Johan Santana, Curt Schilling and Jonathan Papelbon were outstanding on the mound, while David Ortiz and Ivan Rodriguez came through with key home runs.
The big stars were at their best Sunday all around the American League.
In a dominant performance, Santana allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings and Justin Morneau’s three-run homer carried the visiting Minnesota Twins to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner struck out nine, walked three and retired his final 17 batters. He improved to 10-1 in his last 12 starts against Chicago. The lone hit off him was a bloop single by Joe Crede in the second, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen thinks he knows how to get to Santana.
“I’m going to call my mom in Venezuela to come here and cook for him,” Guillen said, joking. “We’ll poison him. If he eats what my mom cooks, he will be in trouble to pitch the next day.”
Schilling stayed out of trouble in Texas, bouncing back from a horrendous season debut to help Boston beat the Rangers 3-2 and avoid a series sweep.
Ortiz snapped out of a 2-for-18 slump with his first two home runs and Papelbon got five outs to make sure the Red Sox held on.
“He was devastating, and we needed every bit of that,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “What he did against the middle of their order, you’re not going to see that very often.”
At Kansas City, Mo., Rodriguez hit a three-run homer off David Riske in the ninth and the Detroit Tigers rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2.
“I thought Pudge was going to bunt and I threw him a fastball down the middle,” Riske said. “I’m thinking about trying to field the bunt and getting the next out instead of making a quality pitch, and it came back and bit me.”
In other AL games, it was: Baltimore 6, New York 4; Toronto 6, Tampa Bay 3; and Oakland 2, Los Angeles 1.
For the second day in a row, snow and cold weather at Jacobs Field forced a doubleheader between Seattle and Cleveland to be postponed. The Mariners and Indians will try to salvage half of their four-game series by playing two on Monday.
Rodriguez hit the first pitch from Riske (0-1) over the left-field fence after Magglio Ordonez led off the inning with a double and Carlos Guillen walked. It was the 20th career home run against the Royals for Rodriguez, who is a .352 hitter at Kauffman Stadium.
“That’s why you’ve got to play hard for 27 outs. Things can happen quickly,” Rodriguez said.
Fernando Rodney (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Todd Jones got his third save.
Rodriguez’s homer spoiled an excellent start by Royals right-hander Brandon Duckworth, who pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings. Mark Teahen homered and hit an RBI single off Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman, who struck out eight in six solid innings.
At Arlington, Texas, Ortiz hit a solo homer in the first inning and added a two-run shot in the third off Vicente Padilla (0-2) that put the Red Sox ahead to stay. It was his 27th career multihomer game.
Schilling (1-1) allowed one run and four hits over seven innings with six strikeouts and a walk. He retired his last 10 batters and the only Texas baserunner who got past first against him was Frank Catalanotto, who homered in the first inning.
“Coming off the heels of an outing that was not very Schilling-like, he gave us what we needed,” Francona said.
At Chicago, Morneau connected against rookie John Danks in the fourth, and that was enough for Santana (2-0). Joe Nathan earned his third save, completing the four-hitter.
Danks (0-1) was solid in his major league debut, allowing four hits in six innings while striking out six and walking two.
“If this kid throws the ball the way he did today, he’s going to have a real successful career,” Guillen said. “The thing I like about him is he never loses control; he wasn’t any different from spring training to today.”
Orioles 6, Yankees 4
Paul Bako put Baltimore ahead with his first home run since 2004, a three-run drive on a snowy afternoon in New York.
Erik Bedard (1-1) gave up a two-run homer to Alex Rodriguez in a three-run first and then rebounded to retire his next 11 batters and 20 of 22.
Andy Pettitte came in for just his second relief appearance since 1998 after Darrell Rasner (0-1) made it five flops in a row for New York’s starting rotation. Yankees nemesis Kevin Millar hit a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly, and New York made its eighth error in five games.
The Yankees put left fielder Hideki Matsui on the 15-day disabled with a strained left hamstring. Baltimore placed catcher Ramon Hernandez on the 15-day DL because of a strained left oblique.
Athletics 2, Angels 1
At Anaheim, Calif., Joe Blanton (1-0) beat Los Angeles for the first time in seven career decisions and Oakland got RBI doubles from Shannon Stewart and Nick Swisher to earn a four-game split.
The Athletics’ bullpen retired the final 11 Angels batters in order. Huston Street got three outs for his second save.
Kelvim Escobar (1-1) allowed two runs in six innings for the Angels. This was the 21st one-run game between the teams during their last 42 meetings.
Blue Jays 6, Devil Rays 3
Roy Halladay won for the first time in eight starts since Aug. 20 and Reed Johnson hit a three-run homer for visiting Toronto.
Halladay (1-0) gave up three runs, seven hits and three walks in seven innings. He struck out seven. Vernon Wells also homered for the Blue Jays. Casey Janssen pitched two innings for his first career save.
Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir (0-1) struck out 10 in seven innings. He allowed four runs and six hits with two walks. Rocco Baldelli had a solo homer.
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