't been doing, and that's pushing."
Ron Darling (14-9) held the Twins to two hits for eight innings and Dennis Eckersley pitched a perfect ninth. He has saved both games against Minnesota and has converted 47 of 49 save chances.
"The season never ends," Eckersley said. "Even if we clinch it, I'll go out there and I'm still uptight."
Angels 9, Mariners 0
Seattle tied a team record with its 12th straight loss. At least the Mariners went down fighting, getting into an eighth-inning brawl in Anaheim.
Eric Gunderson, who hit California's Gary DiSarcina with a pitch earlier in the eighth, nearly hit Luis Polonia later. Polonia rushed the mound and started hitting Gunderson with his batting helmet and the benches cleared. Order was restored quickly and Gunderson and Polonia were ejected.
The Mariners also lost 12 in a row in 1980 and 1989.
Blue Jays 5, Indians 4
Dave Winfield's 430th career home run helped Toronto top Cleveland at SkyDome.
Winfield hit a two-run shot that capped a three-run third inning, putting the Blue Jays ahead for good at 4-3. He has 24 home runs and 94 RBIs this season.
Orioles 2, Royals 1
Brady Anderson's sacrifice fly was just deep enough to score pinch-runner Steve Scarsone in the bottom of the 14th inning and Baltimore beat Kansas City at Camden Yards.
Brewers 7, Red Sox 2
Robin Yount hit a two-run homer and threw out a runner at the plate, leading Milwaukee at Fenway Park.
The Brewers won for the ninth time in 13 games. They stayed five games behind Toronto.
Yount has eight home runs this season. He has 3,006 career hits, one behind Al Kaline for 15th place.
White Sox 4, Yankees 2
Frank Thomas became the first White Sox player to get 100 RBIs in consecutive seasons in 38 years as Chicago won at Yankee Stadium.
Thomas, who drove in 109 runs last season, hit a two-run double in the eighth inning that gave him 101 RBIs. Minnie Minoso was the last player to accomplish the feat for the White Sox, in 1953-54.
Rangers 6, Tigers 5
Jose Canseco homered onto the roof at Tiger Stadium and Rafael Palmeiro and Dean Palmer also hit home runs for Texas.