Tampa Bay took advantage of a costly New York Yankees error to rally past the American League East leaders 4-3 on Monday, earning a much-needed victory to halt their recent slide.
The Rays trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, but scraped out a pair of clutch runs to turn the tide.
Pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad delivered the tying RBI double, then scored the game-winning run when Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira missed a ground ball by Elliot Johnson for his first error of the season.
“I didn’t even get leather on it. I just missed it,” Teixeira said. “I don’t know what happened. The ball obviously didn’t do what I expected it to do. After it goes by, you go: ‘What happened?’”
Matt Moore tossed seven innings to get the win for Tampa Bay, losers of six of their last seven, and their relievers finished the job to help open an important three-game series against a divisional rival on the right note.
“We need this,” Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena said. “We want to get it going, [but] it’s been difficult for us lately. Hopefully we can gain some momentum.”
New York (48-31) leads the American League East by six games and are another half-game ahead of the Rays (42-38).
The visiting Yankees went 2-0 up in the first inning, but the Rays tied the game with a pair of home runs by B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena.
The Yankees nudged ahead again in the top of the seventh, but could not hold off the home team.
With starting pitchers C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte both on the disabled list, Freddy Garcia made his first start for New York since April 28 and allowed two runs in 5-1/3 innings before the bullpen let things slip away.
ROYALS 11, BLUE JAYS 3
In Toronto, Mike Moustakas hit his first career grand slam and Everett Teaford pitched seven innings for his first win of the season as Kansas City beat Toronto.
Salvador Perez hit a two-run home run as the Royals snapped a three-game losing streak, matched their season high with 14 hits and beat Toronto for the first time in five meetings this season.
Jose Bautista hit his major-league leading 27th home run and Colby Rasmus clubbed a solo shot off the facing of the fifth deck, but it was not enough for the Blue Jays, who lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Teaford (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits to win for the first time since September. He walked two and struck out two.
ANGELS 3, INDIANS 0
In Cleveland, Ohio, Jered Weaver carried a shutout into the eighth inning, squirming out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a win over Cleveland.
Weaver (9-1) allowed five singles, struck out two and remained unbeaten in Cleveland. He is 5-0 with 1.52 ERA in eight career starts at Progressive Field. Scott Downs worked out of a mess in the eighth and pitched the ninth for his seventh save.
The Indians loaded the bases in the seventh off Weaver, who got a force at the plate, foul pop and strikeout to end Cleveland’s best threat.
Howard Kendrick homered in the seventh off Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez (7-7).
TWINS 6, TIGERS 4
In Detroit, Michigan, Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run single during Minnesota’s four-run fourth inning, helping Minnesota beat Detroit.
Minnesota had six singles in all during their big inning as they earned their fourth consecutive win to lift Ron Gardenhire to 900 career victories.