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AL ROUNDUP

Ranger Blalock's blast sends Yankees back a notch

Hank Blalock hit a two-run homer off Wayne Franklin in the eighth inning, rallying the Rangers past the New York Yankees, 2-1, last night in Arlington, Texas.

The Yankees were defeated for only the third time in 14 games and dropped a half-game behind the Red Sox in the AL East, just one day after New York took sole possession of first place for the first time since a season-opening win over Boston.

Blalock's two-out homer off Franklin (0-1) skimmed over the top of the right-center-field fence and dropped into the Rangers bullpen.

David Dellucci and Michael Young started the eighth with consecutive singles before Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play. Blalock then hit his 19th homer, the major league-leading 157th for the Rangers.

A night after the Yankees won, 11-10, in the opener of the series matching two of the three highest-scoring teams in the majors, pitching and defense dominated.

The Yankees didn't score off Chan Ho Park until the eighth, when Bubba Crosby drew a leadoff walk, moved up on Derek Jeter's sacrifice bunt, and came around on Robinson Cano's single.

Mike Mussina pitched six shutout innings but did not earn his 10th win, leaving with the game scoreless after throwing 109 pitches.

Park struck out five, but allowed six hits and three walks while hitting two batters over 109 pitches through 7 1/3 innings.

Twins 4, Orioles 3 -- Jacque Jones beat out an infield single to drive in the winning run in the ninth and lift Minnesota over Baltimore in Minneapolis.

With Baltimore ahead, 3-2, Joe Mauer walked with one out, stole second as Shannon Stewart struck out, and took third when replacement catcher Eli Whiteside's throw sailed into the outfield for an error. Mauer then scored on a wild pitch by Ryan (1-3).

Matthew LeCroy walked, Torii Hunter advanced pinch runner Michael Ryan to third, and Jones drove him in with his bouncer up the middle. Shortstop Miguel Tejada fielded the ball but was forced to make an off-balance throw that skidded underneath first baseman Rafael Palmeiro's glove.

Brian Roberts had hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field in the top of the inning to put the Orioles ahead, 3-2.

Athletics 3, Angels 1 -- Rich Harden came within one out of becoming the first Oakland pitcher in more than four years to record consecutive shutouts, combining with Huston Street on a four-hitter in Anaheim, Calif.

Harden (7-4) had retired 19 of 20 batters before giving up a two-out single in the ninth to Steve Finley. Oakland conceded second to Finley, and Bengie Molina chased Harden with an RBI single to center. Street got Maicer Izturis on a fly ball for his sixth save.

Harden allowed three hits, struck out eight, and walked three. The righthander, who was sidelined more than five weeks because of a strained left oblique muscle, is 5-1 with a 1.34 ERA in six starts since ending his first career stint on the disabled list.

Tigers 7, White Sox 1 -- Omar Infante hit a three-run homer to back Jeremy Bonderman, and Detroit ended host Chicago's five-game winning streak.

Bonderman (12-6) held the team with the majors' best record to one run and three hits in eight innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Blue Jays 12, Mariners 10 -- Eric Hinske hit a pair of two-run homers for Toronto, which prevailed over visiting Seattle.

Royals 4, Indians 0 -- Zack Greinke (3-11) pitched seven shutout innings, and Emil Brown homered to help Kansas City defeat host Cleveland.

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