Paul Byrd was far more impressed with his teammates than his control. Byrd won his fourth straight decision, Casey Blake and Victor Martinez hit 1st-inning homers and the Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 7-4 on Friday night.
``This game wasn't about my pitching,'' he said. ``This game was about Jason Michaels making a catch like Superman against the left-field wall, about three guys hitting homers, and about our great bullpen.''
Byrd (5-1) threw 60 strikes in 73 pitches, a ratio that he thought was too good. He allowed 4 runs and 9 hits in 6 1-3 innings to improve to 4-0 in his last six starts. He struck out 4, and didn't issue a walk for the fifth straight start.
``Normally, throwing strikes isn't a problem,'' Byrd said. ``But I was throwing hittable pitches when I was already ahead in the count. Against a team like Detroit, that's like flicking matches at gasoline. I wouldn't have slept 15 minutes if we had lost this one, as well as everyone else played.''
In other AL games, it was: Boston 10, Texas 6; Los Angeles 10, New York 6; Minnesota 4, Toronto 3; Oakland 3, Baltimore 2; Seattle 10, Kansas City 2; Chicago 5, Tampa Bay 4.
At Detroit, Josh Barfield also hit a 2-run homer for Cleveland.
The game was the first of seven between the AL Central's top teams in the next 10 days. The Indians' victory gave them a half-game lead over Detroit.
``This was a nice game,'' Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. ``We had a lot of good things happen tonight.''
Michaels reached well above the left-field fence in the 3rd to deny Craig Monroe a 3-run homer. Monroe hit a ball just a little higher in the seventh for his sixth of the season.
Nate Robertson (4-4) went 5 2-3 innings for the Tigers, giving up 5 runs, 10 hits and 3 walks.
Red Sox 10, Rangers 6
Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka earned his seventh win of the season despite leaving after 5 innings with a case of nausea.
Matsuzaka (7-2) gave up home runs to Frank Catalanotto and Ramon Vazquez in a 5-run 4th that put host Texas ahead 5-4. Matsuzaka struggled in the 5th, allowing the first two batters to reach base, before getting Sammy Sosa to ground into a double play and striking out Catalanotto to end the inning.
The visiting Red Sox scored 2 in the 5th off reliever Wes Littleton (0-1) to take the lead and added 4 in the 6th to give Matsuzaka a win in his fourth straight start.
Angels 10, Yankees 6
Casey Kotchman and Chone Figgins homered and Vladimir Guerrero doubled twice as visiting Los Angeles had 8 extra-base hits to support an unsteady Jered Weaver (4-3).
The Angels are the only AL team to hold an edge over New York since Joe Torre became its manager before the 1996 season. The Angels are 56-52 against the Yankees in the regular season _ they've also beaten them twice in the playoffs.
Alex Rodriguez hit his major league-leading 19th home run for New York. Rookie Tyler Clippard (1-1) went 4 innings, allowing 3 runs and 6 hits.
Twins 4, Blue Jays 3
At Minneapolis, Torii Hunter followed a 2-out fielding error by Toronto reliever Scott Downs with an RBI single in the 7th inning, sending Minnesota to the victory.
Toronto's Frank Thomas went deep for the second straight day, tying the score 3-3 in the 6th with home run No. 494 to move past Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff into sole possession of 21st place on baseball's career list.
Justin Morneau hit a weak dribbler in front of the mound that Downs (1-1) fumbled when he tried to pick it up with his bare hand. Luis Castillo moved to 3rd on the error and scored on Hunter's single.
Matt Guerrier (1-1) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings to get the win and Joe Nathan worked the 9th for his 10th save.
Athletics 3, Orioles 2
Dan Haren pitched 7 innings for his fifth straight victory and Nick Swisher hit a 2-run homer to help Oakland get its 14th win in its last 16 games at Camden Yards.
Haren (5-2) allowed 2 hits and 1 run to improve to 5-0 in his last eight starts and lowered his ERA to 1.70. Alan Embree struck out Jay Gibbons with runners on the corners and 2 outs to earn his second save.
Erik Bedard (3-3) yielded six hits and 3 runs _ 2 earned _ in 7 innings. He struck out 8 to take over the AL lead with 83.
Mariners 10, Royals 2
Ichiro Suzuki and Jose Vidro homered and visiting Seattle hit 7 doubles in a game that featured both starters leaving with stiff lower backs.
Felix Hernandez (3-2) pitched 5 1-3 innings for the Mariners, allowing 2 runs and 7 hits. He gave up an RBI triple to Shane Costa and a run-scoring double to Alex Gordon in the 6th and left with tightness in his lower back, which was also what the Royals announced about Gil Meche when he left in the 5th.
Meche (3-3) gave up 11 hits and 7 runs in 4 1-3 innings. His ERA climbed from 2.44, third-best in the league, to 3.18.
Suzuki, stretching his hitting streak to 18 games, homered on Meche's second pitch. He and Vidro had RBI singles in the 18-hit attack.
White Sox 5, Devil Rays 4
Joe Crede's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the 9th inning lifted host Chicago to its fourth win in five games.
Tampa Bay's Chad Orvella (0-2) pitched a scoreless 8th but left after walking Tadahito Iguchi and Jim Thome to start the 9th. Brian Stokes came in and struck out Jermaine Dye, but A.J. Pierzynski singled to right to load the bases. Crede then drove in Iguchi with a fly to left on the first pitch.
Bobby Jenks (2-1) pitched a perfect 9th to get the win.
Elijah Dukes, back in the lineup after missing two games amid allegations by his estranged wife that he threatened to kill her and their two young children, hit a 3-run homer for the Devil Rays.