The Cleveland Indians say they've known since spring training what the rest of the world is discovering now.
"We weren't joking. We're really serious about winning this division," Dennis Martinez said Friday night after the Indians beat the Boston Red Sox 8-1 and tied a 43-year-old franchise record with their 16th straight home victory.The Indians' streak at Jacobs Field is the best in the majors since Boston won a record 24 in a row at Fenway Park in 1988. Cleveland won 16 straight at Cleveland Stadium in 1951.
The Indians, winners of seven in a row overall, took over the best record in the American League, a half-game better than the New York Yankees. The Red Sox dropped their ninth straight - their first nine-game skid since 1977.
Martinez (5-4) gave up one run and eight hits in eight innings, walking none and striking out four. The Indians are 6-1 in his last seven starts.
After his teammates gave him a big lead Friday, he wasted little time finishing off the Red Sox. Of the 38 pitches he threw over his final four innings, 35 were strikes.
"When you have that kind of lead, you have to go right after the hitters and make them swing the bat," Martinez said. "But I still used all my pitches. I had to keep my game plan, keep them off balance."
Boston scored a run on Andre Dawson's RBI single in the first, but Cleveland then jumped on Nate Minchey (0-2) for seven runs by the third inning. Everyone in Cleveland's starting lineup except Sandy Alomar had either a hit, an RBI or both during the first three innings.
Mariners 5, Royals 1
At Kansas City, Ken Griffey hit his 30th homer of the season, Edgar Martinez added a three-run shot and Dave Fleming snapped a personal five-game losing streak as Seattle beat Kansas City.
Griffey's homer enabled him to match Babe Ruth's mark for most home runs before June 30. Ruth hit 30 by that date in both 1928 and 1930, finishing with 54 in 1928 and 49 two years later.
Orioles 9, Twins 2
At Baltimore, Ben McDonald won his 10th game as the Baltimore Orioles ended seven-game winning streaks by the Minnesota Twins and pitcher Kevin Tapani.
McDonald (10-4) pitched a eight-hitter, striking out five and walking none.
Blue Jays 7, Tigers 4
At Detroit, Paul Molitor had three hits, including a three-run homer, and the Toronto Blue Jays ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers, playing before a crowd of 36,210 - their largest since Opening Day - lost their third straight.
Brewers 8, Yankees 1
At New York, Cal Eldred pitched a three-hitter and put Paul O'Neill below .400 for the first time this season, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to an victory over the New York Yankees.
Dave Nilsson hit a grand slam for Milwaukee, but Eldred (7-7) was the main star. He pitched his third complete game in 15 starts.
Angels 5, White Sox 3
At Chicago, Chili Davis hit a two-run single to cap a five-run rally in the ninth inning that gave the California Angels a victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Julio Franco went 3-for-4 and drove in his 59th run.
Athletics 4, Rangers 2
At Arlington, Texas, Stan Javier homered twice and drove in three runs, lifting the Oakland Athletics to victory against the Texas Rangers, the A's sixth win in their last eight games.
The Rangers lost for the sixth time in their last seven games.
After Eric Fox doubled in the seventh, Javier lined an 0-2 pitch from reliever Tom Henke over the wall in center for his ninth homer.