|After his winning double in the 10th inning, Bobby Abreu is the object of catcher Jose Molina's affections. (Kathy willens/Associated Press)|
Manager Joe Girardi sat behind his desk in the Yankees' locker room wearing a fake mustache. Bobby Abreu was busy cleaning up after Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera dumped Gatorade on him.
Less than a week after falling nine games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees are within 6 1/2 of the AL East leaders - and they're beginning to feel good about themselves.
"They know we're still around. They know that," Mariano Rivera said after yesterday's 2-1, 10-inning victory over the Rays in New York completed a two-game sweep of the team with the best record in the majors.
Sidney Ponson limited Tampa Bay (55-35) to one run in six innings, and Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth, and Rivera (4-3) combined for hitless relief.
Abreu fouled off four straight fastballs from Grant Balfour in the 10th, then took a ball and doubled home Derek Jeter from first by lining a changeup up the gap in right-center.
New York has won four straight - against the two teams ahead of it in the division - after losing five of six. The Yankees are 4-1 since Girardi chewed out and challenged his players following a 7-0 loss to the Red Sox last Thursday.
Dodgers 2, Braves 1 - Derek Lowe took a perfect game into the seventh inning and Matt Kemp homered for host Los Angeles.
Lowe retired the first 18 batters before Gregor Blanco led off the seventh with a clean single to center. Jonathan Broxton replaced Lowe (7-8) after Jeff Francoeur homered in the eighth.
Lowe outdueled Tim Hudson (9-7) in a game that last exactly 2 hours. Takashi Saito pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 17th save. Lowe (7-8) gave up one run, walked two, and struck out four in 7 2/3 innings.
Blue Jays 9, Orioles 8 - Alex Rios and David Eckstein each drove in two runs, A.J. Burnett (9-8) won for the third time in four starts, and host Toronto used a seven-run fourth inning to beat Baltimore.
Eckstein went 2 for 4 with two doubles and Rios finished 2 for 5 with a pair of singles as the Blue Jays won back-to-back games for the first time in July.
Cubs 5, Reds 1 - Carlos Zambrano allowed one hit over eight innings - a second-inning homer by Adam Dunn - and retired the final 20 batters he faced to power Chicago at Wrigley Field.
In his second start since coming off the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, Zambrano (10-3) walked none and struck out five while throwing 103 pitches in a dominating performance.
Tigers 8, Indians 6 - Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the ninth and Detroit rallied from an early six-run deficit to hand host Cleveland its 10th straight loss.
Todd Jones (4-0) pitched out of a jam in the top of the ninth, escaping when Casey Blake was thrown out at the plate.
Mets 5, Giants 0 - Johan Santana (8-7) tossed five effective innings before his night was cut short by a rain delay to lift host New York to its fifth straight win.
Ramon Castro backed Santana with a three-run homer, and Carlos Delgado had three more hits. Delgado is batting .429 (15 for 35) in nine games this month.
Phillies 4, Cardinals 2 - Ryan Howard homered leading off the eighth and Carlos Ruiz followed four batters later with a solo shot to put an emphatic end to host Philadelphia's four-game losing streak.
Howard drove an 0-and-2 pitch from Kyle McClellan (1-4) into the right-field seats, rallying the Phillies after they blew a 2-0 lead.
Rangers 5, Angels 4 - Josh Hamilton's 20th homer, a two-run blast with two outs in the ninth off Francisco Rodriguez, lifted Texas over visiting Los Angeles.
Rodriguez (0-2), who has 35 saves, gave up three runs in only his third blown chance this season.
White Sox 7, Royals 6 - Carlos Quentin hit a pair of two-run homers (Nos. 19 and 20) and Chicago fought back from a five-run deficit to score the go-ahead run on an eighth-inning balk to beat host Kansas City.
Mariners 6, Athletics 4 - Jose Lopez hit a three-run double, Adrian Beltre drove in two runs, and visiting Seattle ended a three-game slide by beating Oakland for the 11th time in 14 meetings.
Rockies 8, Brewers 3 - Garrett Atkins hit two home runs and Glendon Rusch (2-3) won as a starter for the first time in exactly two years to lead visiting Colorado.
Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 0 - Jesus Flores's three-run, pinch-hit homer in the sixth inning helped host Washington snap a six-game losing streak.
Marlins 5, Padres 2 - Scott Olsen (5-4) pitched eight strong innings, and Mike Jacobs and Hanley Ramirez homered to lead Florida at San Diego.
Astros 6, Pirates 4 - Geoff Blum hit a three-run homer to help Houston avoid a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh.