|The Yankees' oft-injured Carl Pavano pitched five innings to earns his first victory in over a year. (Paul Beaty/Associated Press)|
Pena and Rays increase lead
Their four-run eighth defeats the White Sox
Faced with key injuries or late deficits, the Tampa Bay Rays refuse to flinch.
Carlos Peña's two-run single capped a four-run eighth inning, and the surging Rays rallied for a 5-3 victory yesterday over the host Chicago White Sox.
"The phrase that we have is just keep coming," Peña said. "Keep coming, keep coming, keep coming. At-bat after at-bat, at-bat after at-bat."
Peña's bases-loaded single off Matt Thornton broke a 3-all tie and sent Tampa Bay to its 11th win in 14 games. The surprising Rays, who keep winning despite injuries to Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, and Troy Percival, moved 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Red Sox.
Tampa Bay pulled this one out even though Chicago's Jermaine Dye hit two solo homers and Javier Vazquez retired his first 17 batters.
The White Sox took a 3-1 lead into the eighth before unraveling.
Vazquez (10-11) left to loud cheers after allowing a single to Dioner Navarro, a walk to Gabe Gross, and another single by Jason Bartlett that loaded the bases.
Thornton came in and walked Akinori Iwamura on a 3-and-2 count after he fouled off seven pitches, making it a one-run game. B.J. Upton then drove a hard one-hopper off shortstop Orlando Cabrera for an infield single that tied it, and Peña followed with a single to right.
Grant Balfour (4-2) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win.
Yankees 5, Orioles 3 - Pitching in the major leagues for the first time since April 2007, Carl Pavano (1-0) allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings to win at Baltimore. The righthander walked one, hit two batters, and struck out five in his 91-pitch effort.
It was Pavano's 20th start with the Yankees since signing a four-year, $39.95 million contract before the 2005 season. Only three of those appearances have come since June 2005; his latest injury resulted in elbow ligament replacement surgery last June and a 14-month rehabilitation period.
Mariano Rivera got three outs for his 30th save in 31 tries.
Jason Giambi hit his 25th homer and drove in three runs, and Hideki Matsui had a solo shot for his 500th career RBI.
Angels 7, Twins 5 - Mark Teixeira went 3 for 3 with a home run and Francisco Rodriguez closed out another strong bullpen performance as host Los Angeles ended Minnesota's four-game winning streak.
Rodriguez earned his major league-leading 49th save, combining with Darren Oliver (5-1) and Scot Shields for 4 2/3 scoreless innings of two-hit relief.
The Twins lead the White Sox by a half-game in the AL Central.
Phillies 9, Dodgers 2 - Pat Burrell homered and drove in five runs to lead host Philadelphia past Los Angeles.
Burrell put the Phillies ahead with his 30th homer, a three-run shot just inside the left-field foul pole in the first inning. He got a gift RBI double in the fifth when Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp lost a routine fly in the sun, then capped his big day with an RBI single in the sixth.
Cole Hamels (11-8) went seven innings, allowing two runs and five hits while striking out five and walking none.
Cubs 9, Nationals 2 - Aramis Ramirez hit a pair of three-run homers and Ryan Dempster matched a career high with his 15th win, leading Chicago over visiting Washington.
Mark DeRosa homered in his third straight game for the Cubs.
Braves 8, Cardinals 4 - Pinch hitter Greg Norton hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the eighth to help visiting Atlanta snap a six-game losing streak.
Albert Pujols homered and drove in three runs for the Cardinals.
Giants 4, Padres 3 - Rich Aurilia tripled in the go-ahead run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and San Francisco matched its season-best four-game winning streak.
Brewers 6, Pirates 3 - Ryan Braun homered, doubled, and drove in three runs, leading Jeff Suppan (9-7) and Milwaukee past visiting Pittsburgh for its third straight victory.
Astros 8, Mets 3 - Lance Berkman hit a three-run homer, Brandon Backe (8-12) retired the first 14 batters he faced, and Houston roughed up John Maine early in a victory at New York.
Tigers 4, Royals 0 - Zack Miner pitched three-hit ball for seven innings, Miguel Cabrera hit his third homer in two games, and Detroit handed Kansas City its seventh straight loss.
Diamondbacks 7, Marlins 1 - Yusmeiro Petit (3-3) pitched six solid innings and host Arizona got home runs from Chris Young and Miguel Montero in a victory over Florida.
Rockies 7, Reds 6 - Matt Holliday hit a three-run double that highlighted a seventh-inning rally, lifting host Colorado over Cincinnati.
Indians 8, Rangers 7 - Jamey Carroll singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and Cleveland rallied from a six-run deficit to win its sixth straight game, beating host Texas.
Athletics 5, Mariners 1 - Dana Eveland pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning as Oakland won at Seattle.