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Blue Jays Win Seventh Straight


Toronto manager Jim Fregosi has his team thinking about winning the American League East. "I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy," Fregosi said. "I think about winning the division. To me, we're 5½ games behind the Yankees and that's what's important to me."

Mike Matheny's two-run homer led the Toronto Blue Jays to their seventh consecutive win, 2-1 over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

Matheny's bat and Joey Hamilton's arm helped Toronto keep pace with wild-card leader Boston and within sight of first-place New York. The Blue Jays are one game behind Boston in the loss column after the win.

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Game Summary

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  • Hamilton (3-5) walked two and struck out three in 6 2-3 innings. He entered the game with a 7.58 ERA, but held Chicago scoreless until Frank Thomas' 13th homer in the seventh made it 2-1.

    Matheny, a career .228 hitter, had only two homers in 122 at-bats this season, but hit Jim Parque's fastball over the left-field wall to give Toronto a 2-0 fifth-inning lead.

    "Sometimes, you get surprises from unlikely spots," Fregosi said. "And we could have been in a jam without some of his (defensive plays)."

    Matheny said the team understands what they need to do.

    "We've got everybody together and guys are doing their respective jobs and knowing their roles," Matheny said. "We don't want to get too ahead of ourselves because there's a long way to go."

    Hamilton was pleased with his outing, but said the sweltering heat -- 93 degrees at game time -- made it tough.

    "I was changing my jersey and T-shirt every two innings," Hamilton said.

    Billy Koch loaded the bases in the ninth, but got Brian Simmons to ground out for his eam rookie-record 18th save.

    Shawn Green extended his hitting streak to a career-high 21 games with a first-inning double off loser Parque. With the double, Green tied Thomas and the Orioles' B.J. Surhoff for the AL's longest hitting streak this season.

    To extend his streak, Green had to foul off seven or eight pitches.

    "I threw him some real nasty pitches. That's the best hitter I've come against yet," Parque said.

    Parque (9-6) failed in his third attempt for his 10th win. He threw seven innings and allowed two runs and six hits. His ninth win came July 1 against Kansas City.

    "Mike Sirotka started out the year losing a lot of close games, and it seems he's passed the torch to me," said Parque, who lost his last start 5-4.

    With one out in the fifth, Parque hit Homer Bush with a pitch and then surrendered Matheny's third homer of the year.

    The Blue Jays, who turned four double plays, have won four straight that Hamilton has started.

    The White Sox, after being shut out for 15 1-3 innings between Thursday's loss at Minnesota and Friday, finally scored on Thomas' 417-foot blast to center in the seventh. One out later, John Frascatore relieved Hamilton.

    The Blue Jays ran themselves out of a scoring chance and into an odd double play in the first. With one out and Craig Grebeck on first, Green doubled into the gap in left-center, putting runners at second and third.

    Carlos Delgado then hit a grounder to White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who threw home to catcher Brook Fordyce, forcing Grebeck into a rundown. Fordyce tagged Grebeck, and as Delgado jogged toward second, Fordyce faked a throw there.

    Green, who had gone to third, wandered off the bag. Fordyce waited for Delgado to reach second, then fired to third baseman Greg Norton, who tagged Green before he reached home.

    Parque hit three Blue Jay batters.

    Chicago shortstop Mike Caruso was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes.

    Notes

    • The game marked the return to Comiskey Park of former White Sox manager Terry Bevington, who now coaches third for the Blue Jays. Bevington was fired by Chicago after the 1997 season. He managed at Toronto's Triple-A Syracuse team last year.
    • The Blue Jays are 17-26 at new Comiskey Park since it opened in 1991.
    • The game was delayed by 23 minutes by rain shortly after completion of the top of the first inning.
    • White Sox All-Star right fielder Magglio Ordonez was not in the starting lineup, but walked in the ninth as a pinch hitter. "Just giving him a day off. It's an early start today (3 p.m.) and he's been doing a lot of traveling," said manager Jerry Manuel.

      ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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