|Yankees close in on AL wild card as slumping Tigers get swept|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 05 August 2007 21:29|
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.