Pena lifts Rays over Jays
Jackson's victory ends road trip on high note
After stumbling into the All-Star break, the Tampa Bay Rays are back in stride.
Carlos Peña homered, Edwin Jackson won consecutive starts for the first time since April, and the Rays beat the host Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2, yesterday, helping improve their lead in the East to three games.
"This game was definitely big for us," outfielder B.J. Upton said. "To get to where we want to be, we've got to be able to win one-run ballgames."
The Rays won for the fourth time in six road games after losing seven straight away from home.
"That's a great road trip right there," Peña said. "We're really happy about that. It's going to be a fun plane ride back."
By winning two of three in Kansas City before coming to Toronto, the Rays gave manager Joe Maddon just what he wanted.
"If I had one thing in the back of my mind before we left, it was to just win the road trip somehow," Maddon said. "You're always looking for those little growth moments and that may be one."
Tampa Bay lost seven straight before the break, including six in a row on the road, but has gone 8-5 since.
"We're getting the same quality pitching, better defense, and a timely hit or two," Maddon said. "It's kind of what we looked like when things were going well in the first half."
Jackson (7-7) gave up two runs and seven hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Tigers 14, Indians 12 - Kelly Shoppach tied a major-league record with five extra-base hits, including a game-tying homer in the ninth, but host Cleveland lost to Detroit in 13 innings.
Shoppach had two homers, three doubles and drove in three runs as the eighth player to get five extra-base hits in a game. Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau was the only other AL player to do it, with a homer and four doubles July 14, 1946, for Cleveland at Boston.
Shoppach had a chance for a great ending to his big game, but he was struck out by Casey Fossum with the bases loaded and no outs in the 12th.
Rangers 4, Mariners 3 - Josh Hamilton hit his team-leading 25th homer and collected his major league-best 104th RBI as host Texas beat Seattle.
Michael Young, out of the starting lineup because of a fractured right ring finger, had the go-ahead RBI with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and rookie Brandon Boggs homered for the Rangers.
Royals 4, Athletics 3 - Jose Guillen drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and Kansas City completed its first three-game sweep in Oakland in 20 years.
Esteban German led off the inning with a pinch-hit single against A's closer Huston Street, then took third when Mike Aviles doubled just beyond the glove of diving right fielder Ryan Sweeney.
White Sox 8, Twins 3 - Carlos Quentin had a home run and four RBIs in a victory over host Minnesota that kept Chicago in control of the AL Central race.
Phillies 8, Nationals 5 - Chase Utley homered for the second consecutive game, providing the big blow in a five-run fifth inning, and Philadelphia beat host Washington to move back atop the NL East with its fourth straight victory.
Marlins 7, Mets 5 - Josh Johnson pitched 6 2/3 innings for his first victory in almost two years, and Florida tightened the NL East race by beating New York in Miami.
Rockies 7, Pirates 4 - Aaron Cook (14-6) tied Arizona's Brandon Webb for the National League lead in victories, Troy Tulowitzki kept up his torrid pace with three more hits, and Colorado avoided a sweep with a victory in Pittsburgh.
Reds 9, Astros 5 - Adam Dunn homered twice and Ken Griffey Jr. added a three-run shot as visiting Cincinnati snapped an eight-game skid against Houston.
Cardinals 7, Braves 2 - Chris Carpenter, who spent the past year recovering from ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow, pitched four solid innings in his first start since April 2007 and Albert Pujols drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh as visiting St. Louis beat Atlanta, which lost its fifth straight.
Cubs 7, Brewers 2 - Ryan Dempster (12-4) struck out nine and gave up one run and five hits and Ryan Theriot tripled to break open a close game as visiting Chicago beat Milwaukee for the third straight time.
Diamondbacks 7, Padres 3 - Dan Haren (11-5) pitched seven solid innings, Chad Tracy and Mark Reynolds each drove in two runs as Arizona won in San Diego.
Dodgers 4, Giants 0 - Chad Billingsley (11-9) pitched a five-hitter for his first career shutout, Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to 17 games, and host Los Angeles moved above .500 for the first time since May 27.