Escobar Rolls As Jays Split With Mariners

Friday, August 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) _ The way he's pitching as a starter right now, it could be another 10 years before Kelvim Escobar takes to the mound again as a closer.

Escobar, who logged a career-high 38 saves last season, won his fourth straight and Carlos Delgado hit his 33rd home run as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 5-2 on Thursday night.

``Confidence means a lot for a pitcher,'' Escobar said. ``You focus and go out there and concentrate on what you're doing. Have a gameplan and stick with it. That's been the key for me.''

Escobar (9-6) threw into the eighth, holding the Mariners to eight hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. He improved to 4-0 since the All-Star break and 6-1 on the road with a 2.03 ERA. He has a 1.21 ERA in three August victories.

``He's a guy who had a four- or five-pitch repertoire,'' Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. ``In the closer's role, he just didn't have the opportunity to get to those pitches.''

Rookie Aquilino Lopez pitched the ninth for his fifth save in seven opportunities.

In other AL games, it was: Cleveland 8, Minnesota 3; Boston 4, Oakland 2 in 10 innings; New York 8, Baltimore 5; Texas 6, Detroit 3; and Anaheim 5, Chicago 1.

Delgado led off the second with a 382-foot shot over the wall in right for a 1-0 lead. It came on a 3-2 pitch from Gil Meche (13-8) and moved Delgado into second place behind New York's Jason Giambi (34) for the AL lead in home runs.

Delgado also had a fourth-inning triple, helping the Blue Jays extend the lead to 4-0 with three more runs.

Indians 8, Twins 3

At Minneapolis, Travis Hafner hit for the cycle and Brian Anderson came within two outs of a shutout.

Hafner homered in the first, doubled in the fourth and reached on an infield single in the seventh against Twins starter Brad Radke (8-10). Hafner then tripled to right-center field in the eighth off James Baldwin.

It was the rookie's first triple of the season, coming in his 184th at-bat.

Hafner is the seventh Indian to hit for the cycle and the first since Andre Thornton on April 22, 1978 against Boston.

Anderson (9-9) allowed six hits, two walks and a run in 8 1-3 innings while striking out eight to get his first win in four starts.

Red Sox 4, Athletics 2

In Oakland, Calif., Manny Ramirez hit a game-tying homer in the ninth and Bill Mueller drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the 10th.

It was the first time in 59 games the A's failed to win when taking a lead into the ninth.

Ramirez tied it with his 28th homer on a 3-2 pitch from A's closer Keith Foulke, who blew his fifth save in 34 chances. In the 10th, Gabe Kapler reached on an infield single and scored on Mueller's fly to center off Jim Mecir (2-2).

Johnny Damon scored an insurance run after a throwing error by Eric Chavez.

Byung-Hyun Kim (5-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.

Yankees 8, Orioles 5

At Baltimore, Hideki Matsui drove in the tiebreaking run in the seventh, then preserved the lead with a sensational catch as the Yankees rallied to win.

Andy Pettitte (14-7) allowed five runs and 11 hits in six-plus innings. The left-hander improved to 17-4 lifetime against Baltimore, including 11-2 at Camden Yards. Mariano Rivera got four outs for his 24th save in 29 chances.

Jorge Posada hit a two-run homer in the ninth, and Bernie Williams went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two walks to help New York maintain its three-game lead over Boston in the AL East.

After New York loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh against Eric DuBose (1-2), Williams hit a two-run single off Hector Carrasco and Matsui lifted a long foul ball down the left-field line for the go-ahead run.

With two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh, Matsui robbed Larry Bigbie with a running, backhanded stab of an opposite-field liner near the wall.

Rangers 6, Tigers 3

In Arlington, Texas, John Thomson pitched seven innings on two days rest and Shane Spencer homered as the Texas Rangers took advantage of three Detroit errors.

Thomson (10-10) started Monday against Detroit but threw only 20 pitches before a rain delay of almost two hours. He was pulled when his arm stiffened.

This time, he allowed three runs and nine hits to win for the sixth time in seven decisions. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter.

Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 17 chances.

Matt Roney (1-8) pitched into the third, leaving with the bases loaded and no outs.

Angels 5, White Sox 1

In Anaheim, Calif., Tim Salmon homered and Scot Shields got his first win since rejoining the starting rotation.

Shields (3-3) worked a career-high 7 2-3 innings, allowing a run and four hits. It was his second win in six career starts and his first in three outings since going back into the rotation when Kevin Appier was released July 30.

Jon Garland (8-9) gave up four runs _ three earned _ and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings as he lost consecutive starts for the first time since May.