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LOW-BUDGET BREWERS PAYING OFF THIS YEAR

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Who says it takes a bunch of millionaires to win in the major leagues?

Certainly not the Milwaukee Brewers, who have become one of the biggest surprises in baseball despite the lowest payroll in the game.The Brewers, chasing teams with budgets more than double their average salary of $527,000, moved within one-half game of the AL wild-card lead Sunday with a 14-7 victory over the visiting Minnesota Twins.

"We're definitely in the hunt," winning pitcher Bob Scanlan said. "We feel like we're getting better and better. We feel like we're the team to beat right now. I'm excited to be in a playoff race."

No doubt, so is Brewers owner Bud Selig. As baseball's acting commissioner, he's preached the need to cut down spending, saying it shouldn't cost so much to stay competitive.

Texas still leads the wild-card chase despite a 5-2 loss to Kansas City.

B.J. Surhoff, who drove in four runs, and Dave Nilsson, who drove in three, each homered for Milwaukee. Surhoff and Kevin Seitzer both had four of the Brewers' season-high 18 hits.

Yankees 5, Mariners 2

New York averted its longest losing streak in 13 years, ending an eight-game skid with a win at the Kingdome. The Yankees went 2-16 on the West Coast this season.

Not since September 1982 have the Yankees lost nine straight. The last time they dropped eight in a row was September 1991.

Scott Kamieniecki (4-5) pitched two-hit ball for 6 1-3 innings as the Yankees moved within 41/2 games of the wild-card lead. Seattle stayed two games back.

Royals 5, Rangers 2

Slumping Keith Lockhart hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning that sent Kansas City over Texas. The Royals won three of four in the series at Kauffman Stadium and closed within 31/2 games of the Rangers for the wild-card spot.

Lockhart was just 2-for-26 when his solo shot off Roger Pavlik (6-9) made it 3-2. Gary Gaetti connected in the eighth for his 29th home run, most by a Royals player since Danny Tartabull hit 31 in 1991.

Red Sox 4, Athletics 1

Roger Clemens pitched the way Boston hopes to see him in the playoffs, winning at the Coliseum.

Clemens (6-4) went seven innings, and the only run he allowed came after his wild pickoff throw. He cooled off an Oakland team that had beaten the AL East leaders twice by a combined score of 17-5. Clemens is 106-43 lifetime when pitching after a Boston loss.

Orioles 4, Angels 0

Mike Mussina became the first 15-game winner in the major leagues, striking out 11 at Anaheim Stadium. Baltimore beat California for the third straight day and moved within five games of the wild-card lead.

Mussina (15-7) gave up four hits in his second shutout of the season and eighth of his career. Rafael Palmeiro hit his 31st home run and fifth in six games.

Blue Jays 2, White Sox 1

Paul Molitor went 4-for-4 for the second straight day at SkyDome, tying a Toronto record with eight straight hits.

Molitor hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning and also doubled. He matched the team mark for consecutive hits set by Rance Mulliniks in 1984. Molitor has reached base nine times in a row, one shy of Mulliniks' record.

Frank Thomas stopped an 0-for-11 slump with his 33rd homer for Chicago. Joe Carter is in an 0-for-18 skid for Toronto.

Indians 9, Tigers 2

Orel Hershiser won his fifth straight decision as Cleveland completed a three-game sweep at Jacobs Field. The Indians are 8-1 against Detroit this season. They also went 5-0 against the Tigers in spring training.

Hershiser (12-5) is 7-2 in 10 starts since returning from a sprained back in early July. Cleveland has scored 66 runs in those games.