Russell Branyan hit his first grand slam in six years and the Mariners racked Rays starter Scott Kazmir to roll to an 11-2 victory yesterday, taking two of three from Tampa Bay in Seattle.
Franklin Gutierrez’s second consecutive three-hit game included a game-turning home run in the second inning off Kazmir (6-7), who continued to look like anything but Tampa Bay’s pitching star of 2008.
Kazmir hasn’t won on the road since May 9 at Fenway Park. The lefthander lasted just 4 1/3 innings, his shortest outing since he returned in late May from missing a month with a strained quadriceps. He allowed nine hits and seven runs, increasing his ERA to 6.50.
Seattle’s Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-1) rebounded from a shaky beginning to pitch effectively into the seventh. He struck out a season-high six.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu dropped the slumping Branyan from second to sixth in the batting order. He was hitless in his previous 11 at-bats before he smacked the first pitch he saw from Jeff Bennett in the sixth over the Rays’ bullpen and off a back fence well beyond left field. His 26th homer extended his career high, and was his first home run to left field in two years.
Rangers 7, Angels 0 - Rookie Derek Holland (5-7) pitched a three-hitter against the majors’ hottest offense for his first shutout, and Texas finished off a winning series in Anaheim, Calif., to gain ground on the Angels in the AL West.
Making his 12th career start, Holland didn’t allow a hit until the sixth. By then the Rangers were up, 3-0, thanks in part to a dropped fly ball by Angels right fielder Bobby Abreu with two outs in the fourth that allowed two runs to score.
Blue Jays 7, Orioles 3 - Roy Halladay (12-5) won his 10th straight decision over Baltimore and Vernon Wells and Marco Scutaro hit two-run homers during a four-run third for host Toronto.
Tigers 8, Twins 7 - Placido Polanco smacked a go-ahead single in the bottom of the eighth as Detroit won for the fifth time in seven games.
Indians 8, White Sox 4 - Jamey Carroll hit a go-ahead RBI double in the fifth and added a solo homer in the seventh, pacing Cleveland in Chicago.
Athletics 6, Royals 3 - Bobby Crosby homered twice and Ryan Sweeney hit a three-run shot to power visiting Oakland.
Marlins 12, Phillies 3 - Josh Johnson (11-2) pitched six impressive innings, helping Florida complete a three-game sweep in Philadelphia and move within four games of the NL East-leading Phillies.
Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 2 - Adam Dunn launched his 30th home run and host Washington reeled off its eighth straight victory - the team’s second-longest streak since moving to the nation’s capital five years ago.
Rockies 11, Cubs 5 - Todd Helton had a pair of RBIs and Dexter Fowler scored three times as Colorado cruised past visiting Chicago despite being outhit, 18-14. The Rockies moved into a tie with San Francisco for the NL wild-card lead.
Reds 5, Giants 2 - Cincinnati’s Aaron Harang (6-13) outpitched Giants All-Star Matt Cain to win for the first time since late May. He held host San Francisco to two runs in seven innings.
Cardinals 7, Pirates 3 - Skip Schumaker’s first career pinch-hit home run started visiting St. Louis’s five-run rally in the eighth and Joel Pineiro pitched through early trouble to reach 10 wins for the first time since 2003.
Mets 5, Padres 1 - Johan Santana (13-8) worked eight strong innings and tied his career high with two hits and an RBI to help New York avoid a four-game sweep in San Diego.
Braves 8, Dodgers 2 - Javier Vazquez (10-7) won his fifth straight decision, giving up just five hits over eight innings, as Atlanta took three of four in Los Angeles.
Astros 2, Brewers 0 - Wandy Rodriguez (11-6) pitched seven shutout innings and Geoff Blum hit a two-run homer in the fourth to pick up Houston at home.