A-Rod, Yankees Stay Atop Wild Card

Thursday, September 6th 2007, 10:37 am
By: News On 6

The closest race in the American League is for the wild card. Alex Rodriguez pushed the Yankees further ahead in those standings by talking his way into the lineup and homering twice to help New York open a three-game lead on Seattle. Meanwhile, Detroit moved just a half-game further back with a big win over Chicago when Timo Perez singled off the right-center field wall with two outs in the 11th inning for a 2-1 Tigers win Wednesday night.

``It's a start,'' Detroit third baseman Brandon Inge said. ``When things have been going as badly for you as it has for us, you get a win against a team that has kind of dominated us, it's a little jump-start.''

The Tigers are 5-9 against the White Sox this year. In other encouraging news for the Tigers, Kenny Rogers returned from the disabled list with a solid start.

``I felt more comfortable on the mound than I expected to,'' said Rogers, who was 17-8 last year in his first season with the Tigers and 3-0 in the postseason when he didn't allow a run in 23 innings.

In other AL games, it was: Cleveland 6, Minnesota 2; Toronto 6, Boston 4; Tampa Bay 17, Baltimore 2; Oakland 6, Los Angeles 2; and Texas 3, Kansas City 2.

Inge doubled with two outs in the 11th off Heath Phillips (0-1), who was making his major league debut. Phillips intentionally walked Carlos Guillen, and Perez drove the next pitch off the fence to score Inge.

The drama in the Bronx was of a different sort. Despite being injured in a collision with Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre on Tuesday, Rodriguez told manager Joe Torre he could play.

Torre had imagined pinch-hitting duty at most for his star slugger. But he relented after meeting with Rodriguez and team trainers.

``He wanted to look at me in the eyes and make sure that I wasn't lying to him and do something stupid or silly,'' Rodriguez said. ``I told him I could give him some quality at-bats.''

With the Yankees trailing 2-1, Rodriguez hit a 3-2 fastball off Jarrod Washburn (9-13) into Monument Park in left-center leading off the seventh. After the Yankees took the lead, Rodriguez went deep off Brandon Morrow for a two-run homer. He then took his second curtain call of the inning.

Indians 6, Twins 2

In Minneapolis, Cleveland left the Twins barely clinging to their playoff hopes.

Victor Martinez had two hits and two RBIs to back a quality start from Fausto Carmona, and Cleveland got its second three-game sweep of the Twins in 10 games.

Carmona (15-8) allowed two runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings to help the AL Central leaders to their 11th win in 12 games.

Scott Baker (8-7) gave up three runs and 11 hits with six strikeouts in five innings.

Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4

At Boston, Vernon Wells broke out of a slump with a tiebreaking homer in the ninth and Toronto ended the host Red Sox's four-game winning streak.

Boston's lead in the AL East dropped to six games over the Yankees.

Jeremy Accardo (4-0) retired all five batters he faced after entering with one out in the eighth.

Devil Rays, 17 Orioles 2

In St. Petersburg, Fla., Carlos Pena homered twice, including a grand slam, and drove in a team-record seven runs.

Pena hit his fifth career grand slam and second this year, and Delmon Young had a three-run shot during an eight-run fourth. Pena added his 37th homer of the season, a two-run drive off Brian Burres in the sixth.

The Orioles have lost 13 of 15. Including the 30-3 loss on Aug. 22 to Texas, Baltimore has allowed at least eight runs in 10 of 15 games.

Athletics 6, Angels 2

In Anaheim, Calif., Joe Blanton settled down after a rocky start and Mark Ellis hit a three-run homer.

Donnie Murphy had a career-high three hits and two RBIs for Oakland, including a homer leading off the seventh inning to chase Joe Saunders (7-3). Ellis also singled in a run.

Blanton (12-9) gave up six hits with one walk and three strikeouts to win for the fourth time in five decisions.

Rangers 3, Royals 2

In Arlington, Texas, Vicente Padilla allowed two hits in six scoreless innings, and Hank Blalock had two hits and two RBIs.

Padilla (5-9) struck out five and walked two. Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in seven chances.

Royals starter Kyle Davies (2-4) allowed two runs _ one earned _ and three hits in five innings.