Yanks help Boston with win over Rays
Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:04 pm
By: By The Associated Press
A semblance of order and familiarity has been restored to the AL East. For the second straight day, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees posted victories and picked up ground on the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s still unusual to see perennial cellar-dwelling Tampa Bay atop the powerhouses who share their division, but the race tightened a bit Wednesday when the Yankees edged the Rays 2-1 in 10 innings at New York and Boston moved within two games of the lead with an 18-5 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Both the Yankees and Red Sox trimmed a game off their deficits on Tuesday, too, when New York started its two-game series sweep of the Rays.
“They know we’re still around. They know that,” Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said after New York closed to six games behind the Rays, who still own the best record in the majors (55-35).
In other AL games, it was Detroit 8, Cleveland 6; Toronto 9, Baltimore 8; Texas 5, the Los Angeles Angels 4; Chicago White Sox 7, Kansas City 6, and Seattle 6, Oakland 4.
Sidney Ponson limited Tampa Bay to one run in six innings, and Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth and Rivera (4-3) combined for hitless relief.
Bobby Abreu fouled off four straight fastballs from Grant Balfour in the 10th, took a ball, and then doubled home Derek Jeter from first by lining a changeup up the gap in right-center.
“This is no time to be in any state of emergency,” said Rays starter Edwin Jackson, who allowed a run and six hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Including two wins against the Red Sox during the Fourth of July weekend, the Yankees have four straight victories after losing five of six. New York is 4-1 since manager Joe Girardi chewed out and challenged his players following a 7-0 loss to Boston last Thursday.
“We could have easily slipped away,” said first baseman Jason Giambi, who was honored Wednesday when 20,000 fans were given replicas of his mustache. “It would have turned into a mountain, you know, if we would have got swept by Boston.”
Tampa Bay has lost three in a row for the first time since the Rays were swept at Boston from June 3-5. They were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 2-for-28 (.071) during the skid.
“This is not even adversity,” designated hitter Cliff Floyd said. “When you’re playing good teams, you’ve got to score some runs.”
The Red Sox used some good fortune to turn a tight game into a rout of the Twins.
Dustin Pedroia hit a three-run double, and Boston scored seven times in the seventh inning — all the runs coming after a triple play was wiped out — to complete a three-game sweep of Minnesota.
Jacoby Ellsbury had a career-high four hits, and Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis and Sean Casey had three apiece to help Boston set season highs for hits (23) and runs. The Twins loaded the bases in the seventh and failed to score, but they trailed just 7-5 in the bottom half when they appeared to escape a jam on what was initially ruled a triple play.
“I know what the score ended up being, but the game wasn’t played like that,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
The Red Sox had runners on second and third when Jason Varitek hit a sinking liner to center and Denard Span slid for the ball, backhanding it and then holding up his glove as if he caught it. The runners took off and, after the umpires belatedly signaled a catch, Span threw to second to double off Casey.
Second baseman Alexi Casilla leisurely threw to third to get Mike Lowell, who had already crossed the plate. (Lowell appeared to have tagged up, but he was rung up anyway.)
The call was reversed — correctly, replays confirmed — and irate Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out of the dugout for an argument that led to a quick ejection.
“I’m not going to tell you guys what I think,” said Gardenhire, whose team had won 16 of 18 before coming to Fenway Park. “Every time I say what I say, I get in trouble.”
Josh Beckett (9-5) allowed three runs in the first and followed it with four scoreless innings before being chased after two batters in the sixth. He allowed five earned runs and eight hits, giving him his first two-start winning streak since May 3-8.
Tigers 8, Indians 6
At Detroit, Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and the Tigers rallied from an early six-run deficit and sent Cleveland to its 10th straight loss.
The Tigers, who trailed 6-0 in the sixth, won when Cabrera connected with one out for his third homer in two games. Todd Jones (4-0) pitched out of a jam in the top of the ninth.
Blue Jays 9, Orioles 8
At Toronto, Alex Rios and David Eckstein drove in two runs apiece and A.J. Burnett won for the third time in four starts for the host Blue Jays.
Burnett (9-8) allowed seven runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. B.J. Ryan gave up a solo homer to Nick Markakis in the ninth before earning his 17th save.
White Sox 7, Royals 6
At Kansas City, Mo., Carlos Quentin hit two two-run homers and Chicago rallied from a five-run deficit, scoring the go-ahead run on an eighth-inning balk.
Adam Russell (3-0) got one out for the win, and the visiting White Sox won for the 11th time in 13 games.
Rangers 5, Angels 4
At Arlington, Texas, Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off major league saves leader Francisco Rodriguez (0-2), who gave up three runs in only his third blown chance this year in 38 chances.
It was Hamilton’s 20th homer, and his first since June 17. Hamilton leads the majors with 89 RBI. Jamey Wright (5-3), the fourth Texas pitcher, worked two scoreless innings for the win.
Mariners 6, Athletics 4
At Oakland, Calif., Jose Lopez hit a three-run double, Adrian Beltre drove in two runs and Seattle ended a three-game slide.
Roy Corcoran (1-0) won his first major league game with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.