As Jon Lester kept delivering the goods in Boston, some of the other elite pitchers in the game — guys who the Red Sox lefty will likely be compared to as he works toward his next contract — didn’t have the best of nights on Tuesday. Here’s a look.
IN THE DIVISION
Yankees 3, Blue Jays 1: Masahiro Tanaka told reporters “I think my stuff wasn’t really there,” and surrendered a home run to Jose Reyes on the first pitch of the game — yet that was the only run he’d allow over six innings, striking out 10, lowering his ERA to 1.99, and registering his major-league best 11th win of the season. It marked the 14th straight loss for the Jays at Yankee Stadium, as well as their seventh loss in their last 10 games, and they now sit 3.5 ahead of the Yanks atop the division.
New York is 4 games up on Boston; Toronto, 7.5 up.
Orioles 7, Rays 5: Former Red Sox lefty Erik Bedard allowed five runs over four-plus innings, the big blow coming via a Chris Davis grand slam, and the Orioles prevented their first three-game losing streak of the month. The salami gave Davis 12 homers and 37 RBIs on the year — despite going deep just twice before May 14 — and Zach Britton needed only six pitches to retire the side in the ninth for his eighth save.
Baltimore is 3.5 games up on Boston; Tampa, 5.5 behind.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Royals 11, Tigers 4: The Royals kicked the door down in taking over first place in the AL Central, scoring seven times in the top of the second and pummeling Max Scherzer on the way to a ninth consecutive win. Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas each blasted two-run taters in the seven-run surge, then KC tacked on three more tallies in the fourth against the reigning AL Cy Young winner, who yielded a career-high 10 runs. Coming on the heels of Justin Verlander giving up seven runs Monday, STATS says the 17 runs are the most ever allowed by Cy Young-winning teammates in back-to-back games. Meanwhile, this is the latest the Royals have led the division since 2003.
Kansas City is 5.5 games up on Boston; Detroit, 5 up.
Angels 9, Indians 3: Mike Trout went through a slump over the first half of May, hitting .161 over a 17-game stretch, without showing significant power or speed — but the response continues to be spectacular. Over the last month he’s hitting .396 with eight homers, eight doubles and 26 RBIs, including two long balls, a two-bagger, three hits and four ribbies on Monday, when the Angels won for just the second time in six games.
Los Angeles is 5.5 games up on Boston; Cleveland, 2.5 up.
Athletics 10, Rangers 6: Scherzer wasn’t the only pitcher among the AL elite to get knocked around on Tuesday night, as Yu Darvish yielded seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and five walks over five-plus innings. It marked the third win in four games for the A’s, who have now beaten Darvish in eight straight meetings, and who got four hits, two doubles, a homer, and five RBIs from the catching combination of John Jaso and Derek Norris. Ex-Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre had two hits and knocked in a run for the Rangers.
Oakland is 10 games up on Boston; Texas, 2 up.
Mariners 6, Padres 1: Robinson Cano hit his fourth homer as a Mariner, scoring twice while also knocking in his 38th and 39th runs, as the Mariners won their third straight. Seattle has allowed just one run in each of those wins, the latest aided by seven three-hit innings from Roenis Elias, who improved to 6-5. On the other side, Chris Denorfia, a name some Sox fans have angled for as a potential trade target, went 0-for-4. He’s batting .249 this season with a .298 OBP.
Seattle is 4 games up on Boston.
White Sox 8, Giants 2: Add Matt Cain to the list of big-name starters who struggled Tuesday, when the White Sox used Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo among 10 hits that led to eight runs (seven earned) and pushed Cain’s ERA to 4.52 on the season. It’s worth pointing out, in the context of Lester’s ongoing contract push, Cain signed a six-year, $127.5 million deal with the Giants in April 2012.
Chicago is 1 game up on Boston.
Nationals 6, Astros 5: Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman had two doubles apiece as the Nationals built a 6-1 lead, but Jose Altuve‘s fourth hit trimmed the Astros’ deficit to one as part of a four-run eighth. No worries for Washington, though, as Rafael Soriano nailed things down in the ninth, and the Nats moved half a game ahead of the Braves in the NL East.
Houston is 1.5 games behind Boston.
NATIONAL LEAGUE NOTABLES
Todd Frazier broke a ninth-inning tie with his 16th homer, and the Reds beat the Pirates, 6-5 … Jonathan Papelbon needed seven pitches for a perfect ninth against the Braves, picking up his 16th save in a season when the Phillies have just 31 wins overall … Falmouth High School product Steve Cishek notched his 15th save in 16 chances as the Marlins stayed half a game out in the East, beating the Cubs, 6-5 … Daisuke Matsuzaka was back in the bullpen after stomach problems curtailed his most recent chance to start. He pitched one scoreless inning in relief during the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Cardinals … Jonathan Lucroy homered twice (including a grand slam) as the Brewers beat the Diamondbacks, 7-5 … Hanley Ramirez left the Dodgers’ 4-2 win over the Rockies with a hand injury, but not before hitting his 11th homer of the year.
10 YEARS AGO TODAY…
The Giants led 7-2 after roughing up Tim Wakefield for four innings, but David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez hit back-to-back homers as part of a seven-run rally that also featured a three-run blast from Kevin Millar in the Boston fifth. Trot Nixon and Doug Mirabelli also homered in the game, as the Sox posted a 14-9 win in San Francisco, a night after scoring 11 runs to beat the Rockies.