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American League Game Capsules (Saturday, September 24th)
Final Score: New York 9, Boston 1
Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Jon Lester sat with his head down in the Red Sox dugout, an 8-0 Yankees lead sitting like a cruel joke on the scoreboard. On a day when Boston needed its ace left-hander to play stopper, he couldn't even make it out of the third inning. Derek Jeter belted a three-run homer to cap a six-run second, and New York scored eight times against Lester in just 2 2/3 innings Saturday afternoon, delivering the wild card-leading Red Sox yet another blow with a 9-1 victory. The Red Sox had their lead trimmed to 1 1/2 games over the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat Toronto 6-2 on Saturday night to narrow the gap by a full game. Lester (15-9) wasn't able to press pause on Boston's epic September slide, losing his third straight start after giving up eight hits and a walk in his shortest outing of the season. The Red Sox lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell to 5-17 in September.
Final Score: Tampa Bay 6, Toronto 2
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Ben Zobrist hit a tie-breaking solo homer in the fourth inning, Johnny Damon added a three-run blast in the eighth for some cushion and the Tampa Bay Rays climbed within 1 1/2 games of the AL wild-card lead with a 6-2 win over Toronto on Saturday. The Rays bounced back from a 5-1 loss in the opener of this three-game series on Friday and will try to inch even closer to Boston in Sunday's finale. The wild card-leading Red Sox were routed 9-1 by the Yankees on Saturday afternoon and have a doubleheader scheduled for Sunday. Alexander Torres (1-1) earned the win for Tampa Bay, throwing five scoreless innings after taking over for ailing starter Jeff Niemann in the second. Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays and ace Ricky Romero (15-11) suffered his second loss in 12 starts after giving up six runs -- only one earned -- in 7 2/3 innings.
Final Score: LA Angels of Anaheim 4, Oakland 2
Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - Torii Hunter finished 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and drove in three, as the Angels kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics. Los Angeles closed to within 2 1/2 games behind wild card-leading Boston, which lost to the Yankees on Saturday. Jerome Williams (4-0) gave up one run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings to get the win. Jemile Weeks knocked in both runs for the Athletics, who have dropped four of six. Guillermo Moscoso (8-10) surrendered four runs -- three earned -- on five hits in seven full frames to absorb the loss.
Final Score: Texas 7, Seattle 3
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - David Murphy hit a two-run single during a big fourth inning, as the Texas Rangers took down the Seattle Mariners, 7-3, in the second test of a three-game series. Esteban German, Endy Chavez and Andres Blanco each had an RBI for the Rangers, who clinched their second straight American League West title with a 5-3 victory in the opener of this series on Friday. Texas starter Alexi Ogando pitched two perfect innings before exiting the game. The Rangers will likely use Ogando in the bullpen for the playoffs. Scott Feldman (2-1) gave up three runs on five hits over four innings of relief to pick up the win. Justin Smoak and Mike Carp had an RBI apiece for Seattle, which has lost three in a row. Felix Hernandez (14-14) allowed seven runs -- five earned -- on 12 hits over 3 1/3 innings. He left the game after Michael Young's fourth-inning line drive struck him in the right forearm.
Final Score: Baltimore 6, Detroit 5
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - In his final start of the season, Justin Verlander was unable to become MLB's first 25-game winner in 21 years, as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers, 6-5, on a suicide squeeze in the ninth inning. Verlander had his 12-start winning streak snapped after allowing five runs in the first three innings. He eventually settled down to toss seven frames, surrendering eight hits and one walk while striking out six in a no-decision. Bob Welch was the last major league pitcher to earn 25 wins when he went 27-6 for the Oakland Athletics in 1990. The Tigers offense fought back from the 5-0 deficit to tie it in the eighth on a Jhonny Peralta RBI single. With the loss, the AL Central-champion Tigers fell one game behind the Texas Rangers for the second best record in the American League.
Final Score: Cleveland 8, Minnesota 2 (Game One)
Final Score: Cleveland 7, Minnesota 6 (Game Two)
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Shelley Duncan drove in three runs as the Cleveland Indians rallied for a 7-6 win over the Minnesota Twins to sweep a doubleheader. Duncan also had three RBI in the opener of the twinbill, an 8-2 Cleveland win. Carlos Santana went 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Lonnie Chisenhall and Ezequiel Carrera each had two hits and an RBI for the Indians, who have won four straight to move two games over .500. Mitch Talbot pitched 5 1/3 innings in the start for Cleveland, giving up six runs on nine hits with four walks. Nick Hagadone (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh inning for the first win of his career. Drew Butera hit a triple and drove in three runs while scoring twice, and Ben Revere had three hits and an RBI for the Twins, who fell to 3-19 in September. Scott Diamond was tagged for four runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings in the start for Minnesota. Jose Mijares (0-2) got the loss.
Final Score: Chicago 6, Kansas City 3
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Alex Rios had three hits, including a two-run homer, as the White Sox took down the Royals, 6-3, in the second portion of a three-game set. John Danks (8-12) lasted 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out eight. He remains undefeated in 12 starts against the Royals, posting a 5-0 record. Brent Morel also homered for Chicago, which snapped a five-game losing streak at U.S. Cellular Field. Ernest Teaford (2-1) allowed five runs on six hits and three walks through five innings for the loss. Melky Cabrera drove in two runs for the Royals, losers in three of their last five games.