Carlos Pena hit a tiebreaking single during a four-run eighth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers, 6-4, last night in a potential playoff preview before a crowd of only 18,319 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Lee outlasted David Price in a marquee matchup of All-Star aces and was given a late lead when Texas scored twice in the top of the eighth to go up, 4-2, in the opener of a three-game series. But Carl Crawford hit a run-scoring grounder and Evan Longoria tied it with a single before Pena, just off the disabled list, made it 5-4.
Ben Zobrist added an RBI single that chased Lee (10-6).
Rangers second baseman Joaquin Arias couldn’t track down B.J. Upton’s one-out bloop double that started the Rays’ late rally.
“It was kind of a blur of an inning,’’ Lee said. “Things kind of fell apart. I don’t know why. It was a strange inning.’’
The lefthander gave up six runs, nine hits, and one walk while striking out 10 over 7 2/3 innings. He has lost all three of his starts against Tampa Bay this season.
Price got a no-decision in his bid to become the AL’s first 16-game winner, giving up two runs and five hits in six-plus innings. The hard-throwing lefty struck out eight and walked five.
Lance Cormier (4-3) got the final out in the eighth before Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 34th save.
Tigers 3, Yankees 1 — Max Scherzer pitched two-hit ball for six shutout innings and shaky closer Jose Valverde got Derek Jeter to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded to give Detroit the victory at Yankee Stadium.
Tigers second baseman Carlos Guillen took a hard hit to the leg from speedy Brett Gardner and still managed to make a strong relay that nipped Jeter. Guillen was down on the ground for a few moments and will be examined today.
“It was really the play of the game,’’ Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “He took it like a man.’’
Padres 9, Cubs 5 — Kevin Correia pitched six scoreless innings and hit an RBI double, leading visiting San Diego to victory. Miguel Tejada was 4 for 5 with a double and two RBIs and Chris Denorfia added three hits for the NL West-leading Padres, who have won seven of eight and are four games ahead of second-place San Francisco.
Blue Jays 3, Athletics 1 — Shaun Marcum (11-6) pitched a one-hitter, giving up only a home run to Conor Jackson leading off the seventh inning, and Jose Bautista hit his majors-best 37th home run to spark visiting Toronto.
Braves 4, Dodgers 3 — Melky Cabrera’s two-run single off Octavio Dotel with the bases loaded in the ninth inning capped a three-run rally that lifted host Atlanta to victory.
Mets 3, Astros 1 — Carlos Beltran homered and New York took the lead in the ninth inning on a wild pitch in a win over host Houston.
Pirates 7, Marlins 1 — James McDonald pitched seven sharp innings, Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez each drove in three runs, and host Pittsburgh snapped a seven-game skid.
Orioles 5, Mariners 4 — Nick Markakis led off the 11th inning with a double and scored on a two-out bunt by Adam Jones, giving host Baltimore a comeback victory that moved the Orioles to 10-4 under manager Buck Showalter.