Johnson strikes again, AL players hit record 36 homers

American League round-up
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The Independent Online

Charles Johnson and the Baltimore Orioles made some more noise. They weren't alone in an American League slugfest.

Johnson homered for the fourth time in three straight victories as the Orioles beat Detroit 14-10 on Friday night in a nine-homer game at Camden Yards.

"It's been a great start for me," Johnson said. "The biggest thing is that we've been able to come out and win these games. I know it's early, but these games count."

The Orioles and Tigers helped set single-day records for home runs in the majors (57) and one league (36).

The previous major league mark of 55 was set last Aug. 13 in 17 games, two more than there were Friday. The 36 homers in the American League broke the record of 30, accomplished twice in the AL (June 10, 1962, and June 14, 1964), and three times in the NL (May 8, 1970, last July 2, and last Aug. 13).

Cleveland's Omar Vizquel got into the act in Tampa, hitting his fourth career grand slam in the Indians' 14-5 victory over the Devil Rays.

Texas' Royce Clayton and Kansas City's Mike Sweeney came up big, too. Clayton hit two of Texas' five homers home runs in the Rangers' 11-5 victory over Toronto, and Sweeney had two homers in the Royals' 10-6 victory over Minnesota.

In the other AL games, it was Anaheim 7, Boston 3; Seattle 7, New York 5; and Chicago 7, Oakland 6.

Johnson's three-run homer highlighted a six-run fifth inning that put the Orioles ahead 11-7. The teams combined for five home runs in the inning, tying a major league record.

Johnson and Albert Belle both drove in four runs. Johnson has 12 RBIs in four games this season compared to one all of last April.

For the second time in two games, Mike Bordick followed a homer by Johnson with one of his own.

"That stuff is contagious," Bordick said. "Every time he's hit a home run it's been a big part of the game. Guys get excited about it. Me hitting right behind him, it's pumping me up too."

Belle and Cal Ripken also homered for Baltimore. Ripken's first homer of the season left him six hits short of 3,000.

Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said Ripken would be replaced by Jeff Conine at third base today, putting a temporary halt to his quest to become the 24th major leaguer to get 3,000 hits.

"I could (play), but I think I could benefit from the rest," Ripken said.

Juan Encarnacion, Brad Ausmus, Dean Palmer, Tony Clark and Wendell Magee homered for Detroit. Todd Worrell (1-0) was the winner, and Dave Mlicki (0-1) took the loss.

Royals 10, Twins 6

Sweeney had four RBIs, and Jermaine Dye added a three-run shot as Kansas City rallied from a six-run deficit to beat Minnesota in the Royals' home opener.

Minnesota led 6-2 before Dye's three-run homer in the seventh off Bob Wells. Sweeney then fouled off six two-strike pitches before tying it with a solo homer.

Kansas City's Brian Johnson and Minnesota's Jacque Jones also homered. Chris Fussell (1-0) got his first major league victory, and Travis Miller (0-1) took the loss.

Rangers 11, Blue Jays 5

Ivan Rodriguez, Ruben Mateo and Rusty Greer also homered for Texas in the Rangers' home victory over Toronto.

Mark Clark (1-0) won for the first time since May 24, allowing four runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He missed the final 2 1/2 months last season because of a torn ligament in his right elbow.

Tony Batista hit his fourth homer for Toronto and Jose Cruz Jr. also connected. Frank Castillo (0-1) was the loser.

Indians 14, Devil Rays 5

Vizquel, Jim Thome and David Justice homered during Cleveland's nine-run second inning.

Travis Fryman added a three-run double for the Indians, who were 3-for-4 with 10 RBIs with the bases loaded. Six of those runs came off Juan Guzman (0-1) in the second, when Cleveland sent 12 batters to the plate.

Jaret Wright (1-0) limited Tampa Bay to three doubles and two runs in five innings. Bubba Trammell homered for the Devil Rays.

Angels 7, Red Sox 3

Garret Anderson hit a three-run homer and Jason Dickson pitched 6 2-3 strong innings in his first appearance in more than a year as Anaheim beat visiting Boston.

Dickson, who missed last season after shoulder surgery, allowed two runs and four hits - a home run by Carl Everett and three doubles - en route to his first victory since July 12, 1998.

Anaheim's Troy Glaus and Boston's Brian Daubach also homered.

Pete Schourek (0-1) was the loser.

Mariners 7, Yankees 5

At Seattle, Alex Rodriguez hit his 150th homer, and Mike Cameron made a spectacular eighth-inning catch, climbing the center-field fence to rob Derek Jeter of a home run.

Joe Oliver also homered for Seattle, and Jeter and Shane Spencer connected for New York.

John Halama (1-0) was the winner, and Kazuhiro Sasaki got three straight outs for his second save. Andy Pettitte (0-1) was the loser.

White Sox 7, Athletics 6

Ray Durham hit a three-run homer in the eighth as visiting Chicago rallied.

Durham's homer off Mike Magnante (0-1) highlighted the four-run inning that was extended by a catcher's interference call.

With two out, Jeff Abbott grounded to second base, but was awarded first base because Ramon Hernandez's glove touched the bat on the swing. Durham followed with his second homer of the year.

Scott Eyre (1-0) was the winner in relief despite allowing Hernandez's two-run homer in the sixth that gave Oakland a 6-2 lead. Heath Foulke pitched the ninth for his first save.

Ben Grieve homered for Oakland.