|Gagne blows lead for Boston, Yanks trim deficit to 4 games|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 12 August 2007 22:00|
Kevin Millar hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning after Miguel Tejada tied it with a shot off Gagne in the eighth, leading the Baltimore Orioles past the skidding Red Sox 6-3 Sunday at Camden Yards.
It was the fourth loss in six games for the Red Sox, whose lead over the second-place Yankees in the AL East shrunk to four games - Boston's smallest margin since May 1.
``I'm not doing my job right now. I'm letting everybody here down,'' Gagne said. ``I need to step up my game.''
Obtained from Texas on July 31 to fortify the bullpen, Gagne endured another damaging performance. Trying to hold a 3-1 lead in the eighth, the right-hander entered with a runner on and promptly yielded a tying home run to Tejada on a 3-2 pitch.
Gagne retired the next two batters, but he has allowed seven runs in four innings over five games. On Friday, the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner blew a four-run lead in a 6-5 defeat.
``We should have won three games out of three and I ... blew two of them,'' Gagne said in a profanity-laced rant. ``They brought me in to do a job and I'm not doing it. It's ridiculous. These guys play eight great innings and I go out there and blow it. It's a shame.''
Boston's loss was especially costly because the surging Yankees kept right on rolling with a 5-3 victory in Cleveland.
Andy Pettitte (9-7) carried a shutout into the seventh and Jason Giambi homered for the second consecutive day as New York completed a series - and season - sweep of the Indians (6-0).
Written off in May when they trailed first-place Boston by 14 1/2 games, the Yankees are the closest they've been to the top of the AL East standings since April 24.
``We've come full circle,'' said Pettitte, 5-1 in his last seven starts. ``We were just struggling in all aspects of the game a few months ago. It was no fun losing. There's not a whole lot to complain about right now.''
Elsewhere in the AL, Magglio Ordonez homered twice in one inning for Detroit in an 11-6 victory over Oakland, and brothers Jeff and Jered Weaver each earned a win on the mound. White Sox closer Bobby Jenks tied the major league record of 41 straight batters retired.
Other final scores were Seattle 6, Chicago 0; Los Angeles 6, Minnesota 2; Toronto 4, Kansas City 1; and Texas 9, Tampa Bay 1.
The Yankees have won eight of nine are a major league-best 23-8 since the All-Star break.
Giambi connected for a two-run homer off Jake Westbrook (3-7) and Melky Cabrera added a solo shot for the Yankees.
Mariano Rivera, called on to work out of a jam in the eighth, gave up three hits in the ninth as the Indians pulled to 5-3. But with runners at second and third, Rivera struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore before getting Casey Blake on a routine fly for his 19th straight save.
The slumping Indians fell out of first place in the AL Central, dropping a half-game behind Detroit.
``It's tough,'' Blake said. ``Confidence is a big part of this game and the guys in this clubhouse don't have a lot of confidence right now. When things aren't going your way, it's tough to maintain that edge.''
At Baltimore, Corey Patterson led off the 10th with a single off Kyle Snyder (2-3) and went to third on a single by Nick Markakis. After Tejada fouled out, Markakis stole second and Millar hit a 2-2 pitch into the left-field seats.
Chad Bradford (1-4) got two outs for the win.
Boston starter Curt Schilling left with a 3-1 lead after six innings and was in position to earn his first victory since June 7. Instead, he got a no-decision in his second start since spending more than six weeks on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis.
``They're playing a whole lot better than we are right now. It's that simple,'' Schilling said about the Yankees. ``They're winning and we're not. But the answers are here in this room, and we're going to find them.''
Tigers 11, Athletics 6
At Detroit, Ordonez hit two homers in an eight-run second inning and the Tigers won consecutive games for only the second time since mid-July.
The All-Star slugger joined Hall of Famer Al Kaline as the only Tigers to homer twice in one inning. Kaline did it in 1955 against the Kansas City Athletics.
Detroit's Placido Polanco tied a major league record by playing his 143rd consecutive game without an error at second base. Luis Castillo set the mark for second basemen from May 30, 2006, to June 5, 2007, with Minnesota.
Mariners 6, White Sox 0
At Chicago, Jeff Weaver (4-10) pitched his second shutout this season and Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer.
Jose Guillen and Richie Sexson also homered for the Mariners, who have won 11 of 15 and lead the wild-card race by a percentage point over the Yankees.
Jenks pitched a perfect ninth for the White Sox, breaking David Wells' AL record and tying the major league mark of 41 consecutive batters retired. Jim Barr also set down 41 straight for San Francisco in 1972.
Angels 6, Twins 2
At Anaheim, Calif., Jered Weaver (8-5) pitched effectively into the eighth inning and the Angels got home runs from Chone Figgins and Jeff Mathis to complete a three-game sweep.
Blue Jays 4, Royals 1
At Kansas City, Mo., A.J. Burnett (6-6) came off the disabled list and pitched three-hit ball for 7 1-3 innings in his first outing since June 28.
Rangers 9, Devil Rays 1
At Arlington, Texas, Michael Young hit his 100th career homer, Marlon Byrd had a two-run single and Willie Eyre threw 3 2-3 scoreless innings of emergency relief to lead Texas.
Eyre (4-5) came in when rookie left-hander Kason Gabbard left the game with a stiff left forearm after throwing only one pitch in the second.
Byrd's single in the third made it 2-0. After Young led off the fifth with his sixth homer of the season to make it 4-0, Byrd had a double that chased Jason Hammel (1-2).