For a team in first place, it sure was a rough weekend for the Oakland Athletics.
First, they lost ace Dave Stewart to the disabled list on Friday. Then they lost to the New York Yankees for the first time since 1989.On Sunday, it didn't get any better for the Athletics. They lost to the Yankees 10-6, and again Dennis Eckersley didn't do his job.
"I think he's throwing the ball good," Oakland pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "Things are just happening. Everybody goes through periods when things happen."
Eckersley, almost invincible since Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series, suddenly is not the best reliever in baseball. In fact, these days he might not even be the best on a team beset by bullpen injuries to Rick Honeycutt, Gene Nelson and Todd Burns.
Eckersley, making a rare appearance with the Athletics trailing, gave up a three-run homer to Matt Nokes in the eighth inning as the Yankees broke it open. Eckersley allowed only two home runs in 731/3 innings last season, but has been tagged for four homers in 14 innings this year.
"I think I've been in the middle of the plate a lot," Eckersley said. "I've given up four bombs, so that's not real cool. I'm not thrilled about it."
Here's more: Eckersley gave up only one earned run on the road last year in compiling an 0.61 ERA. Nokes' homer at Yankee Stadium pushed Eckersley's ERA to 4.50. At least one thing is still the same for Eckersley - he hasn't walked anyone in 14 innings this season.
Mike Moore (5-1), who was off to the best start in his career, didn't do much better for Oakland. He gave up five runs and eight hits before leaving in the fourth inning.
Rangers 12, Red Sox 5
Ruben Sierra homered in the first inning and hit a pair of RBI singles during a nine-run fourth inning as Texas had fun at Fenway Park.
Mariners 5, Orioles 4
Edgar Martinez and Pete O'Brien singled home runs in the eighth inning as Seattle rallied to win at home.
Indians 4, Angels 1
Tom Candiotti pitched a three-hitter as Cleveland ended its four-game winning streak. The Indians won for only the second time in nine home games this season.
Blue Jays 4, White Sox 2
Ed Sprague hit a pair of RBI singles and Jimmy Key pitched seven strong innings in Toronto.
Twins 8, Tigers 3
Chili Davis homered twice and drove in four runs, helping Scott Erickson win his fifth straight game.
Royals 6, Brewers 4
Mike Boddicker pitched five innings before leaving with a sore right elbow as Kansas City sent Milwaukee to its seventh straight loss.
National LeagueThe first-place Atlanta Braves would rather be the team doing the chasing.
Even as early as May 12, the Braves find themselves in the unfamiliar territory of first place in the National League West following Sunday's 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium. The Braves lead Cincinnati and Los Angeles by one game.
"We want to compete," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "We now have a chance of winning every game we're in. . . . Pitching and defense keep you in games, and our pitching and defense are improved."
Ron Gant and Dave Justice hit two-run homers and Steve Avery pitched six strong innings against Pittsburgh.
Reds 5, Cubs 3
Mariano Duncan's two-run triple off Greg Maddux (4-2) snapped an eighth-inning tie to lift Cincinnati over Chicago at Wrigley Field.
Expos 8, Padres 6
Tim Wallach had four hits and drove in three runs as visiting Montreal rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to beat San Diego for its sixth straight victory. The Padres have lost five in a row.
San Diego starter Bruce Hurst, seeking to improve to 5-0, had a 6-3 lead when he walked Marquis Grissom and gave up a single to Ivan Calderon to start the rally.
Phillies 7, Dodgers 3
Jose DeJesus won for the first time this season despite walking eight batters in five innings as Philadelphia used a five-run first inning to beat Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
Mets 4, Giants 2
Dave Magadan delivered a run-scoring single with two outs in the 11th inning off Dave Righetti as New York survived 16 left on base to beat San Francisco at Candlestick Park.
The last-place Giants have lost 10 of their last 12 games, including two of three over the weekend to New York.
Cardinals 7, Astros 3
Ozzie Smith's two-run single highlighted St. Louis' five-run eighth inning as the Cardinals defeated the Astros.