Alex Rodriguez finally came through in the clutch, hitting a go-ahead single in the ninth inning to help the New York Yankees rally past the Blue Jays, 7-4, last night in Toronto. After the Yankees came back from a 4-0 deficit to tie it, Derek Jeter drew a leadoff walk from Jason Frasor (4-4) in the ninth. Gary Sheffield doubled before Rodriguez lined an 0-and-2 pitch down the left-field line for a two-run single and a 6-4 lead.
Frustrated by failures with runners on all season, Rodriguez slammed his bat to the turf in satisfaction as he ran to first.
Hideki Matsui added an RBI single off Frasor to score Rodriguez, who was all smiles in the dugout afterward while sitting between Jeter and batting coach Don Mattingly.
C.J. Nitkwoski (1-1) got two outs in the eighth for his first win with the Yankees. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 44th save in 47 chances.
New York remained 5 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox in the East.
Royals 7, Mariners 3 -- Ichiro Suzuki homered for his 200th hit of the season, but Abraham Nunez hit his second grand slam in two weeks to lead visiting Kansas City. Suzuki became the first player to reach 200 hits in each of his first four major league seasons when he sent the first pitch from reliever Jeremy Affeldt over the right-center fence in the ninth.
Suzuki's seventh homer of the season cut the Royals' lead to 7-3 and brought chants of "Ichiro! Ichiro!" from the Safeco Field crowd of 30,962. He finished 1 for 5 and leads the AL with a .364 batting average.
Athletics 9, Orioles 4 -- Erubiel Durazo hit a three-run homer and Eric Chavez also connected for Oakland, which completed a four-game sweep of visiting Baltimore. Barry Zito won for the third time in four starts and the West-leading A's earned their ninth win in 10 games. Scott Hatteberg added a three-run double for Oakland, which swept the season series, 7-0.
The Orioles have lost 10 straight overall, their longest skid since ending the 2002 season with 12 losses.
Rangers 8, Twins 3 -- Chan Ho Park pitched six strong innings in his return from the disabled list and Texas equaled its win total from last year by beating visiting Minnesota. Hank Blalock homered for the fifth time in six games. He and Alfonso Soriano each had three RBIs for the Rangers, who are 2 1/2 games behind first-place Oakland in the West. Texas (71-55) also remained two games behind the Red Sox in the wild-card race.
Park (3-4) allowed two runs and four hits to win for the first time since May 12 against Tampa Bay. He struck out four and walked three.
White Sox 14, Indians 9 -- Carl Everett homered and drove in four runs, leading visiting Chicago over fading Cleveland. Ben Davis hit a two-run homer and Juan Uribe a solo shot for Chicago, which won for just the second time in eight games and tied Cleveland for second place in the Central. Paul Konerko had three hits and three RBIs. Uribe and Ross Gload each had three hits.