Major League Roundup

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 24, 2011

Associated Press
The Major League roundup …
WASHINGTON ó Chien-Ming Wang pitched six effective innings and drove in a run with his first career hit, leading Washington to the victory.
Atlanta lost for the 16th time in its last 26 games and is two games ahead of St. Louis for the NL wild card. The Braves play the Nationals again on Sunday, then close the season with three home games against Philadelphia.
Making his 11th start since returning from a two-year layoff following shoulder surgery, Wang (4-3) allowed one run and four hits, struck out four and walked none.
Wangís RBI single off Brandon Beachy (7-3) capped a three-run fourth that put the Nationals ahead 4-0.
Cardinals 2, Cubs 1
ST. LOUIS ó The Cardinals kept their faint wild-card hopes alive when Carlos Marmol forced home the tying run with a bases-loaded walk to Ryan Theriot with two outs in the ninth inning, then threw a game-ending wild pitch to give St. Louis a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
The Cardinals pulled within two games of wild card-leading Atlanta, which lost 4-1 to Washington. St. Louis plays the Cubs again Sunday, then closes with three games at Houston.
Mets 2, Phillies 1, 1st game
NEW YORK ó R.A. Dickey took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, David Wright hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth and the Mets handed the NL East champions their seventh straight loss.
Cole Hamels pitched seven sharp innings in a playoff tuneup for the Phillies, allowing only a pinch-hit homer by Valentino Pascucci that tied it in the seventh.
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1
NEW YORK ó Manager Terry Francona took input from his players in writing a revamped lineup and sent his ace to the mound. Yet the Boston Red Sox lost yet again.
David Ortiz has another idea.
ěWhat you got to do right now is laugh, just see if you can fool somebody,î the big designated hitter said.
Derek Jeter capped a six-run second inning with a three-run homer, rookie Jesus Montero had four RBIs in finishing a triple shy of the cycle and the New York Yankees stunned the reeling Red Sox early in a 9-1 victory Saturday.
Boston dropped to 4-15 since holding a nine-game lead over the Rays in the AL wild-card race heading into play Sept. 4. Tampa Bay closed within 1 1-2 games of Boston with a 6-2 win over Toronto.
Orioles 6, Tigers 5
DETROIT ó Jim Leyland would have loved to see Justin Verlander make a little more history on Saturday night.
In a way, though, heís happy he didnít.
Verlander allowed five runs in the first three innings, and ended up with a no-decision in Detroitís 6-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. That ended his winning streak at 12 straight and meant that he wonít be the first 25-game winner in more than 20 years.
Rays 6, Blue Jays 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó Johnny Damon found his power swing at the perfect time for Tampa Bay.
Damon hit a three-run homer Saturday night and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 to move within 11/2 games of Boston in the AL wild-card race.
ěI feel real good about our chances, and if we can somehow get to the playoffs with our pitching staff and our defense, we have a nice shot at winning,î Damon said.
Damon connected with two out in the eighth, giving the Rays a four-run lead. Damonís third hit of the game came after shortstop Mike McCoy mishandled Evan Longoriaís grounder for an error and Ben Zobrist flied out for the second out in the inning.
ěYou give a team an extra out, a lot of times a crooked number is going to end up on the board and that was the case tonight,î Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
Damon has 2,720 hits, one away from tying Lou Gehrig for 57th place on the career list. The designated hitter is 5 for 7 with two homers and seven RBIs in his last three games.
Rookie reliever Alex Torres (1-1) threw five shutout innings to earn his first big league win in his fourth game this season. The left-hander replaced Jeff Niemann to start the second and allowed three hits.
Damon also had a run-scoring double in the first as the Rays won for the second time in six games. Boston lost 9-1 at the New York Yankees earlier Saturday.
ěWe canít control what happens in the New York-Boston series … We have to worry about what we can control, and hopefully this is a big pick-me-up,î Damon said.
Jose Bautista hit his major league-leading 43rd homer for the Blue Jays, who had won seven of 11. Ricky Romero (15-11) gave up six runs ó one earned ó and six hits over 7 2-3 innings.
ěItís disappointing,î Romero said. ěI donít want to be the reason they go the playoffs. We want to win every game here on out.î
After Brandon Gomes and Joel Peralta worked scoreless innings, closer Kyle Farnsworth pitched a perfect ninth in a non-save situation. Farnsworth had been out since Sept. 11 due to a sore right elbow.
The eight scoreless innings by the Raysí bullpen set a team record for a single game.
ěIf you had told us at the beginning of spring training weíd be in this position right now, I think weíd all take it,î Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Tampa Bay went ahead 3-2 in the fourth on Zobristís solo homer. He has gone deep three times over his last seven games after going 39 games without a home run.
Bautista put the Blue Jays up 2-0 during the first when he lined a 3-2 pitch from Niemann into the left-field seats. Toronto failed to extend the lead later in the inning when David Cooper bounced out with runners on second and third.
Niemann had his scheduled start pushed back from Thursday to Saturday because of a sore upper back.
ěThere was a little bit of residual soreness but I was a little bit off and these are must-win games for us, so thatís what happened,î Niemann said.
A series of defensive blunders helped the Rays tie it at 2 in the bottom of the first. B.J. Upton singled one pitch after Cooper was charged with an error at first for misplaying a foul ball. Upton then scored when McCoy was given an error after making an errant throw to first on Zobristís two-out grounder.
Zobrist came home when Damon flared a ball to short center that dropped between second baseman Kelly Johnson and center fielder Colby Rasmus for a double.
ěThatís miscommunication,î Farrell said. ěThatís a ball thatís got to be caught. In that situation, ideally, youíd like to see Colby take charge right there and record the out.î
NOTES: The Rays have won 26 straight games when scoring five or more runs. … Toronto INF Brett Lawrie (broken right middle finger) will have his offseason program established a week after the season ends when he undergoes a follow-up examination. … Niemann gave up two hits and walked two during his 38-pitch inning. … Jays 1B Adam Lind missed his second straight game after returning home for the birth of his child. … Tampa Bay RHP Wade Davis (10-10) and Toronto LHP Brett Cecil (4-10) are scheduled to pitch in Sundayís series finale.
The Associated Press
09/24/11 22:50