Yanks close in on Sox

Posted: Monday, July 18, 2005


  New York Yankees starting pitcher Al Leiter delivers a throw against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Fenway Park in Boston, Sunday July 17, 2005. Leiter was recently acquired from the Florida Marlins to help the Yankees starting pitchers who are plagued by injury. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

New York Yankees starting pitcher Al Leiter delivers a throw against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Fenway Park in Boston, Sunday July 17, 2005. Leiter was recently acquired from the Florida Marlins to help the Yankees starting pitchers who are plagued by injury.

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

BOSTON — Al Leiter rewarded New York just one day after being rescued from the scrap heap, pitching three-hit ball into the seventh inning to help the Yankees pull within a half-game of the Red Sox in the AL East.

With four starters on the disabled list, New York bought Leiter from the Florida Marlins and he responded with eight strikeouts and three walks in 6 1-3 innings, allowing just one run in his first AL start since 1995.

Royals 5, Tigers 0

DETROIT — Runelvys Hernandez allowed two hits through five innings before he was ejected after triggering a bench-clearing brawl in the sixth, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 5-0 on Sunday.

Devil Rays 5, Blue Jays 4

TORONTO — Jorge Cantu hit a go-ahead double in the ninth inning and Tampa Bay took three of four in the weekend series.

Down 4-1 in the eighth, the Devil Rays rallied with three runs on Aubrey Huff's RBI grounder off Scott Schoeneweis and Toby Hall's two-run double down the left-field line off Miguel Batista (4-3).

White Sox 4, Indians 0

CLEVELAND (AP) — Jon Garland pitched six effective innings and became the AL's first 14-game winner as Chicago completed its first four-game sweep in Cleveland in 42 years.

Tadahito Iguchi and A.J. Pierzynski homered for Chicago, which improved to 30-5 against the AL Central and swept a four-game set in Cleveland for the first time since Aug. 27-29, 1963.

Angels 2, Twins 1

MINNEAPOLIS — John Lackey tied a career high with 10 strikeouts and Jeff DaVanon homered to lead Los Angeles.

Twins starter Joe Mays (5-4) gave up two runs and just two hits in seven innings while striking out a season-high six, but Minnesota lost for the seventh time in 10 games.

Mariners 8, Orioles 2

SEATTLE — Gil Meche became Seattle's first 10-game winner since 2003 and Miguel Olivo hit a solo home run as the Mariners beat mistake-prone Baltimore.

Seattle blew it open with a five-run sixth inning, highlighted by Mike Morse's two-run bloop single with two outs and the bases loaded.

Athletics 5, Rangers 4, 14 innings

OAKLAND, Calif. — Bobby Kielty led off the 14th inning with a homer, sending the streaking Athletics over Texas.

Oakland tied it on pinch-hitter Adam Melhuse's one-out RBI double in the ninth off Francisco Cordero, who blew his fifth save.

Kielty, who entered as a pinch-runner in the ninth, won it with a long shot to right off Kameron Loe (3-2), ending both teams' longest game of the season.

The A's, who have won five of six to move within a half-game of second-place Texas in the AL West, took three of four from the Rangers.

National League

Cardinals 3, Astros 0

ST. LOUIS — All-Star starter Chris Carpenter outpitched Roger Clemens to become the NL's first 14-game winner.

The St. Louis right-hander tossed a three-hitter and inadvertently played a major role in his team's big inning, leading the Cardinals to a 3-0 victory Sunday that completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros.

In his last eight starts, beginning with a victory at Houston on June 3, Carpenter (14-4) has allowed only five runs in 64 2-3 innings for a microscopic 0.70 ERA. This was his third shutout in that span, and his fourth of the season.

Carpenter struck out nine and walked none, giving him 68 strikeouts and 11 walks in 66 2-3 innings in his last eight outings.

Clemens (7-4), the 2004 NL All-Star game starter, entered with a major league best 1.48 ERA and was almost as good. The exception was the Cardinals' three-run second, fueled by a pair of walks, Scott Rolen's RBI double and first baseman Mike Lamb's throwing error that allowed two runs to score.

Clemens lasted seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits. He struck out only one.

Reds 9, Rockies 4

CINCINNATI — Javier Valentin hit his first career grand slam and a three-run homer, connecting from both sides of the plate, and Sean Casey and Ken Griffey Jr. also connected as the Reds completed a three-game sweep.

The Reds scored all nine runs with two outs, all off four homers.

Casey and Griffey Jr. homered on consecutive pitches, starting a six-run rally in the sixth off a stunned Jamey Wright (5-10). The right-hander had allowed only one hit to that point.

Griffey hit his 521st homer, moving into a tie with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 14th on the career list. Griffey hit a solo homer in each game of the series.

Ramon Ortiz (5-6) gave up four runs in 6 1-3 innings, handing the Reds an unwanted franchise record.

Mets 8, Braves 1

NEW YORK — Pedro Martinez held Atlanta to two hits over six innings and the Mets earned a split of the four-game series.

The Mets broke the game open with a four-run second inning against Mike Hampton (4-2), and Martinez (11-3) coasted to victory, throwing just 61 pitches for his ninth win in 11 decisions. He struck out five and lifted his National League-leading total to 143.

Phillies 8, Marlins 4

PHILADELPHIA — Vicente Padilla allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings and hit a two-run triple off struggling Dontrelle Willis.

Mike Lieberthal homered and Tomas Perez doubled in two runs off Willis (13-5), who had his second straight poor outing and failed to join St. Louis' Chris Carpenter as the NL's only 14-game winners.

The All-Star left-hander allowed eight runs — matching his season high — and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings. He was coming off his worst start of the season, when he gave up eight runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs on July 8.

Padilla (5-8), who hasn't allowed a run in his last two starts, spanning 13 innings, struck out a season-high five and walked two.

Brewers 5, Nationals 3

MILWAUKEE — Tomo Ohka pitched seven strong innings against his former Washington teammates.

Ohka (6-4), acquired by Milwaukee for infielder Junior Spivey on June 10, picked up his first win since he defeated Tampa Bay in his Brewers' debut on June 14 — a span of five starts. He allowed four hits and three runs, struck out six and did not walk a batter.

Cubs 8, Pirates 2

CHICAGO — Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hit solo home runs, Carlos Zambrano pitched eight solid innings and the Cubs beat Pittsburgh.

Ramirez had three hits for the Cubs, who took three of four from the Pirates during the four-game series and have won six of their last seven games.

Giants 4, Dodgers 1

LOS ANGELES — Michael Tucker hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning, Ray Durham also homered and San Francisco beat the Dodgers to take three of four from the defending NL West champs.

Dodgers closer Yhency Brazoban (2-4) gave up the homer to Tucker.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1

SAN DIEGO — Chad Tracy had the first two homer game of his career and Brad Halsey pitched six strong innings to lead Arizona over the Padres.

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