Kansas City reliever Jeremy Affeldt threw away a potential game-ending double play, and the Yankees rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to beat the Royals, 8-7, yesterday in New York.
After the error, pinch hitter Tino Martinez hit a run-scoring single, Derek Jeter had a two-run single, Gary Sheffield tied the score with a two-out double, and Alex Rodriguez followed with the winning single. The Yankees poured out of their dugout to celebrate as if it were a postseason game.
New York moved a season-high 16 games over .500.
The Royals were ahead, 7-3, when Affeldt came in to start the ninth. He walked Jason Giambi, then struck out Bernie Williams. Jorge Posada hit a bouncer back to the mound, and Affeldt turned to throw to second, but the throw was low and wide, and shortstop Angel Berroa dropped the ball.
''The bottom line is I blew it," Affeldt said. ''It was a routine double play. I can't look anybody in the eye right now. It was an embarrassment."
Matt Lawton loaded the bases with a single and Martinez, hitting for Robinson Cano, singled to cut the deficit to 7-4.
Shawn Camp (1-3) relieved and Jeter, who had walked twice and scored twice, singled past a diving Berroa into left field to pull the Yankees within a run. Hideki Matsui flied out to deep center, with pinch runner Tony Womack advancing to third, and Sheffield doubled to right. Rodriguez followed by grounding a single between shortstop and third, into left field.
Athletics 12, Orioles 3 -- Bobby Crosby and Eric Chavez hit back-to-back homers in a seven-run third inning, and visiting Oakland used a 15-hit attack to cruise past struggling Baltimore.
Mark Ellis homered and drove in three runs, Jay Payton tied a career high with four hits, and Crosby had three hits and scored twice to help Oakland win its fourth straight.
Lefthander Joe Kennedy (3-0) pitched five innings of four-hit ball.
Devil Rays 6, Angels 3 -- Jorge Cantu and Pete LaForest hit two-run homers, leading Tampa Bay over visiting Los Angeles.
Casey Kotchman homered for the West Division-leading Angels, who had their division lead cut to a half-game over Oakland, which won at Baltimore.
Cantu hit a two-run homer and Jonny Gomes had a two-run triple that put the Devil Rays ahead, 4-1, in the third. Cantu has a team-best 22 homers and 90 RBIs. LaForest made it 6-1 with his first major league homer, a two-run drive off Paul Byrd (9-9) in the sixth.
Twins 7, Rangers 2 -- Jacque Jones scored the tying run after a pinch-hit double in the ninth inning and hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 11th inning as visiting Minnesota stopped a three-game losing streak.
Kenny Rogers pitched six scoreless innings in his first start at home since serving a 13-game suspension for shoving two TV cameramen.
Blue Jays 2, Indians 1 -- Scott Downs (2-3) combined with three relievers on a five-hitter to lead Toronto over visiting Cleveland.