Yankees grab first in AL East

Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2005


  Boston Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin wipes his head as he gives up three runs to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the eighth inning Wednesday night Sept. 21, 2005 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Devil Rays defeated the Red Sox 7-4, knocking them from first place in the American League East. AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Boston Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin wipes his head as he gives up three runs to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the eighth inning Wednesday night Sept. 21, 2005 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Devil Rays defeated the Red Sox 7-4, knocking them from first place in the American League East.

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

NEW YORK —Randy Johnson was his old self, glaring and pointing. The Big Unit not only made it into the late innings, he pitched the New York Yankees into first place.

Johnson limited the Baltimore Orioles to three hits over eight innings in his first start since a second-inning ejection last week, and Matt Lawton broke out of a long slump with a two-run homer that carried the Yankees to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night.

New York, which won for the ninth time in 10 games, took over the AL East lead by a half-game over Boston, which lost at Tampa Bay.

Johnson (15-8) didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and didn't give up a run until the sixth, when Melvin Mora hit a long RBI double.

Lawton, acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 27, had been hitless in 19 at-bats, his longest slide in two years, and had not homered since Aug. 29. Hideki Matsui singled off Rodrigo Lopez (14-11) with one out in the second and Lawton hit a two-out drive just over the wall in right, his fifth hit in 42 at-bats with New York.

Devil Rays 7, Red Sox 4

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. —Tampa Bay rallied for five runs in the eighth inning to knock defending world champion Boston out of first place in the AL East.

Jorge Cantu chased Boston starter Tim Wakefield with a two-out RBI single, and Jonny Gomes' two-run triple off Mike Timlin (7-3) put the last-place Devil Rays ahead 5-4. Eric Munson followed with an RBI double and Alex Gonzalez added an RBI single to ensure Boston's 64-day stay atop the division would end.

Manny Ramirez homered for the third time in two games for the Red Sox, who also now trail Cleveland by a half-game for the AL wild card.

Mariners 3, Blue Jays 2

TORONTO —Rookie phenom Felix Hernandez took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before giving up a questionable single, and Seattle beat Toronto.

The 19-year-old Hernandez cruised into the seventh until Corey Koskie hit a one-out liner to the left side. Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt jumped and had a chance to make a backhand catch, but the ball glanced off his glove.

Hernandez (4-4) gave up two hits in 7 2-3 scoreless innings. Eddie Guardado gave up a two-run homer to Shea Hillenbrand in the ninth before finishing for his 33rd save in 38 chances.

Twins 10, Athletics 4

OAKLAND, Calif. —Michael Cuddyer homered, hit three doubles and drove in four runs, and Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak.

Cuddyer finished with a career-high four hits. After his solo homer in the second inning, he followed with three doubles for his third career four-RBI game. Matthew LeCroy added three hits and two RBIs for Minnesota, which had lost five of six. The Twins tagged Joe Kennedy (3-4) in taking a 7-0 lead in the fifth, and avoided a three-game sweep.

Scott Baker (2-2) pitched five effective innings to win for the first time in five starts.

Royals 4, Tigers 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Pinch-hitter Denny Hocking's two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning gave Kansas City its first four-game sweep in six years.

The Royals again avoided becoming the first team in the majors with 100 losses this season. Detroit dropped its seventh in a row despite an impressive home run by Chris Shelton that bounced off an SUV.

Kansas City has won six in a row at home, its best streak at Kauffman Stadium since it went 11-0 to start the 2003 season.

Indians 8, White Sox 0

CHICAGO —Scott Elarton pitched five-hit ball into the eighth inning and Hafner homered twice, helping Cleveland move 2 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the AL Central after taking two of three in the crucial series.

The Indians, who trailed by 15 games on Aug. 1, won for the 14th time in 16 tries.

Hafner, who has homered in four straight games, hit a long three-run shot to center off Jon Garland (17-10) in the eighth to quiet a loud sellout crowd 36,543. He added a two-run shot off Jeff Bajenaru in the ninth, giving him a career-high 30 for the season and 100 RBIs.

Angels 6, Rangers 5

ANAHEIM, Calif. —Pinch-hitter Jose Molina drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a single in a four-run seventh inning and Los Angeles rallied to beat Texas for its their fifth straight victory.

The Angels increased their lead in the AL West to 2 1/2 games over Oakland.

Esteban Yan (1-1) got the victory, retiring Alfonso Soriano —the only batter he faced —on a flyout in the seventh. Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 40th save in 45 chances.

