Baseball's best team resides in American LeagueAmerican League, National League, whatever. No matter who they play against, the New York Yankees are the best team in baseball, and Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire keep hitting home runs.
David Wells pitched a six-hitter Thursday night as the Yankees sent a clear message that there's nothing fluky about that gaudy 53-19 mark by taking three of four games from the NL-leading Atlanta Braves."I think we've won enough games that when we do win, we don't surprise ourselves," manager Joe Torre said after New York's 6-0 victory. "It makes you feel good to beat the team with the best record in the National League, a team that's been winning year in and year out. It's a feather in your cap."
The summer showdown was a decisive victory for New York, which swept two games at Turner Field by a combined score of 16-6 after splitting two at Yankee Stadium.
For the second straight day, Sosa and McGwire homered and their teams lost - Chicago fell 6-4 at Detroit and St. Louis lost 8-2 at Cleveland.
Sosa's homer leading off the seventh broke the major league mark for most homers in a month. Sosa's 19th homer in June and 32nd of the season moved him past Detroit's Rudy York, who hit 18 homers in August 1937.
"I'm happy I'm in the book, but for me it don't mean nothing right now because we lost the game," said Sosa, who has 23 homers and 45 RBIs in his last 26 games.
McGwire didn't set any records, but he nearly became the first player to hit a ball out of Jacobs Field as he kept up his assault on Roger Maris' record with his 35th home run.
McGwire's blast off Dave Burba (9-5) in the first hit a steel support beam attached to the left-field scoreboard. The 461-foot shot was the second-longest homer hit at the ballpark. McGwire owns the top three.
Asked to talk about his homer, McGwire said, "No. We lost."
TIGERS 6, CUBS 4: Tony Clark's three-run homer in the seventh broke a 3-3 tie and gave Detroit a two-game sweep at Tiger Stadium of Chicago, which has lost five straight and 12 of 16.
RANGERS 9, DIAMONDBACKS 4: Will Clark and Ivan Rodriguez drove in three runs each at Arizona and Todd Van Pop-pel won for the first time in nearly two years. Juan Gonzalez added an RBI single for Texas off Amaury Telemaco (2-2), the major league-leading 94th RBI for Gon-zal-ez.
ANGELS 3, DODGERS 2: Knuckleballer Steve Sparks, 0-8 in the minors before being called up by Anaheim less than two weeks ago, won his third consecutive start.
PADRES 6, MARINERS 0: Tony Gwynn drove in two runs and Mark Langston (2-1) pitched 6 1-3 strong innings for his first victory since April 3 for host San Diego.
BLUE JAYS 1, EXPOS 0: Woody Williams (8-3) pitched a five-hitter for his first career shutout and Mike Stanley homered off Carlos Perez (6-7) as visiting Toronto won its season-high fifth straight game.
METS 3, ORIOLES 2: Carlos Baerga singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning as New York swept the two-game series at Shea Stadium. MARLINS 5, DEVIL RAYS 1: Livan Hernandez (6-4) pitched an eight-hitter for his second consecutive complete game and Gregg Zaun homered and drove in two runs for host Florida.
ATHLETICS 5, GIANTS 2: Rickey Henderson hit a two-run single in the fourth inning as Oakland won its second straight at 3Com Park against its cross-bay rivals.
RED SOX 7, PHILLIES 5: Bret Saberhagen limited Philadelphia to five hits and no earned runs in six innings as Boston snapped a three-game losing streak by winning at Philadelphia.
REDS 7, WHITE SOX 5: Brett Tomko (2-2) ended a personal five-game losing streak and Pokey Reese hit a three-run homer as Cincinnati snapped an 11-game skid by winning at Chicago.
BREWERS 9, TWINS 2: Cal Eldred (3-5) allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings and visiting Milwaukee scored three runs, with the aide of three errors, in the top of the first against Minnesota's Brad Radke (8-6).
ROYALS 6, PIRATES 1: At Kansas City, Jeff Conine and Larry Sutton each homered off Pittsburgh starter Jon Lieber (5-9), and Tim Belcher (6-7) allowed four hits in eight innings for the Royals.
ROCKIES 6, ASTROS 5: Kurt Abbott doubled off the wall in left-center, scoring Vinny Castilla with the winning run as Colorado swept the two-game series at Coors Field.