Tigers Build Momentum
The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox are both streaking into the All-Star break - in dramatically different directions.
Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames all homered off Daisuke Matsuzaka, and the Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
The Tigers enter the break after winning five straight and 14 of 19, moving a game ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central.
The Red Sox were a season-high 22 games over .500 on June 24 but have lost eight of 13 since. Boston, which still has a 10-game lead on the Yankees and Blue Jays in the AL East, has also lost six straight road games.
``I'm not thrilled,'' manager Terry Francona said.
Matsuzaka (10-6) allowed six runs and 10 hits in five innings, which equaled his shortest start in his first major league season. He had given up just two runs in his previous four starts and hadn't lost since June 10.
``The problem was with my control,'' Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. ``I felt I left a lot of my pitches in soft locations.''
Nate Robertson (5-6) allowed four runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. Boston scored two runs in the third inning off him on three walks, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly.
Jose Capellan pitched 1 1-3 innings, Zach Miner got the final out of the eighth and Todd Jones earned his 22nd save.
In other AL games Sunday, it was New York 12, Los Angeles 0; Chicago 6, Minnesota 3; Toronto 1, Cleveland 0; Kansas City 12, Tampa Bay 4; Texas 2, Baltimore 1; and Seattle 7, Oakland 3.
In other news, Mark Buehrle agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox, ending weeks of trade speculation. Buehrle is 6-4 this season with a 3.03 ERA.
After trailing 6-2, Boston scored twice in the seventh and once in the eighth to pull within a run of Detroit. With runners on first and third in the ninth against Jones, J.D. Drew fouled out to end the game.
Sheffield hit his 21st homer in the first inning and Guillen's 14th followed Thames' drive over the center-field wall in the third - a shot estimated at 440 feet.
``I haven't seen any go out there like that,'' manager Jim Leyland said. ``When he hits them up like that, it reminds me of Mark McGwire to be honest.''
Detroit committed a season-high five errors but center fielder Curtis Granderson turned in a sensational catch. Granderson sprinted to his right, leaped and snagged a ball - with his left armpit over the wall - to rob Wily Mo Pena of a homer in the fourth.
``If that's not a web gem, I've never seen one,'' Leyland said. ``Nobody makes a better play than that.''
Yankees 12, Angels 0
Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano hit three-run homers and host New York battered Ervin Santana (5-10) for nine runs and seven hits in three innings.
Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 30th homer and drove in four runs to back Chien-Ming Wang (9-4), who threw 6 1-3 scoreless innings for his sixth straight victory.
White Sox 6, Twins 3
Rob Mackowiak, Jim Thome and Paul Konerko homered during a five-run third inning to help Javier Vazquez (6-5) win his third straight start for host Chicago.
All three White Sox homers came off Carlos Silva (6-10).
Blue Jays 1, Indians 0
At Toronto, Alex Rios singled in the ninth inning off Rafael Betancourt, who came on in relief of Paul Byrd (7-4) after Reed Johnson's one-out double.
Blue Jays starter Josh Towers retired the first 17 batters he faced before Josh Barfield singled to left in the sixth. Jeremy Accardo (2-3) got two outs for the win.
Royals 12, Devil Rays 4
Light-hitting Tony Pena Jr. drove in four runs and Jorge De La Rosa (7-9) won his third consecutive start to send visiting Tampa Bay to its 13th loss in 14 games.
Scott Kazmir (5-6) gave up five runs - four earned - and seven hits. He struck out four and lasted only five innings, once again struggling with high pitch counts.
Rangers 2, Orioles 1
Kenny Lofton hit a tiebreaking homer, Kevin Millwood (6-7) won for the fourth time in five starts and host Texas remained unbeaten in seven consecutive series.
Lofton was 2-for-2 with two walks and scored both Texas runs. His sixth homer of the season was a two-out shot in the sixth off Daniel Cabrera (6-10) that snapped a 1-1 tie.
Mariners 7, Athletics 3
At Oakland, Calif., Jason Ellison started a four-run rally and then touched off a benches-clearing shoving match that led to the ejections of Athletics starter Joe Blanton (8-5) and Mariners pitcher Miguel Batista.
After a relay throw got by A's catcher Jason Kendall, Blanton shoved the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki, who had scored on the play. Ellison apparently took exception and the benches cleared.
Sean Green (2-1) got the win after pitching 1 2-3 scoreless innings of relief.
by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us
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