Rays in rare spot as league leader
By: By The Associated Press
The Tampa Bay Rays are in rare company atop the major league standings. Tampa Bay joined the 1903 New York Giants as the only teams to have the best mark in baseball on Memorial Day after finishing with the worst record in the big leagues the previous season. Scott Kazmir won his fourth straight start, striking out 10 in seven innings to help the AL East-leading Rays beat the Texas Rangers 7-3 Monday night and improve to 31-20 after going 66-96 a year ago. “That’s something that I’ve always dreamed about,” said Rays left fielder Carl Crawford, who joined the team in 2002. “We want to keep playing good and be consistent. We know that a lot of people think we’ll probably fade at the end. We just want to try to show people it’s no fluke. We want to try and keep it going.” While Tampa Bay is 11 games over .500 for the first time, the Rays drew an announced crowd of just 12,174 for the holiday game. Tampa Bay has never won more than 70 games in a season during its first 10 years of play. “Everything is going our way now,” Rays catcher Dioner Navarro said. “We want to keep doing it for the whole season.” Eric Hinske hit a three-run homer for the Rays, who have won 16 of their last 17 home games. In other AL games, it was: Baltimore 6, New York 1; Toronto 7, Kansas City 2; Chicago 6, Cleveland 3, 12 innings; Boston 5, Seattle 3; and Los Angeles 1, Detroit 0, 12 innings. Kazmir (4-1) retired his first 10 batters, seven on strikeouts, before Michael Young singled to center with one out in the fourth. Kazmir allowed one run and three hits, striking out the side in the first and third innings. He has given up two runs over 26 innings during his winning streak. “I guess you could say there was too much Scott Kazmir,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He kept us off balance with his fastball and his changeup in the zone. He worked fast and hit the strike zone.” Kazmir missed the first month of the season with a strained left elbow. It was his first 10-strikeout game this year, and 15th overall. Orioles 6, Yankees 1 At Baltimore, Garrett Olson pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, Nick Markakis went 3-for-4 with a home run and the Orioles ended the Yankees’ five-game winning streak. Aubrey Huff also homered for the Orioles, who snapped a five-game skid that began with successive defeats in New York. Markakis is 9-for-11 with two doubles and a homer against Darrell Rasner (3-1), who gave up one run and five hits in six innings. Hideki Matsui had three of New York’s five hits and scored the Yankees’ run, on a ninth-inning single by Chad Moeller. Blue Jays 7, Royals 2 At Toronto, Shaun Marcum won for the first time in four starts, Gregg Zaun hit a two-run homer and Toronto completed its first four-game sweep of Kansas City. Marcum (5-3) gave up two runs — one earned — and five hits in 71/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.64. He struck out six and walked one. The Kansas City, Mo., native is 3-1 with an 1.09 ERA in seven career games against his hometown team. Brett Tomko (2-6) allowed seven runs — six earned — and eight hits in six innings. He has won once in his past nine starts, his ERA rising to 6.11. White Sox 6, Indians 3 At Cleveland, Orlando Cabrera’s fourth hit drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning and the Chicago White Sox beat Cleveland, handing the Indians their ninth loss in 10 games. Boone Logan (2-1) pitched a perfect 11/3 innings for the win and Bobby Jenks got three outs for his 13th save. Jenks allowed two singles, then got Jhonny Peralta to hit into a double play and struck out Franklin Gutierrez to become the second-fastest reliever to notch 100 career saves, doing so in 187 games. Kazuhiro Sasaki did it in 160. The White Sox won for the 10th time in 12 games and moved 5 1-2 games ahead of the third-place Indians in the AL Central. Scott Elarton (0-1) took the loss. Red Sox 5, Mariners 3 At Seattle, Bartolo Colon showed flashes of his Cy Young days, shutting down Seattle for seven innings, and Dustin Pedroia’s RBI ground-rule double scored the go-ahead run as the Red Sox scored four times in the eighth for a win. David Ortiz added a long homer in the fourth and Manny Ramirez rattled the outfield wall with a run-scoring single as part of Boston’s eighth inning rally, as the Red Sox snapped their seven-game road losing streak, their longest skid away from Fenway Park in nearly seven years. Meanwhile, Seattle (18-34) dropped its seventh straight and fell 16 games under .500. Colon (2-0), making just his second start with Boston, needed to be sharp just to keep up with Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (2-5), who was brilliant for seven innings, then stumbled in the eighth. Angels 1, Tigers 0 At Anaheim, Calif., Detroit’s Bobby Seay walked Garret Anderson on four pitches with the bases loaded and one out in the 12th inning to force home the winning run. Anderson was the only batter Seay faced after replacing Freddy Dolsi (0-1). Detroit and its high-priced lineup was shut out for a major league-high eighth time this season. The inconsistent Tigers had scored a total of 54 runs over a five-game stretch before they lost 1-0 to Minnesota on Sunday. Macier Izturis led off the 12th with a single, and, after Gary Matthews Jr. flied out, Vladimir Guerrero singled to center to advance Izturis to third. Dolsi (0-1) intentionally walked Torii Hunter before Seay came on. Jose Arredondo (1-0), the fourth Los Angeles pitcher, retired all six batters he faced in the 11th and 12th innings to earn his first major league win.