Blah Jays Prepare for Dismantling

TORONTO -- These are trying times for the Toronto Blue Jays, who can still claim to be the two-time defending champions thanks to the strike. But they own the American League's second-worst record and face imminent changes by a management finally ready to unload high-priced veterans to make room for youngsters.

They also began their longest road trip of the season Monday in disarray.

In Anaheim, Mark Langston outdueled reigning AL Cy Young winner David Cone to win his fourth straight decision, and Greg Myers hit a two-run home run as the California Angels took a one-game lead in the AL West with a 4-2 victory over the Jays.

Langston (7-1) matched his victory total of last season, allowing two runs and six hits over 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and three walks. Lee Smith rebounded from consecutive blown saves with his 20th of the season, the 13th consecutive year that baseball's all-time saves leader has earned at least 20.

Cone (6-5) lost for the first time in four career decisions at Anaheim Stadium.

Compounding the Jays' uncertainty, the Belgian beer company Interbrew is in the process of buying the team's parent company, Labatt's, and is expected to put the baseball team on the market. Many fans fear any local effort to buy the team will lose out to a higher bid from Americans.

Among players rumored to be moving is Roberto Alomar, 27, in the final year of a three-year contract and eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season. But even if he heads elsewhere, he almost certainly won't be the first big-name Jay to leave. General manager Gordon Ash and his staff will be reviewing the club this week, and there are expectations that Cone or outfielder Joe Carter will be traded as a first step toward paring the team's $45 million payroll.

"If there was one simple explanation, it would have been corrected,'' Ash said recently of his team's demise.

"It could be that a number of veterans weren't physically prepared after the strike and the shortened spring. It could be there was a malaise. It could be the players aren't as good as we thought.''

Orioles 9, Twins 4. In Baltimore, Oriole Brady Anderson stole second base in the fifth, extending his AL record to 36 straight. But he then tried to steal third and was thrown out, the first time he was caught since May 13, 1994 at the Metrodome. Matt Walbeck was the catcher on both occasions.

Red Sox 12, Royals 5. In Kansas City, Mo Vaughn had a bases-loaded triple and his second straight two-homer game as the Boston Red Sox beat the Royals 12-5, bombing Kevin Appier the day after he was named to his first All-Star Game.

Appier (11-4), the winningest pitcher in the major leagues, lasted only 3 2/3 innings, his shortest stint of the year. Winner Zane Smith (3-4) went five innings.

In other AL games, it was Indians 9, Rangers 1; Tigers 4, Mariners 2; Yankees 8, White Sox 4; and Brewers 7, Athletics 3, in 10 innings.

Cardinals 6, Expos 0. In St. Louis, Mike Morgan threw no-hit balls for 8 1/3 innings to lead the Cardinals past Montreal.

Morgan (4-3) held the Expos hitless until Wil Cordero beat out a hit with one out in the ninth, then was removed for reliever Jeff Parrett, who got the last two outs. Cordero reached on a slow chopper down the third-base line.

In other NL action, it was Braves 10, Phillies 4; Marlins 5, Padres 2; Giants 8, Reds 7; Cubs 4, Mets 2 and Rockies 15, Astros 10.