The American League had its share of excitement on the final day, too.

While many fans focused on Mark McGwire and the wild-card scramble in the NL, there was plenty worth watching in the AL.A rookie pitcher almost pitching a no-hitter. A batting title being decided at-bat by at-bat. The New York Yankees winning a record 114th game. Paul Molitor possibly closing out his career.

Roy Halladay, only 21 and pitching just his second game in the majors, almost made history for the Toronto Blue Jays. He lost his no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth inning when Detroit pinch-hitter Bobby Higginson homered at SkyDome.

"I told myself probably in the sixth, seventh inning that if I did lose it, I wasn't going to be disappointed, but when it did, I was a little disappointed," Halladay said.

Halladay wound up winning his first decision in the majors, getting the last out on his next pitch for a 2-1 victory.

The Yankees added to their AL-record win total, beating Tampa Bay 8-3 for their seventh straight victory. New York broke the league mark of 111 by the 1954 Cleveland Indians, with only the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116) winning more.

Bernie Williams, meanwhile, beat out Boston's Mo Vaughn for the batting title. Williams went 2-for-2 with a sacrifice fly to hit .339 for the Yankees, and Vaughn, who began the day less than a point behind, went 2-for-4 and finished at .337.

The Tigers managed only one runner against Halladay - that came on an error - until Higginson hit his 25th home run. Higginson connected on the first pitch, sending an opposite-field drive into the Blue Jays bullpen in left.

Halladay, a first-round pick in the June 1995 draft, was trying to become the first rookie to pitch a no-hitter since Wilson Alvarez did it for the White Sox in 1991.

YANKEES 8, DEVIL RAYS 3: Rookie Shane Spencer hit his third grand slam in nine days, perhaps giving him a chance to start in the playoffs.

Spencer, promoted from the minors for the fourth time this season on Aug. 31, hit his 10th home run of the season and Yankees' record eighth in September. With Darryl Strawberry and Tim Raines both ailing, Spencer may play in left field against Texas.

RED SOX 6, ORIOLES 4: Vaughn hit his 40th home run and also matched his career-best 16-game hitting streak as Boston beat Baltimore at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox finished 95-66, their best record since going to the World Series in 1986. Tom Gordon recorded his 46th save and extended his own major league record of 43 straight conversions.

The Orioles set a big league record by making only 81 errors this year.

TWINS 6, INDIANS 2: Cleveland lost for the sixth time in seven games as Molitor led Minnesota at the Metrodome.

Molitor got his 3,319th hit, which puts him eighth on the career list. At 42, he is leaning toward retirement after 21 seasons and plans to announce his decision in a month or so.

RANGERS 12, MARINERS 6: Rusty Greer, Roberto Kelly, Lee Stevens and Milt Cuyler homered as Texas romped at the Kingdome.

Juan Gonzalez hit his team-record 50th double and finished with a league-leading 157 RBIs.

Ken Griffey Jr. went 1-for-2 with a double for Seattle. He finished with an AL-best 56 home runs.

WHITE SOX 7, ROYALS 6: Albert Belle homered and drove in three runs to wrap up his huge season as Chicago won at Kansas City.

Belle hit 49 home runs and had 152 RBIs. He got 200 hits, including 99 for extra bases.

ANGELS 4, ATHLETICS 2: Randy Velarde got three hits and drove in three runs as Anaheim won at Oakland. Garret Anderson hit his 15th home run for the Angels.