Boston will have to follow up on Thursday night's winning performance to satisfy Manager Joe Morgan.
The Red Sox moved into a first-place tie with Toronto in the American League East with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers, and Morgan wants a repeat effort when the two leaders face each other the next three nights."It's not important at all if we don't win tomorrow night," Morgan said of the victory Thursday night. "All I know is we're dead even and let's go get 'em."
The three-game showdown in Boston will determine control of the division race.
"Psychologically, it's a big difference to go in tied," said Boston outfielder Mike Greenwell. "(The Blue Jays) know they have to take two out of three at our place."
"The one who goes out and plays relaxed will come out ahead," added Greenwell. "It's going to be an exciting three days."
Greenwell delivered a two-run double in a three-run fourth inning, helping the Red Sox take a 3-0 lead. Tigers starter Steve Searcy, 2-7, gave up a lead-off single to Carlos Quintana. Dwight Evans doubled Quintana to third, and both runners held when Ellis Burks beat out a grounder to third baseman Darnell Coles for a single.
Greenwell then drilled Searcy's second pitch down the right field line to score Quintana and Evans. Tom Brunansky's sacrifice fly brought home Burks.
Boston starter Tom Bolton, 10-7, halted a personal three-game losing streak by limiting Detroit to four hits over seven innings.
"This was certainly my most rewarding victory, coming at this time of the season," said Bolton. "And I needed it for my confidence after a rough road trip."
The Tigers fell short with an unearned run in the sixth and Cecil Fielder's 49th home run of the season in the eighth. Fielder's next homer will make him the first major leaguer since 1977 and first American League player since 1961 to hit 50 homers in a season.
"There's a lot of pressure now," Fielder admitted. "It's making Cecil's brain hurt a little. The closer I get the more people there are surrounding it. Hopefully, I can get it quickly."
Orioles 5, Indians 3
At Cleveland, Gregg Olson earned a club-record 35th save and Dave Johnson stopped a Baltimore losing streak for the ninth time this year to lead Baltimore. Johnson improved to 13-8, and Olson pitched the ninth to break the Orioles save record of 34 set by Don Aase in 1986. John Farrell, making his second start since coming off the disabled list Sept. 21, fell to 4-5.
White Sox 6, Brewers 4
At Chicago, Frank Thomas belted a solo home run, and Bobby Thigpen hurled his 55th save, helping Chicago. Thomas's sixth homer of the season made a winner of Wayne Edwards, 5-3, who pitched 52/3 innings, and tagged Tom Edens, 4-4, with the loss. Thigpen pitched the ninth and enabled the White Sox to break the team mark of 64 saves held by the 1988 Oakland bullpen.
Rangers 8, Athletics 6
At Arlington, Texas, back-to-back homers by Jack Daugherty and Pete Incaviglia helped Scott Chiamparino, 1-2, earn his first major league victory. Jeff Russell recorded the last out for his ninth save.
Angels 7, Angels 6
At Anaheim, Calif., Devon White's bases-loaded single in the ninth lifted California. Trailing 5-6, Lee Stevens doubled and scored on a single by Lance Parrish. Jack Howell followed with a single, with Parrish moving to third. Dick Scofield was intentionally walked, bringing up White who singled to drive in the go-ahead run and make a winner of reliever Brian Harvey, 4-4. Jeff Montgomery, 6-5, suffered the loss.
Reds 4, Braves 2
Even though they're sputtering down the stretch, the Cincinnati Reds are two games away from making baseball history.
The Reds, with a magic number of two, are attempting to become the first National League team ever to hold first place from wire-to-wire. They can accomplish the feat Friday night if they defeat San Diego and second-place Los Angeles loses to San Francisco.
"It's right around the corner," said Glenn Braggs, who slammed a two-run homer to pace Cincinnati's win over Atlanta Thursday night. "We know it can happen Friday. We hope it will happen Friday."
"We smell it now," said Tom Browning, 15-9, who permitted seven hits over seven innings to get Thursday night's win. "We're feeling very comfortable."
The only cautious soul in the Reds' clubhouse was manager Lou Piniella.
"It's down to two, but we still have work to do," said Piniella. "It's not over yet."
The only other team to lead from beginning to end in a 162-game season was Detroit in 1984. The only clubs to be in first place every day of a 154-game season were the 1923 New York Giants and 1927 New York Yankees.
Piniella was a little uneasy after getting a scare in the sixth inning when star outfielder Eric Davis crashed hard into the wall after making a catch. Davis remained in the game another half-inning, but began protecting his left shoulder and left the game in the seventh.
"I think it's just a little bruise," Davis said after the game. "At least, I hope it's nothing more than just a bruise. It began stiffening up tonight and we'll see how it is tomorrow."
Reds spokesman Jim Ferguson said Davis will be examined when he arrives at the ballpark Friday, but said he doubted X-rays would be required.
Pirates 3, Cubs 2
At Pittsburgh, rookie Randy Tomlin scattered five hits over seven innings and Bobby Bonilla and Sid Bream both doubled in the sixth inning for the winning run, keeping the Pirates three games ahead of New York. Pittsburgh cut its magic number to four.
Mets 6, Expos 0
At Montreal, Daryl Boston hit a three-run homer to spark New York, sending the Expos to their seventh loss in a row. Ron Darling, 7-9, allowed four hits over five innings. Kevin Gross, 8-12, suffered the loss.
Phillies 4, Cardinals 3
At Philadelphia, John Kruk doubled home two runs to lead the Phillies past the Cardinals. Kruk's double fueled a three-run second inning off starter Jose DeLeon, 7-19, who lost his seventh straight start.