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Thursday, August 02, 2007

M's gaining on Angels in AL West race       Send a link to a friend

[August 02, 2007]  (AP) The American League's most surprising team is showing no signs of slipping. The Seattle Mariners overcame a blown save by their All-Star closer to beat the first-place Angels 8-7 in 12 innings Wednesday night at Safeco Field.

Yuniesky Betancourt grounded a single through the left side of a five-man infield to score the winning run for second-place Seattle, which beat Los Angeles two of three and moved to three games out of first.

The Mariners (59-47) haven't had a winning season since 2003 and weren't expected to hang with the favored Angels this season. But Seattle appears set to stay in the playoff race for the long haul.

"To come back and win, that's huge," Putz said. "I know there is two months left in the season and the difference between five games and three games doesn't seem like much. But it is."

In other AL games it was, Tampa Bay 6, Toronto 2; Oakland 3, Detroit 2; Boston 5, Baltimore 4; Texas 9, Cleveland 6 in 10 innings; New York 8, Chicago 1; and Kansas City 5, Minnesota 3 in 10 innings.

Adrian Beltre led off the 12th with an infield single off Justin Speier (0-2). One out later, Jamie Burke was grazed on the elbow by a 1-1 fastball. Jose Lopez then chopped an infield single high off the plate to load the bases. Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought Gary Matthews Jr. in from center field to create a five-man infield for the second time in extra innings.

Betancourt then singled sharply between third base and shortstop. Former Angel Jose Guillen led his teammates in chasing the jubilant Betancourt around the infield after one of Seattle's most important wins of a surprising season.

"That's as good a game as I've been involved in," said manager John McLaren, who is in his 28th year as a professional coach or player.

Los Angeles lost for the second time in seven games. The Angels had won seven of the first nine games between the teams this season.

"Our focus is still in-house," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said about the charging Mariners.

Eric O'Flaherty (7-0) got the final out of the top of the 12th as Seattle won for the fifth time in six games. The Mariners won two of three against the Angels to pull within three games of the AL West leaders.

The Angels scored three times in the top of the ninth off J.J. Putz, the All-Star closer who had allowed one run in 25 innings entering Wednesday. After Vladimir Guerrero's single scored Orlando Cabrera, Matthews sent Putz's chest-high, 1-1 pitch into the Angels' bullpen beyond the left-field fence to tie the game at 7.

Yankees 8, White Sox 1

Alex Rodriguez remained stuck at 499 career homers and matched the longest hitless streak of his big league career at 21 at-bats.

Jorge Posada homered twice, and Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Shelley Duncan also connected to give the Yankees 13 home runs in two games. That tied the team record for a two-game span set in 1939.

Andy Pettitte (7-7) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings as New York won its third straight.

John Danks (7-7) gave up six runs and six hits in four innings for the visiting White Sox.

Royals 5, Twins 3, 10 innings

After a moment of silence to honor victims of a bridge collapse near the Metrodome, Kansas City beat Minnesota.

Thursday's game between the teams was called off, but the Twins decided to go ahead with this one instead of sending about 25,000 fans back out onto the congested highways.

Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Juan Rincon (3-2) as the Royals won hours after manager Buddy Bell announced he would resign after the season.

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Zach Greinke (5-5) worked two scoreless innings for the win. Joakim Soria got his 11th save.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 4

David Ortiz scored the go-ahead run in a four-run seventh inning and Boston the won in front of Kevin Garnett, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park on his first full day with the Celtics.

Kevin Youkilis gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead with a two-run double.

Orioles starter Steve Trachsel had left with a 3-1 lead after six innings, but relievers Paul Shuey and John Parrish (2-2) allowed the only two batters each faced to reach base. Chad Bradford replaced Parrish with the bases loaded and gave up Youkilis' double.

Javier Lopez (2-1) got the win and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

Miguel Tejada hit his eighth homer in the eighth for Baltimore.

Athletics 3, Tigers 2

Mark Ellis hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning, and Oakland handed visiting Detroit its fourth straight series loss.

The AL Central-leading Tigers dropped two straight to the A's after winning the series opener. The Tigers have lost six of seven games overall. Mike Piazza had two hits and drove in a run for the A's.

Andrew Brown (1-0) allowed two hits in 1 1-3 innings for his first major league win, and Alan Embree got five outs for his 12th save.

Nate Robertson (6-9) gave up three runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.

Devil Rays 6, Blue Jays 2

Carl Crawford had three hits, including a two-run homer, to lead Tampa Bay to a home win.

Crawford connected off Josh Towers (5-8) in the sixth to put Tampa Bay up 3-2. Brendan Harris made it 4-2 with an RBI single off Brandon League.

Jonny Gomes also homered for the Devil Rays. Gary Glover (5-3) threw two scoreless innings as five pitchers combined on a five-hitter.

Rangers 9, Indians 6, 10 innings

Rookie reliever Jensen Lewis failed to get an out on consecutive bunts in the 10th inning and visiting Texas took advantage to send the Indians to their fourth straight loss and seventh in nine games.

Ramon Vazquez lined a single to center to open the 10th against Lewis (0-1), who then fielded a bunt by Frank Catalanotto and threw too late to second to get the lead runner. Lewis grabbed another bunt by Ian Kinsler, stumbled as he went to throw to third, then fired the ball into the dirt at first for an error, letting Vazquez score the go-ahead run. Jason Botts added a sacrifice fly and Marlon Byrd had an RBI single.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, in his first game since being acquired from Atlanta on Tuesday for Mark Teixeira, started at first base for Texas and had a two-run single.

Joaquin Benoit (5-3) pitched 2 2-3 innings and C.J. Wilson got his second save.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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