It has been a rough start to the season for Ben Zobrist. He's hoping a two-homer game will turn things around.
Zobrist drove in four runs Saturday night to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 13-4 victory over the Miami Marlins.
"It's been a long couple of months for me trying to get things going and hopefully this is a sign of good things to come," Zobrist said.
Zobrist went 3-for-3, walked twice, scored four runs, and raised his batting average from .206 to .218.
"He obviously had a great game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Jose Molina and Elliot Johnson had three RBIs each for the Rays, who have won three straight.
Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore (3-5) struck out nine and allowed four runs in six innings.
"We did an unbelievable job of when we had someone on they were getting in," Moore said. "It was a lot of fun pitching behind stuff like that."
The Marlins have lost the first five games of a nine-game homestand.
"We played terrible," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Carlos Zambrano (4-4) allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings before leaving with lower back stiffness.
Guillen and a trainer tended to Zambrano after he issued a one-out walk in the third. Zambrano was convincing enough to stay in the game despite a 5-0 deficit. Following the visit to the mound, Zambrano immediately surrendered a two-run homer to Zobrist that ended his outing. Zobrist's homer, estimated at 379 feet, hit off the facade of the upper deck in right field.
"I came in today with some discomfort," Zambrano said. "I had it stretched by the trainers. During the game it was aggravated to the point that I couldn't pitch anymore. I should have said something before."
Zobrist connected again to right field in the fifth – another two-run shot for a 9-0 lead. It was the second multi-home run game of his career. He hit two at Detroit on Sept. 25, 2008.
Tampa Bay scored five runs in the second as the first five batters reached base including Johnson with a two-run single. Desmond Jennings, Molina, and Moore also drove in runs in the inning.
SAN FRANCISCO — Ryan Vogelsong pitched a season-high 7 2/3 innings and won his fifth straight decision, Nate Schierholtz hit an RBI triple and the Giants bounced back from their first shutout of the season to beat Texas.
Ryan Theriot added an RBI single off Scott Feldman (0-5) while helping Vogelsong (5-2) run his unbeaten streak to seven outings since losing May 3 against Miami.
Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval also hit an RBI single in his first game since May 2, pumping his right fist as he ran it out in the seventh. He came off the disabled list and returned to the starting lineup after undergoing May 4 surgery for a broken hamate bone in his left hand.
Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland homered for the Rangers, who have lost three of four. Moreland's pinch-hit drive landed in McCovey Cove.
DENVER — Albert Pujols homered and singled to drive in four runs, Mike Trout had three hits, including a two-run single, and Los Angeles earned its eighth straight road win.
Torii Hunter had three singles and scored three times to help the Angels to their longest road winning streak since taking eight straight from July 18-Aug. 2, 2009. Dan Haren (4-6) pitched 5 1/3 innings to get the victory.
The Rockies hit five home runs, two by Tyler Colvin, but lost their fourth straight overall and fell to 0-5 this season in interleague play.
Vancouver native Jeff Francis, making his first start of the season, was tagged for eight runs and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.
CINCINNATI — Prince Fielder homered in the fourth inning and singled in the tiebreaking run in the eighth for Detroit.
Brennan Boesch started Detroit's two-out rally against Sean Marshall (1-3) with a double. After Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked, Fielder softly lined a single to centre to score Boesch.
Brayan Villareal (2-1) pitched a scoreless seventh inning to earn the win. Jose Valverde worked the ninth for his 11th save.
Cincinnati's Joey Votto extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games (29 for 53, .547), surpassing his 14-game streak in 2009.
BOSTON — Gio Gonzalez pitched 6 1/3 effective innings, Adam LaRoche hit a solo homer and Washington spoiled Daisuke Matsuzaka's return from reconstructive elbow surgery.
Ian Desmond had a two-run single and Michael Morse added an RBI double during a three-run fourth for Washington.
Matsuzaka (0-1), making his first major league start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June 10, gave up four runs and five hits over five innings.
Gonzalez (8-2) allowed two runs, struck out five and walked two. Tyler Clippard got three outs for his seventh save.
CHICAGO — Chris Sale pitched eight shutout innings to earn his fifth straight win and Adam Dunn had a grand slam and five RBIs for the White Sox.
Sale (8-2) allowed four singles, struck out seven and walked none while throwing 101 pitches.
Gordon Beckham had three RBIs and Alejandro De Aza finished with four hits for the White Sox, who sent 10 batters to the plate during a five-run fifth that chased Jordan Lyles (1-2).
Jed Lowrie homered for the third straight game as the Astros averted the shutout in the ninth.
MINNEAPOLIS — Trevor Plouffe had a double, a homer and four RBIs and Scott Diamond pitched six scoreless innings for surging Minnesota.
