Lou Piniella savored a rare victory in which his last-place Tampa Bay Devil Rays played well in every phase of the game.
''Good pitching, good defense and just enough timely hitting," the manager said, summing up last night's 3-2 win over Sidney Ponson and the struggling Baltimore Orioles, who have dropped four straight and 16 of their last 24.
Scott Kazmir pitched seven strong innings and Alex Gonzalez hit a solo homer off Ponson (7-9), subject of trade talks between the Orioles and San Diego Padres despite being 0-5 in six starts since last winning June 18.
Damon Hollins snapped a seventh-inning tie with an RBI single for the Devil Rays, who are 7-4 since a season-high, 10-game losing streak that ended July 9. The bullpen, a liability the first half of the season, is 1-0 and 6 for 6 in save opportunities since the All-Star break.
Kazmir (5-7) allowed one run and four hits, struck out seven and walked three. Joe Borowski pitched the eighth, and All-Star Danys Baez allowed Miguel Tejada's 21st homer in the ninth before striking out Sammy Sosa and pinch hitter Rafael Palmeiro to earn his 19th save in 25 chances.
Athletics 5, Rangers 4 -- Eric Chavez hit one of visiting Oakland's four solo homers, and the Athletics stretched their winning streak to five.
Nick Swisher, Dan Johnson, and Jay Payton also connected off starter Ricardo Rodriguez as Oakland matched its season high for homers. The surging A's have built a 3 1/2-game lead over the Rangers for second place in the AL West.
Mark Teixeira hit his 27th homer and Alfonso Soriano his 24th for Texas, which lost its fourth in a row and is 2-8 since the All-Star break.
Indians 4, Mariners 3 -- Jhonny Peralta had two RBIs in his first game as Cleveland's latest No. 3 hitter, and Cliff Lee pitched into the eighth inning to lead the host Indians past Seattle.
Peralta, who began the season batting ninth, hit a solo homer in the fourth off Gil Meche (10-7) and added an RBI single in a two-run fifth as the Indians bounced back from a demoralizing 4-3 loss Friday night.
Lee (11-4) gave up three runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings while improving to 4-0 in four career starts against Seattle.
Tigers, 2-1; Twins, 5-2 -- Scott Baker allowed five hits in seven innings and Justin Morneau homered and drove in two runs as visiting Minnesota beat Detroit in the second game of a day-night doubleheader.
Mike Redmond also had two RBIs for Minnesota.
After Detroit won the opener, 2-1, Baker outpitched Justin Verlander in a matchup of top pitching prospects who were making their second major league starts.
Baker (1-1) walked one and struck out five. Jesse Crain pitched a scoreless eighth and Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 27th save in 30 chances, completing the six-hitter.
In the first game, Sean Douglass (3-0) started two key rundowns while pitching seven strong innings for the Tigers.
Blue Jays 9, Royals 4 -- Shea Hillenbrand and Eric Hinske each hit two-run doubles in a six-run fifth inning as visiting Toronto beat Kansas City.
The Blue Jays sent 10 men to the plate in the fifth and took advantage of three walks, Donnie Murphy's error, and a wild pitch to break open the game. The Blue Jays have scored an AL-high 126 runs in July.