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Wells Makes Pitch For Shot At Playoffs

David Wells, trying to secure a spot in the Yankees’ postseason rotation, won for the first time in nearly six weeks, pitching New York past the Toronto Blue Jays 8-1 Monday night in New York.

The Yankees have already clinched a playoff berth.

Wells (15-10) had been 0-5 in six starts since his previous victory Aug. 14.

The left-hander pitched eight innings and allowed seven hits, striking out seven and walking one. He tied his career high for wins.

If the A.L. standings hold, the Yankees would win the wild card spot and face Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. Because of off-days, New York might need only three starters against the Indians - David Cone and Andy Pettitte are likely to pitch the first two games, with Wells, Dwight Gooden and Ramiro Mendoza competing for the start in Game 3.

Tigers 5, Orioles 4


Bob Hamelin hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run eighth inning that carried Detroit past struggling Baltimore.

The improbable victory put the Tigers at .500 (78-78) for the first time since April 15 and kept the Orioles’ magic number to clinch the A.L. East at three.

Baltimore leads the New York Yankees by three games, with six games left for both teams.

Rafael Palmeiro hit his team-high 37th homer for the Orioles, who have lost 9 of 14 and 11 of 17. Baltimore closes the season on the road after a 5-9 homestand.

Twins 5, Brewers 2


Damian Miller hit his first career grand slam and Travis Miller earned his first win of the season as Minnesota beat Milwaukee in its final home game.

The loss left the Brewers on the brink of being eliminated from the A.L.

Central race. They will be knocked out with either one more defeat or one win by first-place Cleveland.

Indians-Royals, ccd.

Kansas City, Mo.

Cleveland, with a magic number of two for clinching the A.L. Central, had its game against Kansas City rained out and canceled.

The Indians return home for their final seven games, starting tonight.

Clearing the bases

Minnesota Twins pitcher Brad Radke, who won his 20th game last week, won the American League player of the week award. … Bill Butland, a Boston Red Sox pitcher in the 1940s and onetime roommate of Ted Williams, has died at age 79.

Daryl Allen Smith, 40, the man charged with selling $30 worth of rock cocaine to Anaheim Angels player Tony Phillips, must stand trial on a single drug sales charge, a judicial commissioner ruled. … Mike Mussina will start on the mound in the Baltimore Orioles’ playoff opener and will be followed by Scott Erickson and Jimmy Key, pitching coach Ray Miller said.

Detroit concludes the season at home after an 8-5 road trip, its first eight-win trip since 1987. … Monday’s crowd of 10,015 gave the Minnesota Twins an attendance of 1,411,064 this season, down from 1,437,352 in 1996. … The crowd of 23,380 for the Yankees’ final home game of the regular season raised their attendance total to 2,580,445 in 78 dates, thirdhighest in team history.