Clayton Kershaw allowed just three hits over eight innings and hit a two-run single as the Los Angeles Dodgers increased their National League West lead to a season-best 7.5 games on Sunday night with an 8-2 interleague victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Mark Ellis had a home run and three RBIs to help Los Angeles improve to a major league-best 37-8 since June 22, a stretch that has dramatically turned around their season after they trailed the Arizona Diamondbacks by as many as 9.5 games. The Dodgers are a season-best 17 games over .500.
In New York, Mariano Rivera blew a third straight save for the first time in his career before Brett Gardner homered with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the New York Yankees over the Detroit Tigers 5-4 for their first series win in more than a month.
Rivera (3-2) gave up another homer to a limping Miguel Cabrera and a drive to Victor Martinez in the top of the ninth, tying it at 4-4 and turning Alex Rodriguez’s first homer of the season into a footnote.
Also in the AL, James Shields earned his first home win in more than three months and Alex Gordon homered as the Kansas City Royals beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3.
The Royals improved to 18 wins and five losses since the All-Star break, winning seven consecutive series.
Texas pitcher Martin Perez allowed four hits for his first career complete game, leading the Rangers past the Houston Astros 6-1 for their seventh straight victory.
Chris Carter ruined Perez’s shutout bid with a home run with two outs in the ninth inning.
Alberto Callaspo hit a tie breaking two-run double in the eighth inning and Brandon Moss had a two-run homer as the Oakland Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3, the Cleveland Indians edged the Los Angeles Angels 6-5, the Seattle Mariners blanked the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 and the Minnesota Twins downed the Chicago White Sox 5-2.
In the NL, Stephen Strasburg pitched a four-hitter and struck out 10 batters in the first complete game of his career, and Jayson Werth had his second straight three-hit game as the Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep of Philadelphia with a 6-0 win over the Phillies.
Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer as the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 9-4, while Nolan Arenado hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning to lead the Colorado Rockies past the NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2.
The Cincinnati Reds edged the San Diego Padres 3-2 in the 13th inning, the St Louis Cardinals downed the Chicago Cubs 8-4, the Baltimore Orioles trounced the San Francisco Giants 10-2 and the New York Mets defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-5.