The Chicago White Sox prepared for the possible strike by packing and winning.
The AL Central leaders opened a two-game lead over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday with an 8-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Comiskey Park.Lance Johnson hit his first career grand slam and Wilson Alvarez held the Mariners to four hits in eight innings.
The game was Chicago's final one at home before the Aug. 12 strike deadline set by the players' association. The White Sox begin a nine-game road trip in Texas on Tuesday, so players packed belongings in boxes before the game, still hoping they wouldn't have to walk out but getting ready nonetheless.
"I just hope they fix this thing," Alvarez said. "I was thinking this might be the last game in Comiskey and I have to do good."
If the players are ready for a strike, the fans don't seem to be.
42,507 fans attended Sunday's game in Chicago, pushing the series total to 126,025, the largest three-game crowd since the new Comiskey Park opened in 1991.
Alvarez (12-6) gave up a first-inning run on Felix Fermin's single and Jay Buhner's RBI double, then quieted the Mariners.
Seattle had just one hit after the second en route to its seventh straight loss.
Jim Converse (0-4) held the White Sox to a first-inning single and one run through five innings.
In the sixth, Tim Raines drew a one-out walk and Frank Thomas singled. Julio Franco struck out but Converse threw a wild pitch that moved the runners up and then intentionally walked Robin Ventura.
Warren Newson walked on a 3-2 pitch to make it 2-1 and Johnson followed with a line-drive homer to right.
"We caught a break in one inning and blew it open. It's good the Yankees are doing a number on the Indians," said Johnson, whose homer was his second of the season and sixth of his career.
Yankees 4, Indians 1
At New York, Jimmy Key became the majors' first 16-game winner with eight shutout innings as the Yankees won their 11th straight over the Indians.
The Yankees' three-game sweep improved New York to 9-0 against Cleveland this season.
Key (16-3) benefited from four double plays and two sparkling defensive plays - one by right fielder Paul O'Neill, who robbed Kenny Lofton of a homer in the first.
Royals 9, Twins 5
At Kansas City, Mo., the streaking Royals won their ninth straight game, collecting 16 hits.
The Royals got three doubles during a four-run second inning to extend their longest winning streak since August 1989.
Vince Coleman, Bob Hamelin and David Howard each drove in two runs for Kansas City.
Brewers 5, Red Sox 2
At Boston, five Milwaukee pitchers combined on a seven-hitter as the Brewers continued their mid-season run toward respectability.
The Brewers, who benefited from 13 walks, have won five of six and are 11-6 since the All-Star break, moving within four games of .500 at 50-54. They have won eight of 10 on the road.
Jaime Navarro (4-7), who entered the game in the second when Milwaukee starter Ricky Bones left with a hip injury, allowed three hits in 41/3 innings.
Chris Nabholz (3-4) took the loss.
Blue Jays 6, Orioles 4
At Baltimore, John Olerud homered and tripled as the Blue Jays built a five-run lead and held on to beat the stumbling Orioles.
Olerud hit his 10th homer, a two-run shot, in a four-run second against Ben McDonald (12-7).
Jeffrey Hammonds had three hits and Mark McLemore drove in two runs for Baltimore, which fell a season-high eight games behind the Yankees in the standings.
Angels 4, Rangers 3
At Arlington, Texas, rookie Garret Anderson's first career RBI broke a sixth-inning tie for the Angels.
Anderson, who went 2-for-4 in only his fourth major-league game, slapped a two-out single off Kevin Brown (7-9) to drive in J.T. Snow and allow the Angels to regain the lead they had squandered the previous inning.
Texas scored twice off Chuck Finley (8-10) in the fifth, getting two-out RBI singles from Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer.
Tigers 5, Athletics 4
At Detroit, Junior Felix's two-run double capped a three-run comeback in the seventh inning for the Tigers.
The Tigers trailed 4-1, but Oakland's bullpen couldn't hold the lead.
Storm Davis (1-3) got the win with two innings of relief. Ed Vosberg (0-1) pitched to three Tigers batters in the seventh and allowed two hits and a walk. His last victory was with Oakland on June 21, 1993.