Fri, Sep 07, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Yankees regain first place in AL East

FAMILIAR TERRITORY?After an earlier loss to Baltimore ended the Yankees’ 84-day reign as sole AL East Division leaders, a win over Tampa has put them back in front

AP, ST PETERSBURG, Florida

Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays knocks in two runs with a triple in front of New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin during the fifth inning of their American League baseball game in St Petersburg, Florida, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Russell Martin homered and drove in three runs, and the New York Yankees regained sole possession of first place in the AL East with a 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

Second baseman Eliot Johnson’s errant throw to home plate that led to two runs in the seventh inning helped the Yankees win for the fifth time in 15 games.

New York sat atop the division standings by itself for 84 consecutive days — its longest streak since 2004 — until Tuesday night’s loss to Tampa Bay dropped the Yankees into a tie with Baltimore.

BLUE JAYS 6, ORIOLES 4

In Toronto, Blue Jays rookie Adeiny Hechavarria drove in the go-ahead run with a bunt single, Rajai Davis homered and had three RBIs and Toronto beat Baltimore to avoid a three-game sweep.

Steve Delabar (4-1) worked one inning of relief for the win as the Blue Jays snapped a four-game slide and ended Baltimore’s winning streak at three.

Adam Jones hit a solo home run and Mark Reynolds added a two-run drive off Casey Janssen in the ninth, his sixth in six games and 18th of the season, but it wasn’t enough for Baltimore.

The Orioles return home Thursday for a pivotal seven-game homestand that begins with four against the Yankees, followed by three against Tampa Bay.

RANGERS 7, ROYALS 6

In Kansas City, Missouri, Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer, Michael Young also went deep and Texas held on to beat Kansas City.

Ryan Dempster (5-1) gave up RBI doubles to Billy Butler in the first inning and Salvador Perez in the sixth, but was otherwise stingy for the AL West-leading Rangers. He only allowed two other hits in six innings, striking out eight to win his fourth straight game.

Beltre’s homer came off Everett Teaford (1-4), who was making his fifth start of the year. Young’s solo shot came off Vin Mazzaro during a three-run seventh.

The runs proved handy when Kansas City mounted a late comeback. Alcides Escobar’s RBI single off Joe Nathan put the potential tying run on first with two outs in the ninth, but Alex Gordon flied out to end the game. It was Nathan’s 27th consecutive save and 28th in 29 chances this season.

WHITE SOX 6, TWINS 2

In Chicago, Alex Rios homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs to lead the White Sox over Minnesota.

Rios hit a grand slam in the first inning off P.J. Walters (2-3) and a two-run shot in the sixth to help Chicago maintain its one-game lead in the AL Central over Detroit.

The Twins scored 18 runs against Chicago pitching Tuesday, but White Sox starter Jake Peavy (10-10) silenced Minnesota’s bats a day later, allowing one run and six hits to win for the first time since Aug. 1.

In other AL play, it was:

‧ Tigers 7, Indians 1

‧ Angels 7, Athletics 1

‧ Mariners 2, Red Sox 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AP, CINCINNATI, OHIO

Erik Kratz hit a three-run home run, Chase Utley added a two-run shot, and Roy Halladay stayed perfect when given a big lead as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 on Wednesday.

Halladay, 4-1 in his last six starts, is 110-0 when he is staked to a lead of at least four runs. Halladay (9-7) scattered eight hits over 7-1/3 innings, allowing one run with five strikeouts and one walk. Philadelphia won two of three in the series against the NL Central leaders.

All-Star first baseman Joey Votto returned to the Reds lineup for the first time since July 15 and lined the third pitch he saw in 52 days to left field for a single with two outs in the first inning. The Reds went 32-16 while Votto was out due with a knee injury.

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