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Rays trump Rangers

Tampa Bay rallies to win battle of lefthanded aces

Associated Press / August 17, 2010

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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.

Tampa Bay moved into a tie for first place in the AL East with the Yankees, who lost, 3-1, to Detroit. The teams own a 5 1/2-game cushion over the Red Sox in the wild-card standings.

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.

Notables

■The matchup between Texas’s Cliff Lee and Tampa Bay’s David Price marked the first time two pitchers with 10 or more wins and ERAs under 3.00 faced each other at Tropicana Field, which opened in 1998.

■The Yankees scored a ninth-inning run to avoid being shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since May 1999, by the Angels.

■The Marlins went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position after going hitless in 27 at-bats during such situations while getting swept at Cincinnati over the weekend.

■The Pirates have had four losing streaks of at least seven games this season.

■The Cubs’ bullpen has given up earned runs in eight of the last nine games.

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