Until now, three players never hit 50 homers in the same year.

Ken Griffey Jr. put an end to that Monday night.A few hours after Mark McGwire tied Roger Maris with No. 61, Griffey homered twice - the second a grand slam - joining McGwire and Sammy Sosa in the 50 club.

"It used to be 50 dingers would lead all of baseball," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said after Seattle's 11-1 rout of Baltimore. "Now you have to hit in the 60s."

Griffey, who hit 49 homers in 1996 and 56 last year, drove in six runs and joined McGwire and Babe Ruth as the only players to reach 50 in consecutive seasons.

"It was a grand slam and it was 50," Griffey said. "It's an achievement I'm very proud of."

Griffey hit a 449-foot shot off Pete Smith in the fifth inning at the Kingdome, raising his total to 49. He then hit his 10th career grand slam in the sixth off Jimmy Key, a line drive to left.

BLUE JAYS 15, INDIANS 1: At SkyDome, Jose Canseco homered for the fourth consecutive game as Toronto won its 11th straight, tying a club record. The Blue Jays, coming off a four-game sweep of the Red Sox, remained five games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race.

RED SOX 4, YANKEES 3: John Valentin hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth and sent David Wells (17-3) to his first loss since June 15 as Boston rallied from a 3-0, seventh-inning deficit at Fenway Park.

RANGERS 6, TWINS 0: Rick Helling (18-7) pitched a three-hitter and Juan Gonzalez highlighted a six-run seventh with his 41st homer as second-place Texas closed within three games of idle Anaheim in the AL West.

WHITE SOX 7, TIGERS 5: Albert Belle hit his 45th home run and his 27th since the All-Star break. Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura and Magglio Ordonez also homered for Chicago, which has won 11 of 14 games.


ASTROS 1, REDS 0: Randy Johnson added nine more zeros to his Astrodome log. He needed every one of them to beat the Cincinnati Reds, as the Houston left-hander pitched a six-hitter for his fourth straight home shutout.

Johnson (7-1) struck out 14 and walked one - intentionally. It was his 17th double-digit strikeout game this season, the 100th of his career.

He has 85 strikeouts and a 1.00 ERA in eight starts since joining Houston in a July 31 trade with Seattle. In his four Astrodome starts, he has allowed 23 hits in 36 innings, striking out 51 and walking four.

GIANTS 5, PADRES 4: Ellis Burks hit a two-run double in the eighth and Jose Mesa escaped a bases-loaded jam as San Francisco pulled within two games of New York and Chicago in the wild-card race by winning at San Diego.

METS 8, BRAVES 7: Edgardo Alfonzo hit a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth as New York beat Atlanta to tie Chicago for the wild-card lead.

ROCKIES 15, MARLINS 10: At Denver, Larry Walker raised his NL-leading batting average to .354, going 3-for-4 with two homers in Colorado's victory over Florida.

DIAMONDBACKS 4, DODGERS 2: Andy Benes threw eight strong innings and Gregg Olson pitched the ninth for his 200th career save as Arizona beat visiting Los Angeles.

BREWERS 6, PIRATES 3: Marc Newfield's two-run pinch-homer broke a seventh-inning tie as visiting Milwaukee sent Pittsburgh to its ninth loss in 10 games.