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 Zero after zero, the Texas Rangers' pitching staff just keeps putting them on the scoreboard. Tampa Bay's James Shields knows something about that, too - he put up nine all by himself.
Scott Feldman, Jamey Wright and two other Texas relievers combined on a four-hitter for the Rangers' third straight shutout - a 4-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night - while the Shields pitched a one-hitter to give the Rays a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
That game was zeros all around until the very end, when highly touted rookie Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to send the Rays to their 11th win in 16 games.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have won four straight and 10 of 14 to escape last place in the AL West.
``If we pitch and catch the ball the way we are now, our offense will put enough up there for us to be successful,'' said manager Ron Washington, whose job no longer seems to be in immediate jeopardy.
In Friday night's other AL games, it was: Minnesota 7, Boston 6; Cleveland 6, Toronto 1; Detroit 6, New York 5; Baltimore 7, Kansas City 4; and Chicago 4, Seattle 2.
In St. Petersburg, Fla., Shields (4-2) rebounded from the second-shortest outing of his career for his second shutout in his past three starts.
The 26-year-old right-hander limited the Angels to Brandon Wood's one-out single in the third and retired the last 17 batters he faced after hitting Erick Aybar with a pitch in the fourth.
Thanks to some nice plays behind him, including Carl Crawford's diving catch in the gap to rob Mike Napoli of an extra-base hit in the third, Shields faced 28 batters - one over the minimum and a Rays record for a complete game.
``Spectacular,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ``Just totally in command.''
The same could be said of the Rangers' pitchers, a mostly unheralded bunch (quick, name a few) that nevertheless hasn't allowed a run in 31 innings.
``You're not worried about breaking the streak, but it is contagious,'' said Feldman (1-1), who pitched six innings. ``You see other guys going out there, how they pitch, how they attack the hitters, and try and do the same thing.''
Wright took over from Feldman and tossed a perfect seventh in Arlington. Joaquin Benoit and C.J. Wilson - the normal eighth- and ninth-inning guys - finished it off.
Brandon Boggs, playing only his 11th major league game, went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.
Florida was the last major league team with three consecutive shutouts, in August 2005. The last American League team to do it was Minnesota in July 2004.
The only time Texas pitchers have had a longer scoreless streak was in April 1981, when they had a record 39 in a row during a span of four consecutive shutouts. That is also the only other time the Rangers had more than two shutouts in a row until now.
``You want to come in and keep the momentum going,'' Wright said. ``You really want to be in there right now.''
Twins 7, Red Sox 6
In Minneapolis, Mike Lamb hit a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth against Jonathan Papelbon (2-2).
Lamb, in his first season with the Twins, entered the game batting .207. Jesse Crain (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth, negating a big hit by Mike Lowell in the fifth.
Indians 6, Blue Jays 1
In Cleveland, Casey Blake and Ben Francisco hit two-run doubles in a six-run seventh inning to help C.C. Sabathia and Cleveland defeat Roy Halladay and Toronto in a duel of Cy Young Award winners.
Sabathia (2-5) struck out nine over seven innings. The reigning AL Cy Young winner gave up six hits, walked two and won for the first time in five decisions at home this season.
Halladay (3-5), the 2003 Cy Young winner, lost for the fourth time in five starts and fell to 5-1 in his career against Cleveland.
Tigers 6, Yankees 5
In Detroit, Kenny Rogers pitched six-plus innings and the Tigers beat the Yankees again.
Rogers (3-3) held the Yankees to two runs on nine hits and picked Wilson Betemit off first base in the second inning, giving him the big league record with 92 career pickoffs. The stat has been kept since 1974.
Detroit won for the second time in eight games since sweeping the Yankees in a three-game series in New York.
Orioles 7, Royals 4
In Kansas City, Mo., Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora homered and Steve Trachsel got his first victory since April 4, leading Baltimore to its 11th straight win over the Royals.
Huff hit a three-run homer with two out in the fifth to snap a 2-2 tie.
Trachsel (2-4), who was winless in his last five starts, gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
White Sox 4, Mariners 2
In Seattle, Jose Contreras (3-3) gave up one run and six hits in seven innings for Chicago, which won for just the third time in 10 games.
Bobby Jenks allowed a solo home run to rookie Wladimir Balentien in the ninth but still got his seventh save in nine chances.
Seattle slugger Richie Sexson went 0-for-4 hours after Major League Baseball suspended him six games for charging the mound Thursday and throwing his helmet at Texas' Kason Gabbard. Sexson is appealing the suspension.
The Mariners have lost nine of 10.
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