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Cleveland Rallies To Clinch Division

The Cleveland Indians clinched their third straight A.L. Central title at home Tuesday night, overcoming a seven-run deficit in a dramatic 10-9 victory over their age-old nemesis, the New York Yankees.

About 10 minutes after the final out, Chicago was eliminated from contention with a 5-3 loss in Minnesota.

Cleveland, which won 27 games in its last at-bat in winning the A.L. championship in 1995, was 0-62 coming in when trailing after eight innings.

David Justice hit a solo homer off Hideki Irabu to key a two-run eighth as the Indians pulled to 9-8, then tied it with an RBI single off Jeff Nelson in the ninth.

Sandy Alomar, who hit a two-run homer and RBI single earlier, singled to center to score Matt Williams, who walked.

The 205th straight sellout crowd at Jacobs Field roared and jumped up and down when Alomar hit his game-winning single, and thousands stayed to watch the end of the White Sox game on the scoreboard television.

Indians players watched from the dugout in a situation Justice was quite familiar with. His former team, the Atlanta Braves, clinched their first of six straight division titles as thousands in Atlanta-Fulton County watched the San Francisco Giants lose on television.

Justice also is the one who beat Cleveland with a solo homer for Atlanta in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series.

Brewers 7-2, Royals 4-6


Jeff King hit a two-run homer and Mike Sweeney drove in three runs as Kansas City got a doubleheader split with Milwaukee.

In the first game, Darrin Jackson’s suicide squeeze in the bottom of the seventh snapped a tie to lead the Brewers. Milwaukee was officially eliminated from the playoffs when Cleveland rallied to beat New York.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 2


Baltimore moved closer to its first division title in 14 years with a win over Roger Clemens and Toronto.

Roberto Alomar went 2 for 5, scored a run and drove in one for Baltimore, which had its magic number to win the A.L. East reduced to one with the win and second-place New York’s loss at Cleveland.

Clemens (21-7) gave up three runs and eight hits in eight innings.

Tigers 6, Red Sox 0


Detroit got two RBIs from Bobby Higginson to move over .500 for the first time in two years with a win over Boston.

The Tigers are 79-78 after going 16-6 this month. Detroit, which lost 109 games last year, has a winning record for the first time since April 16, 1996, when it was 8-7.

Jeff King, who became the first Royal since 1988 to reach 100 RBIs, went 5 for 6 with five RBIs and four runs scored in the two games.

Twins 5, White Sox 3


Chicago was eliminated in the A.L. Central when it was defeated by Minnesota.

Rangers 14, Athletics 6

Oakland, Calif.

Lee Stevens hit two home runs and Juan Gonzalez and Alex Diaz added three-run shots as Texas routed Oakland.

Clearing the bases

Cleveland’s Kevin Seitzer, back in the lineup only 12 days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy, was 2 for 4 and played eight innings at first base. … The Minnesota Twins will announce by the end of next week they have an offer to move to another city, reported Sen. Keith Langseth the co-chairman of a legislative task force looking into a new stadium.

The 1999 All-Star game will be held at Fenway Park in Boston. The decision was made and reported earlier this summer but never formally announced. The Red Sox have scheduled a news conference for today to make it official.

Tags: baseball

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