When Andy Sonnanstine takes the mound, the Tampa Bay Rays expect to win.
Sonnanstine pitched seven strong innings, Ben Zobrist homered for the third straight game, and the Rays beat the Kansas City Royals, 3-0, last night in St. Petersburg, Fla., for their sixth straight win.
"You ask our players, I know we always feel we have a really good chance to win on the night that he pitches," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "So you get this extra feeling about you. There's certain pitchers that players play behind and they feel this guy is going to win somehow, and that matters. He's one of those guys."
Sonnanstine (10-3) is just the third Tampa Bay pitcher - joining Rolando Arrojo (1998) and Scott Kazmir (2006) - to have double-digit wins before the All-Star break. He won his fourth consecutive decision, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out two.
J.P Howell pitched the eighth and Grant Balfour worked the ninth for his third save.
Akinori Iwamura put the Rays ahead, 2-0, with a two-out, two-run double in the second off Zack Greinke (7-5). Zobrist homered in the seventh.
Cardinals 5, Cubs 4 - Rick Ankiel slapped a two-run, two-out single to right in the bottom of the ninth to cap St. Louis's three-run rally against Cubs closer Kerry Wood.
The win brought the Cardinals (50-39) to within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Cubs (52-36) in the NL Central.
Wood (4-2) blew his fifth save of the season in 27 chances. He walked the first two batters in the ninth and gave up a run-scoring double to Adam Kennedy before Ankiel's winning hit.
Chicago's Aramis Ramirez broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth by hitting a two-run homer off Cardinals reliever Ryan Franklin.
Mets 9, Phillies 4 - Pinch hitter Brian Schneider lined a tiebreaking two-run double with two outs in the eighth to rally visiting New York and bring an end to Philadelphia's four-game winning streak.
The Phillies' Ryan Howard slugged a three-run homer in the fourth, and Philadelphia took a 4-3 lead in the seventh on Jayson Werth's pinch-hit, two-out single.
Twins 9, Indians 6 - At Minneapolis, Joe Mauer homered, walked three times, and scored three runs, and the Twins won for the 17th time in 20 games.
Cleveland scored five times in the second, including Grady Sizemore's three-run blast (giving him an AL-best 22 homers and 100 for his career), but still dropped its seventh in a row.
Blue Jays 7, Angels 5 - Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer for Toronto and Roy Halladay (10-6) held host Los Angeles to two runs over seven innings.
The Angels' John Lackey (6-2) gave up six runs - five earned - over six innings, the first time in 10 starts this season he yielded more than three runs.
White Sox 6, Athletics 1 - Gavin Floyd pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings and Nick Swisher, Brian Anderson, and Alexei Ramirez all went deep for host Chicago.
Floyd (10-4) allowed only three singles, walking three and striking out six.
Rangers 5, Orioles 3 - Ian Kinsler hit a go-ahead two-run homer, and German Duran and Michael Young had three hits apiece to carry Texas past host Baltimore.
Mariners 3, Tigers 2 - Jeff Clement homered twice for host Seattle, including a two-run shot in the eighth.
Padres 4, Diamondbacks 2 - At Phoenix, Jake Peavy (6-5) threw seven scoreless innings and San Diego hit three homers, two by Scott Hairston and one by Adrian Gonzalez.
Giants 5, Dodgers 2 - San Francisco rallied at home by scoring four runs with two outs in the seventh, on RBI singles by Randy Winn and Fred Lewis and a two-run double by Bengie Molina.
Rockies 12, Marlins 6 - Host Colorado ran its winning streak to a season-best five games as Matt Holliday homered and drove in four runs, giving him nine RBIs in two games.
Astros 6, Braves 1 - Mark Loretta had three doubles and drove in four runs and Houston scored four times in the first two innings to get the jump on host Atlanta.
Brewers 2, Pirates 1 - Prince Fielder singled in Rickie Weeks with one out in the bottom of the ninth to pick up Milwaukee.
Reds 3, Nationals 2 - Brandon Phillips's RBI single in the ninth gave Cincinnati its ninth walkoff victory of the season.