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Griffey hits home runs Nos. 38, 39

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Ken Griffey Jr. says he doesn't care about his home-run race with Mark McGwire.

That may be so, but he's staying close to the St. Louis slugger.Reaching a career milestone Tuesday night, Griffey hit two home runs - Nos. 38 and 39 - in the Seattle Mariners' 6-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. The homers were the 1,500th and 1,501st hits of his career.

"He's the best player in the game," said manager Lou Piniella, who watched Griffey help the Mariners beat the Rangers with a spectacular catch in center field Monday night. "He can beat you in a lot of ways."

With his first multihomer game since June 2, Griffey moved within one homer of St. Louis' McGwire and four ahead of Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs.

Griffey is having a better season than 1997, when he won the AL MVP with a league-leading 56 homers and 147 RBIs, Piniella said.

ORIOLES 11, BLUE JAYS 5: At Baltimore, Chris Hoiles hit a grand slam to cap a six-run first inning that lifted Baltimore to its sixth straight victory.

Rafael Palmeiro, B.J. Surhoff and Joe Carter added solo homers for the Orioles, who completed their most successful home stand in five years.

YANKEES 7, INDIANS 1: At Cleveland, Andy Pettitte plunked Yankee-killer Jim Thome on the arm in the first inning, then breezed through the rest of the Indians' lineup for a six-hitter.

With a split in the two-game series, the Yankees improved to 66-21 and kept pace with the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates for the best start this century.

Thome, 8-for-21 with three homers against New York this season, was hit on the right forearm by a fastball from Pettitte (12-5). X-rays were negative.

WHITE SOX 8, TWINS 5: At Chicago, Frank Thomas hit a two-out, three-run homer off Rick Aguilera (3-6) to cap a four-run ninth inning for the White Sox.

Albert Belle homered for the seventh time in six games for Chicago, which won for the fourth time in five games despite blowing a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth.

ATHLETICS 6, ANGELS 2: At Oakland, Kenny Rogers pitched six scoreless innings before leaving with soreness in his left hamstring as the Athletics won their fifth straight against Anaheim.

Rogers (9-3), who allowed four hits and walked three, was not expected to miss a start.

DEVIL RAYS 5, RED SOX 4: Miguel Cairo's ninth-inning single drove in the winning run as host Tampa Bay ended its 11-game losing streak.

TIGERS 8, ROYALS 3: Justin Thompson finally won a home game and Tony Clark hit a three-run homer as Detroit beat Kansas City.


REDS 7, CARDINALS 4: One out from his first major league save, Danny Graves' heart must have skipped a beat as St. Louis' pinch hitter strolled toward home plate.

Mark McGwire has that effect on pitchers.

Graves missed the strike zone on his first two pitches to baseball's leading home-run hitter before getting McGwire to ground out to third as Cincinnati Reds won their ninth straight, 7-4 over the Cardinals.

Cincinnati's winning streak followed an 11-game losing skid, and they've won nine straight on the road, their longest streak since a 10-game run from Sept. 16-27, 1964.

BRAVES 4, METS 2: At New York, John Smoltz (7-2) revived Atlanta's rotation with eight strong innings, and also hit a go-ahead single as the Braves broke a three-game losing streak.

Chipper Jones hit a solo home run and an RBI double, helping Atlanta avoid matching its longest skid of the season.

CUBS 7, PIRATES 4: At Pittsburgh, Glenallen Hill had three hits and two RBIs, including one of four consecutive run-scoring singles in a six-run sixth inning for Chicago.

Sammy Sosa failed to homer for the fourth consecutive game - he has 35 homers in 93 games - but contributed an RBI single among the Cubs' 11 hits.

PHILLIES 4, BREWERS 2: At Milwaukee, Scott Rolen's two-run double off Jeff Juden (7-8) in the eighth broke up a scoreless game and lifted Philadelphia.

EXPOS 2, MARLINS 1: At Miami, Dustin Hermanson (7-7) allowed five hits in eight innings and overcame some shaky defense as the Expos snapped Florida's season-high winning streak at four.

PADRES 8, ROCKIES 7: At Denver, Wally Joyner homered and drove in four runs as San Diego ended Colorado's season-high four-game winning streak.

Ken Caminiti and Jim Leyritz also homered for the Padres, who built a five-run lead before holding off Colorado in a typically high-scoring game between the two teams.

ASTROS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 2: At Phoenix, Shane Reynolds (12-5) became the NL's fourth 12-game winner, picking up his fifth victory in a row as Houston snapped a four-game losing streak.

DODGERS 2, GIANTS 1: At Los Angeles, Robb Nen's wild pitch scored Raul Mondesi with two outs in the ninth inning.

Nen's 1-0 pitch to rookie Adrian Beltre with the bases loaded was in the dirt and got past catcher Brian Johnson, allowing Mondesi to score standing up.