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.
Anthony Swarzak (2-4) picked up the win, allowing a hit and one walk in 2-2/3 innings of relief. Alex Burnett allowed only one walk in 1-1/3 innings and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his third save in five chances in place of injured closer Matt Capps.
MARINERS 6, ORIOLES 3
In Seattle, Casper Wells hit a go-ahead, three-run double with two out in the seventh inning as Seattle beat Baltimore.
Miguel Olivo and Dustin Ackley added back-to-back homers in the eighth as the Mariners rallied for the win in their first game of the season against Baltimore.
Wells had a couple of scoring chances earlier in the game and failed to drive in any runners. He came up in the eighth and drove an 0-1 pitch from Jason Hammel (8-4) into the gap in right-center. Ackley, Munenori Kawasaki and Ichiro Suzuki all scampered home to give Seattle a 4-3 lead.
ATHLETICS 6, RED SOX 1
In Oakland, California, Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss homered against their former team to send Daisuke Matsuzaka to an early exit and lead Oakland to a victory over Boston.
Jarrod Parker (5-3) was the beneficiary of the home runs, allowing one run and six hits in 6-2/3 innings to get the win.
Parker allowed one run or fewer for 10th time in 14 career starts. He is the first pitcher since Ferdie Schupp of the New York Giants to do that in his first 14 starts, although Schupp was a spot starter who pitched mostly in relief when he did it from 1913-1917.
Matsuzaka (0-3) was knocked out before retiring a batter in the second inning.
AP, ST LOUIS, MISSOURI
Allen Craig hit a pair of home runs and Carlos Beltran extended his RBI streak to a major league-high nine games, helping Kyle Lohse and the St Louis Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 9-3 on Monday.
Matt Holliday homered and drove in two runs for the Cardinals, who punished a pitching staff that entered with a major league-worst 5.37 ERA.
Tyler Colvin and Wilin Rosario homered for the Rockies, who have dropped five of seven. Rosario homered for the third straight game, but Colorado pitchers totaled four wild pitches, eight walks and an error that allowed a run. Tyler Chatwood (1-1) got the loss.
REDS 8, DODGERS 2
In Los Angeles, rookies Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier had three RBIs each, leading Cincinnati to the victory.
Homer Bailey (6-6) allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings for NL Central-leading Cincinnati, which played without injured sluggers Joey Votto and Scott Rolen. He struck out seven and walked one.
Chad Billingsley (4-8) lost his fourth straight start, giving up three runs and six hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and no walks.
BREWERS 6, MARLINS 5
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki drove in the go-ahead run with a safety squeeze in the eighth inning, lifting Milwaukee over Florida.
Rickie Weeks sparked the winning rally with a leadoff double. He moved up on Martin Maldonado’s single to right and scored when Aoki greeted Randy Choate with a bunt single that gave Milwaukee a 6-5 lead.
Justin Ruggiano hit a two-run homer and finished with a career-high four RBIs for Miami, which committed three errors that led to two unearned runs. Ryan Webb (3-2) got the loss.
CUBS 4, BRAVES 1
In Atlanta, Georgia, Jeff Samardzija had a career-high 11 strikeouts and Luis Valbuena hit a tiebreaking three-run double in the seventh as Chicago earned its fourth consecutive win.
Anthony Rizzo connected for Chicago, which has won six of seven overall. Rizzo, one of the Cubs’ top prospects, has two homers in six games since he was recalled on Tuesday last week.
Samardzija (6-7) yielded one run and four hits in seven innings, rebounding from a rough month last month. Jeff Russell pitched the ninth for his second save.
PADRES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 2
In Phoenix, Arizona, Clayton Richard came within one out of a complete game, and Alexi Amarista hit one of three San Diego home runs in a win over Arizona.
Cameron Maybin hit a 485-foot drive and Yasmani Grandal also connected as the Padres picked up their third straight win.
Grandal has three career hits, all of them home runs. The last player whose first three hits were homers was Keith McDonald for St Louis in 2000 — those turned out to be the only three hits he got in the majors.
Richard (6-8) was pulled after 8-2/3 innings, after allowing consecutive singles to Ryan Roberts and Gerardo Parra. Joe Thatcher struck out pinch-hitter Jason Kubel for his first career save.
PIRATES 11, ASTROS 2
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Garrett Jones and Neil Walker hit back-to-back homers off the right-field foul pole to ignite Pittsburgh’s offense against Houston.
James McDonald (8-3) pitched seven effective innings for the Pirates, who won for the fifth time in six games.
Limited to one hit over the first three innings by Jordan Lyles, the first five Pirates to bat in the fourth had hits, highlighted by Jones’ two-run homer and Walker’s solo shot.
Jones finished with four hits and four RBIs, and Andrew McCutchen also went 4 for 5 for the Pirates, whose 16-5 home record since May 12 is the best in the majors.