The Yankees aren't gaining much ground on the Red Sox, but they're making strides against everybody else.
Hideki Matsui hit his 100th major league home run, Mike Mussina won his third straight start and the Yankees closed within a half-game of AL wild-card leader Detroit with an 8-5 victory over the Kansas City on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees, 9 1/2 games back in the wild-card race after play on July 7, wrapped up a 5-1 homestand and improved to 18-7 since the All-Star break. They have scored 102 runs in their last eight games in the Bronx, moving 11 games over .500 for the first time this year.
``I think everybody overall is just starting to hit well,'' Matsui said through a translator, ``And I think that's contributing to our ability to score runs.''
The Yankees still trail AL East-leading Boston by seven games, after the Red Sox pounded Seattle 9-2 on Sunday. The Mariners also are a half-game behind Detroit, which has lost nine of its last 10 and looks very little like the team that had baseball's best record on July 21.
``We're just in a funk right now,'' said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, whose team lost 3-1 to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. ``You just have to play your way through it. ... The manager's responsible for the performance of the team, and right now I stink.''
In other AL games, it was Minnesota 1, Cleveland 0; Toronto 4, Texas 1; Baltimore 11, Tampa Bay 3; and the Los Angeles Angels 4, Oakland 3.
Mussina (7-7) allowed two runs and nine hits in six-plus innings to earn win No. 246, breaking a tie with Dennis Martinez for the most victories in major league history among pitchers without a 20-win season.
He departed after allowing a leadoff single to Joey Gathright in the seventh, and waved his hat toward the crowd as fans yelled ``Moose'' while he walked to the dugout.
``I'm glad that I can still go out there and still be successful,'' Mussina said. ``To pitch long enough to win almost 250 games now and not ever win 20 in a season, it's satisfying.''
Matsui led off the third inning with a drive to right that made it 5-0. Melky Cabrera led off the sixth with his seventh homer, and Matsui added a sacrifice fly to make it 8-2.
``Right now we'll be glad to get out of here,'' Royals manager Buddy Bell said. ``These guys are as hot as any team we've played all year.''
Gil Meche (7-9) gave up six runs, six hits and five walks in four-plus innings.
New York scored four runs off Meche in the second, a rally that started with two outs and nobody on. Cabrera had an RBI single, Derek Jeter walked with the bases loaded and Abreu drove in two runs with a single to center.
``It was a bad inning,'' Meche said. ``It just got away from me. I couldn't get the ball down and I couldn't throw strikes.''
Red Sox 9, Mariners 2
At Seattle, Manny Ramirez homered and drove in two, Josh Beckett struck out nine and Boston won for the fourth time in five games.
Beckett (14-5) repeatedly escaped trouble to join C.C. Sabathia and John Lackey for the AL lead in wins. had lost three of his four decisions since the All-Star break
The Red Sox had nine baserunners in the first three innings as Miguel Batista (11-8) walked five, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
White Sox 3, Tigers 1
At Detroit, All six of the White Sox hits went for extra bases, backing a strong performance from young Gavin Floyd (1-1) as Chicago completed a three-game sweep.
Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 32nd save. He's retired 32 straight batters.
Detroit right-hander Jordan Tata (1-1) went five innings and gave up all three runs. He walked four in his second major league start.
Orioles 11, Devil Rays 3
At St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP) - Erik Bedard (12-4) overcame a slow start to win his career-best eighth consecutive decision, and the Orioles improved to 14-8 since the All-Star break.
Miguel Tejada, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora homered for Baltimore.
Tejada hit a solo homer and Nick Markakis had a two-run single in the fourth off Andy Sonnanstine (1-7) as the Orioles turned a two-run deficit into a four-run lead.
Twins 1, Indians 0
At Minneapolis, Scott Baker (6-4) allowed four hits in eight innings, retiring 19 of his last 22 batters as the Twins closed within 4 1/2 games of first place for the first time since May 10. Joe Nathan finished the five-hitter for his 26th save in 28 chances.
Fausto Carmona (13-6) lost his second straight start after winning five in a row.
Blue Jays 4, Rangers 1
At Toronto, Matt Stairs doubled three times and drove in two runs, and Dustin McGowan (8-5) won his third straight decision as the Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep.
Jeremy Accardo closed it out for his 20th save in 24 chances.
Brandon McCarthy (5-8) allowed two runs in six innings to lose for the first time in three starts.
Angels 4, Athletics 3
At Oakland, Calif., Garret Anderson had three RBIs and Casey Kotchman drove in the go-ahead run off Kiko Calero (1-5) in the seventh for the Angels.
John Lackey (14-6) moved into a tie for the major league lead in wins after giving up three runs on nine hits over 6 2-3 innings. Francisco Rodriguez gave up a pair of two-out walks before retiring Mark Ellis for his 27th save in 30 chances.
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