Sat, Sep 10, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Rays bedevil Yankees as Wang returns

BASEBALL Rookie right-hander Wang Chien-ming of Taiwan started his first game for New York after being on the 15-day disabled list with an inflammed shoulder

AP , NEW YORK

Starter Wang Chien-ming pitches against the Devil Rays during the first inning at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday.

PHOTO: AP

Carl Crawford hit a two-run double and scored three times, and Mark Hendrickson (9-7) won his fifth straight decision.

Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu also drove in two runs apiece, helping the last-place Devil Rays build a 6-0 lead, eventually winning 7-4 to improve to 11-5 against the Yankees this season.

New York hosts Boston, which leads the AL East by four games, in a three-game series this weekend.

Rookie right-hander Wang Chien-ming ([王建民] 6-4) returned from a two-month stint on the disabled list and lasted five innings. After recovering from inflammation in his right shoulder, he gave up three runs and eight hits, dropping to 0-3 against Hendrickson this year.

Danys Baez retired Alex Rodriguez with a runner on to end the eighth, then finished for his 35th save. He has seven saves against New York this year, tying Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago White Sox in 1990 for the most against the Yankees in one season.

Indians 4 Tigers 2

Aaron Boone hit a two-run homer, Casey Blake and Coco Crisp had solo shots and the Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 Thursday to move into sole possession of the AL wild-card lead for the first time this season.

Boone's homer off Nate Robertson (6-13) tied it 2-2 in the fifth inning, and Blake and Crisp connected in the sixth. The Indians' last 15 runs have all come via homers.

Cleveland, which has won four in a row and 12 of 14, moved a half-game ahead of the Yankees.

Rafael Betancourt (3-3) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings, and Bob Howry struck out Brandon Inge with the bases loaded to end the seventh. Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 37th save, matching his career-high set with Milwaukee in 1999.

Detroit has lost 13 of 15, including eight straight for the first time since 2003.

Angels 3, Red Sox 0

At Boston, Paul Byrd (11-9) allowed four hits in seven innings for Los Angeles, which avoided a three-game sweep and opened a one-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 35th save, ending the game by striking out pinch-hitter Roberto Petagine on three pitches with the bases loaded.

Matt Clement (13-4) allowed three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He had won three straight decisions, but also received no decision in five other starts since July 16.

Royals 4, White Sox 2

At Chicago, J.P. Howell (2-5) pitched six innings to combine with three relievers on a two-hitter and Angel Berroa had a go-ahead homer as Kansas City ended Chicago's seven-game winning streak.

Kansas City had been 0-8 at Chicago this year.

Andrew Sisco, Ambiorix Burgos and Mike MacDougal pitched one hitless inning each. MacDougal retired the side in the ninth for his 18th save.

Freddy Garcia (12-8) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings.

Josh Beckett hit his first career home run, and Miguel Cabrera and Juan Pierre drove in three runs each to lead the Florida Marlins over the Washington Nationals 8-4 Thursday night.

Beckett (13-8) struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits. Florida won three straight, outscoring Washington 24-7, after losing the series opener, and moved within a half-game of Houston, the National League wild-card leader. Washington dropped four games behind the Astros.

"We've still got little more than half a month to go, probably three-quarters of a month actually," Beckett said. "We've got to keep winning. This thing ain't over yet."

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