Nova, Yankees claim important win over Rays: AL roundup
Yankees 5, Rays 3
NEW YORK — Ivan Nova was sharp in his return from a shoulder injury and the New York Yankees got back-to-back home runs from Curtis Granderson and Eduardo Nunez in a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez each had an RBI single for the Yankees, who began the day tied with Baltimore atop the AL East. The Orioles were scheduled to play later in Oakland.
Evan Longoria homered for the third-place Rays, who fell four games behind New York.
One day after Yankees ace CC Sabathia lost his third straight decision, Nova outpitched James Shields and gave New York's rotation a nice boost.
David Robertson worked a perfect eighth and Rafael Soriano got three outs for his 39th save in 42 attempts.
With two on in the ninth, Soriano fanned pinch-hitter Elliot Johnson for the final out — assuring the Yankees (82-63) their 20th consecutive winning season.
Nova (12-7) missed a little more than three weeks with inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Making his first start since Aug. 21, he was charged with two runs and four hits in six-plus innings. He struck out eight and walked two, improving to 5-1 in eight career starts against Tampa Bay with his second win overall since the All-Star break.
The 25-year-old right-hander was lifted after Jeff Keppinger's leadoff single on his 85th pitch in the seventh. He pointed to the crowd, tapped his chest and doffed his cap as he walked off the field to a grateful ovation from the crowd of 46,856.
Tigers 5, Indians 3
CLEVELAND - Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as Detroit beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 Saturday despite the Tigers having a run taken off the scoreboard.
Carlos Santana ruined Sanchez's no-hit bid with a two-out triple in the seventh, but Cleveland was officially eliminated from the playoffs after falling to 16-45 since the All-Star break. Starter Justin Masterson (11-14) took the loss.
Sanchez (3-5) struck out seven over 6 2-3 innings as Detroit stayed one game behind the first place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central with its fourth straight win.
After Cleveland rallied, Jose Valverde, the fourth Tigers pitcher, worked the ninth for his 31st save in 35 chances.
White Sox 5, Twins 3
MINNEAPOLIS - Francisco Liriano took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, Paul Konerko homered and drove in three runs Saturday, and the Chicago White Sox stayed on top of the AL Central with a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Liriano (6-11) was tremendous against his former team, allowing only a two-out homer in the seventh to Trevor Plouffe. He walked two, hit a batter and struck out nine in seven innings.
Acquired from the Twins on July 28, the victory was Liriano's third for the White Sox and his first against Minnesota.
Liriano's bid for the second no-hitter of his career ended after hitting Justin Morneau with a pitch with two outs in the seventh. Plouffe then homered to left-centre on Liriano's 96th pitch of the game.
Royals 3, Angels 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ernesto Frieri needed just four pitches to ruin a spectacular start by Zack Greinke, giving up two home runs in the ninth inning as the Kansas City Royals rallied to hand the playoff-contending Los Angeles Angels a stunning 3-2 loss on Saturday night.
Frieri (3-1) replaced Greinke with one out in the ninth after Alex Gordon singled. Billy Butler homered to centre on Frieri's first pitch to tie the score. Three pitches later, Salvador Perez homered off the left-field pole for his first career walkoff homer.
The Angels entered the day 2 1/2 games back of Baltimore and New York for the second wild-card spot in the AL
Greinke gave up just five singles, walked two and struck out three in 8 1-3 innings. He has allowed seven runs and 24 hits in 37 innings for a 1.70 ERA in his past five starts.
Mariners 8, Rangers 6
ARLINGTON, Texas — Justin Smoak homered in the eighth and drove in a run in the ninth to lead the Seattle Mariners to an 8-6 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
Smoak had three hits, two runs and three RBIs.
Seattle built a 6-0 lead in the first three innings before Texas rallied to tie the game.
Lucas Luetge (2-1) got two outs for the victory while Tom Wilhelmsen got the final four outs for his 27th save in 30 chances.
Tanner Scheppers (1-1) took the loss.
Athletics 5, Orioles 2
OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Drew homered and made a pair of big defensive plays to back Jarrod Parker, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 on Saturday night.
Chris Carter had a two-run double as part of a five-run third inning while Josh Reddick added two hits and an RBI for Oakland, which has won two straight over Baltimore to clinch the season series between the top two teams in the American League wild card race.
The A's also pulled within two games of first-place Texas in the AL West, the closest they've been since April 13. The Rangers lost to Seattle earlier in the day.
Nate McLouth homered for Baltimore, which dropped one game behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.