Derek Jeter homered on the first pitch he faced to give the Yankees a jolt on his return from the disabled list, while Alfonso Soriano made the captain a winner with a game-ending single that lifted New York over the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Playing with Jeter for the first time since being reacquired by New York from the Cubs on Friday, Soriano homered among his first four hits with the Yankees and drove in three runs.
Jeter was activated from the disabled list for the second time this month and connected against Matt Moore, sending a drive to right-center that ended the Yankees’ nine-game homerless drought. He went two-for-four and scored twice.
Brett Gardner drew a leadoff walk from Jake McGee (2-3) in the ninth. McGee then switched belts on his uniform before facing Jeter, threw a wild pitch and received a visit from manager Joe Maddon.
The decision: walk Jeter intentionally.
After Robinson Cano struck out, Soriano hit a liner to center field for the win. He was mobbed by his teammates and doused with a liquid during a post-game interview.
Mariano Rivera (2-2), the Yankees’ fourth reliever, got three groundball outs in the ninth.
RED SOX 5, ORIOLES 0
In Baltimore, Maryland, Jon Lester allowed four hits over seven innings and David Ortiz went four-for-four with his 20th home run as Boston earned their first series win over Baltimore in two years.
Mike Napoli had two doubles and an RBI for the Red Sox, who took two of three in the duel between AL East foes. Boston had lost six straight series to Baltimore since a four-game sweep in July 2011.
All four hits against Lester (10-6) were singles. He struck out eight, walked two and did not allow a runner past second base. The right-hander improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 15-2, although he lost his previous two decisions against them.
On Saturday night, Ortiz shattered the casing of two dugout telephones after being ejected from the game. On Sunday, he put his bat to better use.
Ortiz hit a two-run shot off Jason Hammel (7-8) in the third inning to put Boston up 3-0. Big Papi has 12 consecutive 20-homer seasons, the last 11 with Boston. Only Ted Williams, with 16, had more as a member of the Red Sox.
INDIANS 6, RANGERS 0
In Cleveland, Ohio, Ubaldo Jimenez pitched eight scoreless innings as Cleveland shut out Texas for the second straight game.
Jason Kipnis’ two-out single in the fifth broke a scoreless tie. Yan Gomes’ RBI single and Michael Bourn’s two-run double added three runs in the sixth as the Indians, who have won four straight, completed their first three-game sweep at home over Texas since Aug. 12 to Aug. 14, 1980.
Jimenez (8-5) allowed two hits and matched his longest outing of the season. Vinnie Pestano pitched the ninth as the Indians recorded their major league-leading 14th shutout.
The Rangers are 2-8 since the All-Star break.
Kipnis’ single came off Alexi Ogando (4-3), who allowed one run in 4-2/3 innings.
In other AL action, it was:
‧ Blue Jays 2, Astros 1
‧ Royals 4, White Sox 2
‧ Mariners 6, Twins 4
‧ Athletics 10, Angels 6
AP, LOS ANGELES
Yasiel Puig homered with two outs in the 11th inning to give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Cincinnati pitchers set a franchise record with 20 strikeouts, 11 by starter Tony Cingrani. He held Los Angeles to one hit over seven innings.
Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Tim Federowicz each fanned three times as the Dodgers established a team high since 1900.
Puig connected against Curtis Partch (0-1) for his 10th home run and 23rd RBI in 48 big league games. The excitable rookie tossed his bat, circled the bases and then slid into home plate, where teammates were waiting for him after his first game-ending homer.
The NL West leaders won for the 26th time in 32 games and extended their advantage to 2.5 games over Arizona. Brandon League (6-3) pitched two hitless innings for the win.
In other NL action, it was:
‧ Braves 5, Cardinals 2
‧ Marlins 3, Pirates 2
‧ Cubs 2, Giants 1
‧ Nationals 14, Mets 1
‧ Rockies 6, Brewers 5
‧ Padres 1, Diamondbacks 0
In interleague play, it was:
‧ Tigers 12, Phillies 4