Ben Zobrist hit a grand slam and Cliff Floyd drove in five runs as the Tampa Bay Rays guaranteed their first-ever winning season with a 14-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League on Friday.
Floyd had a two-run double, Zobrist hit his slam and Gabe Gross added a solo shot during a seven-run fourth that made it 10-0.
Tampa Bay is 4.5 games ahead of second-place Boston in the AL East. The Rays, an AL-best 50-19 at home, had never won more than 70 games in a season before this year.
YANKEES 2, BLUE JAYS 1
At New York, Carl Pavano held down Toronto in his first start at Yankee Stadium since opening day last year, and New York managed just enough offense to beat A.J. Burnett.
Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu drove in runs for the Yankees.
Pavano (2-0) drew a smattering of applause from a sellout crowd when he stepped to the mound for just his 21st start with the Yankees since signing a four-year contract worth nearly US$40 million before the 2005 season. He gave up three hits and a run over six innings.
Burnett (16-10) allowed only seven hits in a complete game but his winning streak ended at six.
In other games it was:
• Red Sox 8, White Sox 0
• Tigers 6, Royals 3
• Mariners 3, Indians 2
Carlos Beltran hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning off Kevin Gregg and the bullpen held on for the New York Mets to top the Florida Marlins 5-4 in the National League on Friday.
Before Beltran’s homer, the Mets were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Trailing 2-1, they left the bases loaded in the seventh and stranded two in the eighth.
New York was down to its final strike when Luis Castillo singled on a 1-2 pitch. David Wright also singled, Carlos Delgado was hit by a pitch and Beltran pulled the first pitch over the right-field wall. Beltran’s homer was his 20th, and he drove in all five New York runs.
CUBS 3, PHILLIES 2
At Chicago, Alfonso Soriano hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning as Chicago beat Philadelphia for its seventh straight win.
Soriano’s first homer in 15 days and 23rd of the season came off Clay Condrey (3-4). Chicago made the most of four hits and improved to a major league-best 85-50, including 51-19 at Wrigley Field.
Philadelphia had put runners at the corners with two outs in the top of the seventh before Ryan Howard’s hard grounder went off Derrek Lee.
The first baseman retrieved the ball and flipped to pitcher Jeff Samardzija for the out, but replays showed Howard beat the throw. Phillies third-base coach Steve Smith was ejected by plate umpire Bill Welke during the ensuing argument.
BREWERS 3, PIRATES 1
At Pittsburgh, Ryan Braun hit a three-run home run as Milwaukee handed Pittsburgh its eighth straight loss.
In other games it was:
• Astros 3, Cardinals 2
• Red 11, Giants 7
• Nationals 7, Braves 3