Yanks darken Rays with twinbill sweep
Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 5:53 pm
By: By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Labor Day has come and gone, and there’s hardly a pennant race in the American League.
The Yankees opened a season-high nine-game lead over Boston in the AL East by sweeping a doubleheader against Tampa Bay 4-1 and 11-1 on Monday.
Detroit is 61/2 games ahead of Minnesota in the Central, and the Los Angeles Angels hold a five-game margin over Texas in the West. The closest gap is in the wild-card race, where the Red Sox lead the Rangers by 21/2 games.
“We’ve been on quite a roll here for quite some time, and you want to continue it because we still haven’t won anything. We haven’t clinched anything,” Derek Jeter said after the Yankees won for the 51st time in 69 games.
New York (89-50) matched last year’s victory total with more than 31/2 weeks to play and is 39 games over .500 for the first time since 2004.
The Yankees moved 61/2 games ahead of the Angels for the best record in the AL — and homefield throughout the postseason.
“Once the team started playing well, started winning, you know, everyone here started settling in,” said Mark Teixeira, who homered twice and drove in four runs in the second game.
Jeter went 0 for 8 with a walk and remained three hits behind Lou Gehrig’s 2,718 for the Yankees career lead.
“You’d like to get it over with,” Jeter said. “Hopefully, tomorrow will be a little bit better.”
After a sparkling seven-inning pitcher’s duel between CC Sabathia and Matt Garza in the opener, Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in a three-run eighth. Phil Hughes (6-3) got three outs for the win and Mariano Rivera, out since Sept. 1 with a sore left groin, struck out two in finishing the three-hitter for his 39th save.
A.J. Burnett (11-8) followed with his first win since July 27, giving up one run, four hits and three walks in six innings.
Fading Tampa Bay has lost six straight, its longest skid since dropping seven from July 7-13 last year. Carlos Pena broke two fingers on his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in the opener. Because he swung, he didn’t even get to first base.
The All-Star first baseman, who may need surgery, leads the AL with 39 homers and finished with 100 RBI.
White Sox 5, Red Sox 1
At Chicago, Mark Buehrle (12-7) outpitched Josh Beckett (14-6) to win for the first time since pitching a perfect game against Tampa Bay on July 23. He had been 0-4 with a 5.44 ERA in his previous eight starts.
Beckett, 0-2 with a 7.76 ERA in five starts since Aug. 12, gave up three runs and six hits over seven innings.
He retired his final 10 batters and was able to keep the ball in the park, something he’d failed to do in his five previous outings when he surrendered 14 homers.
Carlos Quentin homered as Chicago took three of four.
Royals 6, Angels 3
At Kansas City, Mo., Billy Butler homered twice and had four RBI, and the Royals ended a nine-game losing streak to the Angels dating to May 7 last year.
Butler hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning off Ervin Santana (7-8) and a solo shot off Jose Arredondo in the eighth for his second multihomer game this season.
Kyle Davies (7-9) gave up one run, five hits and six walks in five innings, and Joakim Soria struck out three in the ninth for his 22nd save.
Twins 6, Blue Jays 3
At Toronto, major league batting leader Joe Mauer had three hits and raised his average to .369.
Jason Kubel doubled twice for the Twins, who stopped a seven-game losing streak in Toronto.
Jesse Crain (5-4) pitched 11/3 innings, and Joe Nathan finished for his 37th save. Scott Richmond (6-9) allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings for the Blue Jays.