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[August 25, 2009]  TORONTO (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Rays have scored seven runs off Roy Halladay before and lost. Not this time.

Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist each homered and the Rays roughed up Toronto's ace in his worst outing in more thasn two years, beating the slumping Blue Jays 12-7 on Monday night.

Insurance"I can't be more pleased," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It was just a really gritty, good effort when we needed to do it. It was awesome."

Halladay allowed eight runs -- seven earned -- in six innings to lose for the third time in five starts against the Rays this season.

"He's arguably the best pitcher in the game," Pena said. "His stuff is nasty. It's very hard to just make contact. It does feel good to be able to come out on top because we know we're going up against the best."

Zobrist finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Jason Bartlett had three hits with an RBI, raising his average to .343, and the Rays won for the seventh time in nine games.

The Rays, who came in three games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race, snapped a four-game road losing streak.

Toronto has lost nine of 12 and fell to 3-10 against Tampa Bay this season.

Rays rookie Jeff Niemann (12-5) allowed six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked three and struck out three to move past Toronto's Ricky Romero for the lead among AL rookies in victories.

Halladay (13-7), who gave up 12 hits, walked one and struck out eight, has lost four of his past six decisions overall. It was his second straight loss, the second time this season he has dropped two straight. The righty was tagged for four runs and eight hits in five innings against Boston last Wednesday.

It was the most earned runs Halladay had allowed since he gave up seven to Tampa Bay on June 5, 2007, a game Toronto won 12-11 thanks to a six-run ninth inning.

Halladay, who sat huddled at his locker with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg as the clubhouse emptied, denied feeling fatigued by a long season and persistent trade rumors leading up to the July 31 deadline.

"It just gets back to making pitches, it really does," he said. "It's that simple. When you don't, they cost you. That's really all I can say."

Red Sox 12, White Sox 8

At Boston, Jose Contreras' two-out error on a slow roller led to six runs in the third inning and the Red Sox scored at least 11 runs for the third time in four games.

Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew homered, and Ramon Ramirez (7-3) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win after starter Clay Buchholz was lifted with two outs in the fifth following Paul Konerko's three-run homer that made it 9-7.

Contreras (5-12) allowed only one earned run but contributed greatly to all seven he allowed in 2 2-3 innings.

Twins 2, Orioles 1

At Minneapolis, Scott Baker allowed a run and four hits over seven innings and the Twins won their fourth straight.

Jason Kubel drove in the go-ahead run and Alexi Casilla tripled and scored on a wild pitch from Baltimore rookie Chris Tillman (1-2) in the sixth inning.

Baker (12-7) retired 10 consecutive Orioles at one point. After scoring the game's first run in the top of the third inning, the Orioles would get only one more runner in scoring position until the ninth.

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Indians 10, Royals 6

At Kansas City, Mo., Travis Hafner and Luis Valbuena each hit three-run homers to send Kansas City to a fifth straight loss.

Hafner drove in four runs, tacking on an RBI double to help sink the Royals, who took a 5-4 lead in the seventh on Yuniesky Betancourt's sacrifice fly off Jeremy Sowers (5-9).

But Kansas City closer Joakim Soria (3-2) started the eighth and gave up singles to Jhonny Peralta and Hafner before Valbuena hit a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right for a 7-5 lead.

Tigers 10, Angels 7

At Anaheim, Calif., -- Miguel Cabrera homered and drove in five runs, and Carlos Guillen added a three-run shot for the Tigers.

Justin Verlander (14-7) allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out seven and walked two. The right-hander was working with a 10-run cushion in the sixth when he gave up four runs and four consecutive two-out hits for the AL Central leaders, who ended a two-game skid.

Bobby Abreu hit a three-run homer for the Angels. Jered Weaver (13-5) allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings, struck out two and walked two.

Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 28 chances.


Mariners 3, Athletics 1

At Seattle, Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 625th career homer and the Mariners won the opener of a 10-game homestand.

Jose Lopez hit a solo homer in the third, his career-high 18th, then was plunked on the hip by a fastball from Vin Mazzaro to open the fifth. With the count 1-1, Mazzaro (4-9) tried to sneak a fastball past Griffey.

Ian Snell (2-1) kept Oakland hitless into the fifth inning, before Daric Barton got the A's on the board with a chopping single up the middle that eluded diving shortstop Jack Wilson.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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