The last few innings were just as costly to the New York Yankees as they were to the Seattle Mariners. Maybe more so.
Alex Rodriguez turned an ankle in the seventh and Chien-Ming Wang walked off the mound gingerly with a stiff lower back an inning later, in the midst of a run-scoring barrage that sent the wild card-leading Yankees to a 12-3 victory over the Mariners on Tuesday night.
Wang smothered Seattle to get his 17th win and tie Boston's Josh Beckett for the major league lead. Jorge Posada homered twice, and A-Rod and Bobby Abreu also homered for New York - with Rodriguez hitting a rare drive into the left-field upper deck.
Rodriguez was hurt during a seven-run seventh inning, when he slid into Adrian Beltre. The Seattle third baseman toppled backward, turning A-Rod's ankle. Rodriguez came out at the end of the inning, and postgame X-rays were negative.
``It's a little sore right now,'' said Rodriguez, who was uncertain whether he'd be available to play Wednesday night. ``I'll see how I feel in the morning.''
The injury to Wang is particularly troublesome because fellow Yankees starter Roger Clemens was already scheduled to receive a cortisone shot Wednesday for his sore right elbow.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said the wait to come back during New York's big seventh likely contributed to Wang's tightness. But Wang said he was confident he'd be ready for his next turn in the rotation. Because of two off days, he isn't scheduled to pitch again until next week at Toronto.
In other AL games, it was Boston 5, Toronto 3; the Los Angeles Angels 4, Oakland 3; Cleveland 7, Minnesota 5; the Chicago White Sox 3, Detroit 1; Baltimore 8, Tampa Bay 4; and Texas 9, Kansas City 8.
Posada, Abreu and Robinson Cano had four hits each for the Yankees, who had 20 hits and broke open the game with three runs in the sixth and seven more in the seventh to make it 11-1.
With a victory in Wednesday's series finale, New York would open a three-game wild-card lead with 3 1/2 weeks to play. New York had lost three of four since sweeping Boston.
Seattle lost for the 10th time in 11 games and was ensured of leaving town trailing the Yankees.
``We just got to bounce back (Wednesday),'' manager John McLaren said. ``Two out, and all we need to do is get that streak we're looking for, get that streak at the right time.''
Wang (17-6) allowed one run and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, throwing just 86 pitches. Inducing inning-ending, double-play grounders in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, Wang improved to 8-2 when pitching following Yankees' losses this season. He has won his last six starts in that situation, and is 6-0 against the Mariners in his career.
Beltre ended Wang's shutout bid with a seventh-inning homer - only the second by a right-handed hitter against Wang this year and the first he allowed to a right-hander at Yankee Stadium since Florida's Miguel Olivo connected on June 23, 2006.
Posada put the Yankees ahead with a leadoff homer in the second off Horacio Ramirez (8-5), and Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 46th homer to make it 2-0 in the sixth, a drive that landed about seven rows deep in the upper deck.
``It doesn't matter where it lands,'' Rodriguez said. ``It only counts for one run.''
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
At Boston, Josh Beckett matched the Yankees' Wang for the major league lead by winning his 17th game, and rookie Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits to help the Red Sox beat Roy Halladay (14-7) and the Blue Jays.
Boston remained seven games ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East.
Beckett (17-6) gave up a three-run homer to Matt Stairs in the fifth, but retired the last eight batters he faced before Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.
Angels 4, Athletics 3
At Anaheim, Calif., Garret Anderson and Howie Kendrick hit two-run homers to back Jered Weaver (11-6), and the Angels beat the Athletics to pad their lead in the AL West to 7 1/2 games over Seattle.
Anderson hit his 14th homer and eighth in a span of 14 games, a towering drive into the right-field seats off Lenny DiNardo (8-8). Anderson has 26 RBIs during that stretch.
Indians 7, Twins 5
At Minneapolis, Travis Hafner hit two home runs and the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 11th inning, making a winner of Rafael Betancourt (4-0).
Franklin Gutierrez led off the inning with a walk from Julio DePaula (0-1). After the bases were loaded, Hafner hit a ball to the warning track to tie the game, and Victor Martinez had an RBI single. Joe Borowski worked a perfect 11th inning for his 40th save in 46 chances.
White Sox 3, Tigers 1
At Detroit, Josh Fields and Alex Cintron homered, and Jon Garland (9-10) scattered seven hits over seven innings as the White Sox beat the Tigers.
Jeremy Bonderman (11-8) allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings for the Tigers, who trail Cleveland by seven games in the AL Central and the Yankees by 3 1/2 games in the wild-card race.
Orioles 8, Devil Rays 4
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Melvin Mora drove in the go-ahead run off Dan Wheeler (0-3) in the eighth inning and Ramon Hernandez followed with a three-run double for the Orioles.
Chad Bradford (3-6) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win.
Rangers 9, Royals 8
At Arlington, Texas, Ian Kinsler reached base off Leo Nunez (2-3) and raced home with the go-ahead run on a throwing error in the seventh inning for the Rangers.
John Rheinecker (2-1) pitched a perfect seventh to earn the victory, and C.J. Wilson yielded a run while getting the last two outs for his 11th save in 12 chances.

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