Scott Feldman (0-1) faced two batters and took the loss, allowing one run, one hit and a walk.

National League

WASHINGTON —Barry Bonds homered for the fourth consecutive game to raise his career total to 707, and San Francisco starter Brad Hennessey hit a solo shot while winning for the first time in 10 outings, leading the Giants past the Washington Nationals 5-1 Wednesday night.

The Giants have won five straight to hold onto an outside chance of catching the NL West-leading San Diego Padres, who began the day with a five-game lead. Washington lost its fourth straight.

Cardinals 5, Reds 1

CINCINNATI —Jason Marquis pitched seven solid innings, and homers by David Eckstein and So Taguchi powered St. Louis Cardinals to its 96th victory.

The Cardinals clinched the NL Central title over the weekend, giving themselves two weeks to get ready for the playoffs and another shot at the World Series.

Marquis (13-14) stayed in his late-season upturn, shutting the Reds out until Edwin Encarnacion homered in the seventh. The right-hander gave up eight hits and one walk, throwing 109 pitches overall.

Astros 12, Pirates 8

PITTSBURGH —Lance Berkman hit his 20th homer and drove in five runs as Houston built an 8-0 lead and then held off Pittsburgh.

It was the seventh win in eight games for Houston, which entered the day with a two-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race. The Astros moved 14 games over .500 (83-69) for the first time this season.

Roy Oswalt (18-12) allowed four runs, three earned, and nine hits over six innings to win for the fourth time in five decisions. He struck out six and walked two.

Kip Wells (7-17) became the first pitcher in the majors to lose 17 games this season.

Phillies 10, Braves 6, 10 innings

ATLANTA —Ryan Howard hit a grand slam in the 10th inning and Philadelphia boosted its faltering playoff hopes with a win over Atlanta.

Jimmy Rollins drove in two runs and extended his hitting streak to 26 games as the Phillies pulled within five games of the Braves in the NL East. Both teams have 10 games remaining, leaving Atlanta's magic number for clinching a 14th straight division title at six.

Philadelphia loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th off Kyle Davies (7-4). One out later, John Foster fell behind 2-0 then gave up Howard's opposite-field shot into the left-field stands.

Mets 5, Marlins 4

NEW YORK —Florida's slender wild-card hopes were jolted when New York scored in the bottom of the ninth and handed the Marlins their sixth loss in seven games.

The Marlins dropped four games behind the Astros and two behind the Phillies in the wild-card race with 10 games to play. Florida also lost slugger Miguel Cabrera, who was forced to leave the game in the first inning after fouling a ball off his left knee.

The Mets pushed across the winning run against reliever Paul Quantrill (1-2) when Jose Reyes singled and reached second on an error by center fielder Juan Pierre. Miguel Cairo followed with a single to center, scoring Reyes.

Padres 5, Rockies 2

DENVER —Jake Peavy pitched into the eighth inning and Dave Roberts drove in two runs with two triples as San Diego maintained its five-game lead in the NL West with a victory over Colorado.

Peavy (13-7) gave up two runs and seven hits in winning for the first time in three starts. Padres starters allowed 13 earned runs in 3 1-3 innings over the first two games of the series, including Colorado's 20-1 victory Tuesday.

Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth for his 37th consecutive save and 40th of the season.

Roberts matched a career high with his third four-hit game this season. He has a career-best 10 triples.

Brewers 7, Cubs 6

MILWAUKEE —Pinch hitter Jeff Cirillo singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, leading Milwaukee over Chicago.

Nelson Cruz walked off Jermain Van Buren, the fifth Cubs reliever, leading off the bottom of the ninth. Bill Hall reached on a fielder's choice and Rickie Weeks was intentionally walked. Ryan Dempster relieved Van Buren (0-2) and struck Damian Miller.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2

PHOENIX —Troy Glaus hit a two-run homer and Chad Tracy added an RBI triple, backing up another solid outing by Brandon Webb as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Webb (13-11), who has worked into the seventh inning for 10 consecutive starts, tied his career high with 11 strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings. He allowed two runs on nine hits, including a two-run homer by Hee-Seop Choi in the third.

However, he ran into trouble in the eighth after striking out the first two batters. Pinch-hitter Brian Myrow singled to left field, and went to second on rookie Willy Aybar's season-high fourth hit. Jose Valverde replaced Webb and got Choi to ground out to end the inning, and then finished up for his 10th save in 12 chances.

Brad Penny lasted only 10 pitches in two-thirds of an inning for the Dodgers, who lost their fifth straight and seventh in eight games.

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