Diamond (5-1) allowed seven hits and struck out five. Joe Mauer added three hits and two RBIs in his return from a sprained right thumb for the Twins, who have won nine of their past 11 games.
The Cubs have lost 20 of their past 24 games. Jeff Samardzija (5-4) gave up eight runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings, tying his shortest outing of the season.
Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer in the eighth for Chicago, his 12th long ball in the past 24 games.
Orioles 6, Phillies 4 (12 innings)
BALTIMORE — Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the 12th and the Orioles won their eighth straight extra-inning game.
Jones ended a season-worst 0-for-18 slump with a single in the ninth, then launched a drive over the outstretched glove of centre-fielder Shane Victorino.
Chris Davis drew a leadoff walk in the 12th from B.J. Rosenberg (0-1) and Jones followed with his 17th home run, and the second game-ending drive of his career. The Orioles won for only the fourth time in 13 games.
Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins and Hector Luna homered for the Phillies, who have lost seven of eight. Hunter Pence added four hits.
Luis Ayala (2-1) pitched one inning for the win. Rosenberg worked a perfect 11th in his major league debut before Jones tagged him.
SEATTLE — A day after getting no-hit by the Mariners, the Los Angeles Dodgers rebounded to beat Seattle 8-3 Saturday as Jerry Hairston Jr. had a career-best five RBIs and Clayton Kershaw struck out a season-high 12.
Hairston had three of the Dodgers' 14 hits, putting Los Angeles ahead with a three-run homer in the first against Jason Vargas (7-5). He added RBI doubles in the third off Vargas and in the eighth against Lucas Luetge.
After missing 16 games with a left hamstring strain, Hairston is hitting .426 with five doubles and 11 RBIs since he was activated from the disabled list on May 25.
Kershaw (5-3), the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings and struck out the side in the first.
PITTSBURGH — Neil Walker drove in the go-ahead run with a groundout during a wacky fourth inning and the Pirates rallied to beat Kansas City.
The Pirates have won three straight and are 11-3 since May 25, the best record in the major leagues in that span. Pittsburgh also moved four games over .500 at 31-27.
Clint Barmes drove in Pedro Alvarez with an infield hit as the Pirates scored five times in the fourth on three singles, only one of which made it to the outfield.
Jared Hughes (2-0) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to get the win and Joel Hanrahan got three outs for his 17th save in 19 opportunities.
NEW YORK — Mark Teixeira hit a go-ahead homer and Phil Hughes won his third straight decision, sending the New York Yankees to victory over the New York Mets.
Curtis Granderson also connected and Alex Rodriguez had an early RBI single for the surging Yankees (33-25), who go for a Subway Series sweep Sunday with Andy Pettitte on the mound against Jonathon Niese. They have won seven of nine and 12 of 16 to move a season-high eight games over .500.
With runners at the corners in the ninth inning, Rafael Soriano retired pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin on a routine fly to end it.
ST. LOUIS — Kyle Lohse allowed three hits in 7 2/3 innings to outduel Justin Masterson, and Carlos Beltran hit his National League-leading 17th home run in the Cardinals’ victory.
Michael Brantley had two singles to extend his hitting streak to 17 games for Cleveland. But the Indians had only three runners in scoring position against Lohse (6-1), who ended a string of five starts with no decisions and a 5.16 ERA, and two relievers.
Beltran homered with two outs in the third and had three of the seven hits for St. Louis, which has won three of four. Shane Robinson doubled to start the eighth and scored on Rafael Furcal's one-out sacrifice fly against Jeremy Accardo.
PHOENIX — Miguel Montero hit his second career grand slam and Arizona beat Oakland Athletics for its fourth consecutive victory.
Trevor Cahill outpitched the Athletics' Jarrod Parker (2-3) in a matchup of starters traded for each other last off-season. Jason Kubel had a pair of RBI singles, Justin Upton doubled in a run and Paul Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 16 games for the Diamondbacks, who have scored 33 runs in their four-game streak.
Cahill (4-5), coming off a shutout against San Diego, gave up two runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. He had a season-high seven strikeouts and walked three.
MILWAUKEE — Ross Ohlendorf had a strong relief outing and San Diego strung together four consecutive singles in a sixth-inning rally.
Ohlendorf (1-0), signed by the Padres on June 4, pitched 4 1/3 innings to earn the victory. He gave up five hits, one earned run and struck out four as the Padres got their sixth road victory this year against 20 losses, the worst such record in the majors.
Huston Street pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fifth save.
Mike Fiers (1-2), making his third start of the season for Milwaukee, allowed 10 hits and four earned runs in six innings.