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ORIOLES BEAT ROYALS TO GRAB AL EAST LEAD

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There's a new leader in the American League East - for now.

The Baltimore Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals, 7-0, Tuesday night at Camden Yards to slip into the top spot by one-half game ahead of New York and Toronto. Boston is only 1 1/2 games out and fifth-place Detroit trails by two.It's close in the West, too. Chicago leads second-place Texas by two games and Kansas City by four.

Ben McDonald pitched his first career one-hitter and Harold Baines homered and drove in three runs for the Orioles. The Orioles' seventh victory in their last nine games moved them a season-high 10 games over .500.

"The important thing is not so much the standings, but how well the ballclub has been playing," manager Johnny Oates said. "To me, first place on July 20 means absolutely nothing. What means something is winning 32 of 45 games."

The lone hit off McDonald (7-8) came in the fourth inning when Gary Gaetti lined a clean single to left.

David Cone (6-9) was the loser.

White Sox 2, Blue Jays 1

Frank Thomas hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning and Alex Fernandez (12-4) pitched a four-hitter at Comiskey Park.

With the White Sox trailing 1-0 on John Olerud's 18th homer in the second inning, Joey Cora looped a one-out double to center and Thomas hit Juan Guzman's next pitch for his 22nd homer into the left-field bleachers. Guzman is 7-3.

Mariners 9, Yankees 5

Ken Griffey Jr. hit a two-run single off Steve Howe (3-4) during a six-run rally in the seventh inning and also homered, sending Seattle over New York at Yankee Stadium.

Mike Stanley's second grand slam in three days helped the Yankees take a 5-0 lead after five innings. The Mariners bounced back to end their four-game losing streak and stop New York's four-game winning string.

Dave Fleming (6-1) won his sixth straight decision.

Red Sox 2, Angels 1

The Red Sox won their fifth straight game as Scott Cooper scored from third on Scott Fletcher's grounder over the mound in the ninth inning at Fenway Park.

Cooper started the inning with a double off Gene Nelson (0-3) and went to third on John Valentin's sacrifice. Pinch-hitter Mo Vaughn was walked intentionally before Fletcher hit the first pitch over Nelson's head. It was scored a fielder's choice.

Tony Fossas (1-0) was the winner in relief.

Twins 4, Tigers 3

Shane Mack's two-run homer in the eighth inning off Mark Leiter (6-6) broke a tie and lifted Minnesota over Detroit at Tiger Stadium. Cecil Fielder hit a 465-foot homer off reliever Rick Aguilera.

Jim Deshaies (10-7) allowed two runs on three hits through the first seven innings, Carl Willis pitched a perfect eighth and Aguilera finished up for his 26th save, allowing Fielder's 25th homer.

Rangers 5, Brewers 1

Juan Gonzalez hit his 26th homer to tie Barry Bonds for the major-league lead, a three-run shot in a four-run fifth inning as Texas beat Milwaukee at Arlington. Kevin Brown (7-6) pitched a five-hitter and struck out a career-high 10 to send the Brewers to their sixth straight loss.

Indians 9, Athletics 5

Carlos Baerga spoiled Tony La Russa's new pitching strategy by hitting a grand slam and driving in five runs as Cleveland beat visiting Oakland. The Indians have won four straight overall and 11 of their last 12 at home. Oakland has lost five in a row.