|Cleveland builds on lead in AL Central, beating Detroit in 10 innings|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 23 August 2007 21:33|
Pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton's infield single off Joel Zumaya broke a scoreless tie with two outs in the 10th inning, and the Indians went on to beat Detroit 3-1 on Thursday night to move 2 1/2 games ahead of the Tigers in the division.
Cleveland won the three-game series and built its biggest cushion since it was ahead by three games on July 3.
``These types of series really test you,'' Indians manager Eric Wedge said. ``I'm really pleased with the way our guys competed.''
Trailing 3-0 in the 10th, the Tigers' Marcus Thames hit an RBI double with two outs off Joe Borowski, putting a pair of runners in scoring position, but Ivan Rodriguez popped up to end the game.
The Indians and Tigers are scheduled to play only one more series, a three-game set Sept. 17-19 in Cleveland. With Seattle and New York playing well in the wild-card race, they might be competing for only one spot in the postseason.
Since Detroit had the best record in the majors and a two-game lead in the division on July 21, the Tigers are 10-22 and have lost five of their last six.
``I don't really worry about that,'' said Detroit manager Jim Leyland, whose club hasn't won a series since mid-July. ``The issue is to win games.
``If you sit around and stare at the standings and don't do anything about it, you've got problems.''
In other AL games, it was Toronto 5, Los Angeles 4; Seattle 9, Texas 4; Minnesota 5, Baltimore 2; and Oakland 12, Tampa Bay 2. The game between Boston and the White Sox was postponed due to strong storms in Chicago, and will be made up as part of a split doubleheader Friday starting at 2:05 p.m. EDT.
Westbrook continued his recent string of outstanding starts, allowing five hits and two walks - one intentional - over eight innings. He is 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in August after starting the season 1-6.
Robertson was just as good, giving up four hits and no walks in a season-high 8 2-3 innings.
``Robertson was as good as we've seen him and he's been good against us a few times. He took it to another level,'' Wedge said. ``Jake was right there with him against that lineup and in their backyard.''
A sold-out crowd gave Robertson a standing ovation as he walked to the dugout after giving up a double to Grady Sizemore.
Zumaya (1-2) left Sizemore stranded, but gave up a leadoff double to Victor Martinez and intentionally walked Travis Hafner in the 10th. After Jhonny Peralta drew a four-pitch walk, Franklin Gutierrez struck out and Lofton came through with the go-ahead hit.
Chris Gomez followed with a two-run single.
``The killer was the Gomez hit,'' Leyland said.
Rafael Perez (1-1) got the win, his first in the majors. He struck out the only batter he faced, fanning Curtis Granderson after the Tigers put two on with two outs in the ninth against Rafael Betancourt. Borowski got his 36th save in 41 chances.
``We get the pitching one night, and we don't get the hitting. Then, we have the pitching and not the hitting,'' Granderson said. ``We just have to put it together.''
Blue Jays 5, Angels 4
At Anaheim, Calif., Jesse Litsch (5-6) scattered six hits and pitched into the seventh inning, as the Blue Jays trimmed the Angels' AL West lead to a game over Seattle.
Matt Stairs doubled home a pair of runs and scored another as Toronto came from behind with a three-run fifth inning against Ervin Santana (5-12). Jeremy Accardo pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances, and has not allowed a run in his last 10 games.
Vladimir Guerrero hit a pair of solo homers after an RBI groundout in the first inning.
Mariners 9, Rangers 4
At Arlington, Texas, Ichiro Suzuki hit a three-run double and Seattle also got homers from Jose Guillen and Jose Vidro during a seven-run sixth inning.
Jeff Weaver (6-10) won his fourth straight start in August for the Mariners, who are 18-7 since a seven-game losing streak last month. Seattle has a two-game lead over the idle New York Yankees in the AL wild-card standings.
A night after scoring 30 runs against Baltimore, Texas didn't give much support to Kameron Loe (6-10), who fell to 1-4 in his last six starts.
Twins 5, Orioles 2
At Baltimore, Boof Bonser (6-10) pitched seven innings of three-hit ball to earn his first win since June 10, and Minnesota took advantage of shoddy fielding by Baltimore.
Steve Trachsel (6-8) took a three-hitter and a 1-0 lead into the eighth inning, but the Twins capitalized on three walks and two errors to score four runs. Matt Guerrier pitched two innings to earn his first save.
Athletics 12, Devil Rays 2
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Mike Piazza hit his 424th homer and drove in a season-best five runs to power surging Oakland past Tampa Bay for its fifth straight victory.
Chad Gaudin (10-9) allowed one run over seven innings and set a career high with 10 strikeouts. Jack Cust hit a two-run homer off Jason Hammel (1-4) for the Athletics, who moved over .500 for the first time since July 7. Oakland's winning streak matches a season high.