Baseball: Cone cuts off Oakland's power

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The Independent Online
DAVID CONE kept the Oakland Athletics in check for eight innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the A's 3-1 at the SkyDome on Thursday to even the American League championship series at one game apiece, writes Richard Weekes.

Cone, who led the majors with 288 strikeouts this season, struck out six and kept the top three batters in the Oakland line-up, Rickey Henderson, Carney Lansford and Ruben Sierra, hitless until Sierra tripled at the start of the ninth inning. After Harold Baines singled to score Sierra, Toronto survived one final scare as Mark McGwire hit a long fly ball to left that curved foul at the last moment.

Kelly Gruber hit a two-run homer off Oakland's starter Mike Moore in the fifth, and then scored again on a Manny Lee scarifice fly in the seventh.

'I am the hired gun,' said Cone, who came to Toronto on a trade from the New York Mets on 27 August. 'It was a big night.'

Oakland's manager Tony La Russa said: 'Cone was very tough. We saw some swings from our guys that you normally wouldn't see. I give him a lot of credit.'

The series moves to the West Coast for the next three games, starting with tonight's match-up of Ron Darling for the A's against Juan Guzman for the Blue Jays.