A.J. lifts White Sox in victory over Tribe
Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2008 5:19 pm
By: By The Associated Press
A.J. Pierzynski’s clutch home run sent the Chicago White Sox to another dramatic win and denied the surging Minnesota Twins a chance to inch closer in the AL Central.
Evan Longoria’s three hits helped the Tampa Bay Rays widen the gap in the East.
Pierzynski led off the 10th inning with his second homer of the game and Chicago beat the Cleveland Indians 6-5 Wednesday night for its seventh straight win.
“When I hit it, I was like, it’s got a chance,” Pierzynski said. “But I didn’t know it was going to make it.”
The White Sox earned their second 10-inning win in as many nights and maintained their 21/2-game lead over the second-place Twins, who picked up a 7-0 victory over the Tigers.
Nick Blackburn (7-4) combined with two relievers on a five-hitter for Minnesota, which took two of three in the series and has won 13 of 15 overall.
The Rays also finished off an important division series on a high note, getting three RBI from Longoria in a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Tampa Bay finished off its second three-game sweep of the World Series champions this season and extended its AL East lead to a franchise-best 31/2 games over the second-place Red Sox, who matched a season high with their fifth consecutive loss.
“It’s a really good feeling. I can’t tell you that I expected it — I’d be lying — but right now … we do expect to win on a nightly basis,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
In other AL games, it was: New York Yankees 18, Texas 7; Los Angeles Angels 7, Oakland 4; Baltimore 5, Kansas City 2; and Seattle 4, Toronto 2.
At St. Petersburg, Fla., the Rays erased a three-run deficit in the seventh inning and Gary Glover (1-2) allowed one run in 12/3 innings for the win. Dan Wheeler got four outs for his third save.
Longoria had an RBI single off Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first inning, and his two-run double off Craig Hansen (1-3) was the big blow in a six-run seventh.
At Chicago, Masa Kobayashi (4-4) pitched a perfect ninth before Pierzynsk.i drove the first pitch of the 10th out to left-center for his seventh homer.
Adam Russell (2-0) worked the 10th for his second win in as many nights and the second of his career.
Grady Sizemore hit two solo homers for Cleveland, tying it at 5 with a drive off Scott Linebrink in the ninth.
The Twins have outscored the Tigers 39-17 in six games at the Metrodome this year, winning five.
Eddie Bonine (2-1) lasted just 2 2-3 innings for Detroit. He allowed five runs, two earned, and seven hits.
Yankees 18, Rangers 7
Jason Giambi hit a grand slam and drove in a season-high six runs and Alex Rodriguez added a three-run homer as New York avoided a series sweep.
Rodriguez scored four times, the last coming on his line-drive homer to right during the Yankees’ season-high nine-run seventh inning. It was Rodriguez’s 535th homer, moving him past Jimmie Foxx for 14th on the career list and within one of Mickey Mantle.
Milton Bradley and Chris Davis hit two-run homers for the visiting Rangers, who are 0-7 this season after taking the first two games of a three-game series.
Edwar Ramirez (2-0) picked up the win in relief.
Angels 7, Athletics 4
Joe Saunders pitched into the seventh inning to match Brandon Webb for the major league lead with his 12th win, and Juan Rivera and Eric Aybar homered for the Angels.
Saunders (12-4) allowed four runs — two earned — and six hits in 61/3 innings to help Los Angeles open a 51/2-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth for his major league-leading 34th save in 36 attempts, tying John Smoltz’s 2003 record for the most before the All-Star break.
Keith Foulke (0-3) allowed two runs and two hits for the visiting Athletics, recording just one out.
Orioles 5, Royals 2
Daniel Cabrera pitched a seven-hitter to earn his first victory since May 20, and Aubrey Huff homered for Baltimore.
Cabrera (6-4) retired 13 straight batters before David DeJesus singled with two outs in the eighth. He struck out two and walked none.