Monday, June 29, 1998 | 10:04 a.m.
A lot of pitchers have gone around Mark McGwire this year. Bob Tewksbury tried something new - he threw over the big guy.
Tewksbury resorted to lobbing balls to McGwire on Sunday, and it worked. The major league home run leader could only laugh as he grounded out and popped up on the 44 mph pitches.
"It was awesome," McGwire said after Tewksbury pitched the Minnesota Twins past the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 at the Metrodome. "I loved it. I tell you what, I'll swing at it every time if it's in the strike zone."
Tewksbury promised his teammates he would throw the lobs if McGwire was at the plate with two outs and no one on base. He kept his word, twice retiring McGwire on floaters.
"I can't throw the ball by him, but I can throw it slower," Tewksbury said. "I was excited to face McGwire. I couldn't wait to face him."
In other interleague games, the New York Mets defeated the New York Mets 2-1, Anaheim stopped San Diego 11-3, Houston downed Cleveland 12-3, Atlanta beat Toronto 10-3, Colorado outlasted Oakland 11-10, San Francisco topped Texas 7-0, and Arizona defeated Seattle 3-2.
Also, Florida beat Boston 5-1, Cincinnati defeated Detroit 5-2, Montreal beat Baltimore 8-4, Tampa Bay topped Philadelphia 5-4, the Chicago Cubs downed Kansas City 6-3 and the Chicago White Sox rallied past Milwaukee 10-8.
In the NL, Pittsburgh beat Los Angeles 6-4.
Tewksbury's odd pitches were not quite as high as the "eephus" balls that Rip Sewell popularized for Pittsburgh in the 1940s, or the floaters that Steve Hamilton and Dave LaRoche once threw.
But they were high-arching enough to keep McGwire - who hit his 36th home run a day earlier - off-balance. He could not connect against them in the first and fourth innings, and Tewksbury got Ray Lankford to ground out on a lob to end the sixth inning with a runner on third and the Twins leading 2-1.
"The first time it was funny," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "He kept getting outs with it, and then it wasn't funny."
Mets 2, Yankees 1
The Mets averted a three-game sweep in the Subway Series, beating the Yankees by scoring a strange run in the bottom of the ninth at Shea Stadium.
The Mets put runners on first and third with one out, and pinch-hitter Luis Lopez hit a fly ball to right field that Paul O'Neill caught. Carlos Baerga tagged up and scored, moments before the Yankees relayed the ball to first base, beating a wandering Brian McRae back to the bag.
First baseman Tino Martinez ran off the field with his arms raised, thinking it was a double play that had prevented the run from scoring. The Mets also seemed anxious, with Baerga being restrained by coach Cookie Rojas.
Plate umpire Frank Pulli, however, pointed toward the plate, indicating the run had scored before McRae was thrown out.
Rule 2.00 of the Official Baseball Rules backed up Pulli's call - the run counts as long as it scored before the third out was recorded.
Diamondbacks 3, Mariners 2
Yamil Benitez led off the ninth with a home run as Arizona won at home.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 32nd home run for Seattle. But the Mariners bullpen was tagged with another loss when Bobby Ayala (0-6) gave up Benitez's homer on the first pitch.
Benitez homered for the second straight game, and for the fourth time in his last seven starts.
Astros 12, Indians 3
Moises Alou once again came through against Cleveland. He had three hits, including a homer, and drove in three runs and scored three for visiting Houston.
On Saturday, Alou's RBI single in the 11th inning beat the Indians. Last October, he hit three home runs for Florida in the World Series victory over Cleveland.
The Astros won two of three from the Indians in the matchup of Central Division leaders.
Braves 10, Blue Jays 3
Tom Glavine matched teammate Greg Maddux as the only 11-game winners in the NL and also tied a career best with three RBIs as Atlanta topped Toronto at Turner Field.
Glavine (11-3) gave up five hits in seven innings. His RBI single capped a five-run first inning and he added a two-run double in the third.
Randall Simon also drove in three runs for the Braves. Playing for Triple-A Richmond the previous day, he hit three homers, doubled and had 10 RBIs in a game.
Shawn Green hit two solo home runs for the Blue Jays.
Angels 11, Padres 3
Jarrod Washburn raised his record to 4-0 and fellow rookie Justin Baughman had his first four-hit game as Anaheim averted a three-game sweep in a meeting of West Division leaders.
Cecil Fielder and Garret Anderson each homered for the Angels, who won their 21st game in June and set a team record for victories in a month. San Diego had won three in a row before its most-lopsided loss of the year.
Giants 7, Rangers 0
Mark Gardner pitched another strong game against Texas and J.T. Snow hit a grand slam and drove in five runs for host San Francisco.
Gardner (7-3) gave up three hits and walked none. He is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three interleague starts against the Rangers, including a win at Texas in June 1997 in the first AL-NL regular-season game ever.
Snow hit his first NL grand slam and the 100th home run of his career, connecting against Aaron Sele (11-5).
Rockies 11, Athletics 10
Rookie Todd Helton's two-out, two-run homer highlighted a five-run rally in the seventh inning as Colorado came back to beat Oakland at Coors Field.
Dante Bichette homered and drove in three runs for the Rockies. A's rookie Ben Grieve hit two doubles, making him 9-for-13 with eight RBIs in the three-game series.
Cubs 6, Royals 3
The Cubs broke a seven-game losing streak, winning at Kansas City behind Sammy Sosa.
Sosa had two singles and drove in a run. But Sosa, whose 19 home runs in June set a major league record for most in any month, failed to connect for the third straight game - it's the first time in two weeks he's gone that long without a homer.
Expos 8, Orioles 4
Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer and host Montreal sent Baltimore to its sixth straight defeat.
Guerrero had three hits as the Expos posted just their second sweep of the season.
Devil Rays 5, Phillies 4
Fred McGriff had three hits as Tampa Bay beat Philadelphia. The Devil Rays won a road series for the first time since May 22-24 at Seattle.
McGriff hit a two-run homer in the first inning and delivered a go-ahead single in the eighth.
White Sox 10, Brewers 8
Chad Kreuter, Frank Thomas and Albert Belle hit RBI singles and the White Sox rallied in the eighth inning at Comiskey Park to stop Milwaukee's six-game winning streak.
Jeff Cirillo set a career high for hits, going 5-for-5 for the Brewers.
Marlins 5, Red Sox 1
Rookie Ryan Dempster won for the first time in the majors, pitching Florida past visiting Boston.
Dempster (1-3) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, striking out six.
Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to 20 games, tying Colorado's Larry Walker for the major league high this year.
Reds 5, Tigers 2
Steve Parris earned his first major league victory since 1995 and Cincinnati completed a three-game sweep at Tiger Stadium.
The Reds won their fourth in a row following an 11-game losing streak. Bobby Higginson and Damion Easley homered for Detroit.
Parris (1-0) won in his first start of the season. His previous victory in the majors came on Aug. 20, 1995, for Pittsburgh.
A bench-clearing brawl seemed to wake up Pittsburgh, which overcame a three-run deficit at Dodger Stadium and averted a three-game sweep.
The Pirates trailed 4-1 when Gary Sheffield, who had homered and driven in three runs for Los Angeles, wrestled with catcher Jason Kendall after a tag play at the plate in the sixth inning. Both players were ejected.
Al Martin hit a two-run homer in the seventh and the Pirates scored twice more in the eighth, helped by rookie third baseman Adrian Beltre's error.