Saturday, September 18, 2004

Red Sox closing on Yankees

Roundup of Friday's other MLB games

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Orlando Cabrera and Johnny Damon hit RBI singles in the ninth inning off Mariano Rivera, and the Boston Red Sox stormed past New York 3-2 Friday night to cut the Yankees' AL East lead to 2 1/2 games.

The Red Sox are 25-5 since trailing their longtime rivals by 10 1/2 games on Aug. 15. Boston has two more games at Yankee Stadium, highlighted by Pedro Martinez vs. Mike Mussina on Sunday, and three against New York next weekend at Fenway Park.

Rivera (4-2) took over in the ninth with a 2-1 lead, poised to earn his career high-tying 50th save. But with a boisterous crowd standing and stomping, Boston had other ideas.

Trot Nixon drew a leadoff walk on a full-count pitch and pinch-runner Dave Roberts stole second as Jason Varitek struck out. Rivera hit Kevin Millar with a pitch and then Cabrera, playing in his first Red Sox-Yankees game, grounded a tying single to right.

Rivera struck out Kevin Youkilis, but Damon blooped a soft single to center field.

Keith Foulke pitched the ninth for his 30th save in 35 chances, completing the combined four-hitter. Mike Timlin (5-4) pitched one inning for the win.

Astros 2, Brewers 1

HOUSTON - Roy Oswalt aggravated a ribcage injury but pitched long enough to get his 18th win, and Mike Lamb hit a go-ahead homer off former Olympic teammate Ben Sheets in the seventh inning Friday night to lead the Houston Astros over the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1.

Houston, which had only four hits, won for just the fourth time in eight games following a 12-game winning streak. The Astros, who ended the game by throwing out a runner at the plate, began the night two games behind San Francisco in the National League wild-card race.

Oswalt (18-9), who leads the NL in wins, improved to 10-1 in 13 starts since July 17, allowing one run and eight hits in seven innings. His left ribcage has been bothering him for several weeks, but he has not missed a start. The injury also forced him out of a game on Sept. 1 at Cincinnati.

With the score 1-all in the seventh, Lamb hit his 14th home run of the season. Lamb and Sheets played together on the U.S. team that won the 2000 Olympic gold medal.

Brad Lidge followed Oswalt and finished for his 23d save in 27 chances.

Expos 12, Phillies 8

PHILADELPHIA - Tony Batista hit a go-ahead two-run single in a five-run ninth inning as Montreal rallied.

Batista had three RBI to give him 100 for the season, and Juan Rivera went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI for the Expos, who trailed by four in the eighth.

Luis Ayala (6-11) allowed one run and one hit - Bobby Abreu's solo homer in the ninth - in two innings to pick up the win.

Tim Worrell (4-6) took the loss after Philadelphia's bullpen wasted another solid outing by Eric Milton.

Braves 8, Marlins 1

MIAMI - Chipper Jones hit a three-run homer to help Atlanta overcome an early deficit and reduce its magic number for clinching the National League East to eight.

Florida outhit the Braves 13-11 but stranded 10 runners, grounded into three double plays and had a runner thrown out at the plate. The second-place Marlins fell 8 1/2 games behind the Braves, who moved closer to their 13th consecutive division title.

J.D. Drew hit his 31st homer of the season for the Braves, and Adam LaRoche had three hits and two RBI. Luis Castillo went 4-for-4 for the Marlins and scored their run.

With his three RBI, Jones is 12 from reaching 100 for the ninth straight season. Sammy Sosa is the only other NL player to accomplish the feat. Jones had just 34 RBI at the All-Star break.

Mets at Pirates, ppd.

PITTSBURGH - The opener of the three-game series was postponed because of rain and will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday at 1:35 p.m.

The Mets' Tom Glavine (9-13) and Pirates rookie John Van Benschoten (1-3), Friday's scheduled pitchers, will start Saturday night.

Kris Benson (12-11), traded from the Pirates to the Mets six weeks ago, will make his first start in Pittsburgh in an opposing uniform Sunday, with Aaron Heilman (1-1) going in the other game. Ryan Vogelsong (5-12) and David Williams (1-1) will pitch for Pittsburgh.

The rain out was the Pirates' 10th weather-related postponement this season, the most they've had since they also had 10 in 1973. They have had six postponements or cancellations at home, including a scheduled Sept. 8 game against Milwaukee that will not be made up.

Royals 6, Indians 4

CLEVELAND - Cleveland's Jody Gerut injured his right knee chasing Abraham Nunez's line drive, enabling the Kansas City hitter to complete an inside-the-park homer.

The Indians, who have lost 10 of their last 14 games, announced before the game that All-Star pitcher C.C. Sabathia was probably done for the season with a strained left hamstring.

Gerut left in the seventh inning. He was hurt trying to field a ball hit down the right-field line. As he tried to get the bouncing ball, Gerut tripped and fell headfirst on the warning track.

He grabbed the ball with his bare hand and flung it backwards over his head while screaming in pain. Second baseman Ronnie Belliard raced out to get the ball and threw home, but Nunez scored standing up, giving the Royals a 5-3 lead.

Gerut missed the 2001 season after twice having surgery on his right knee to repair a damaged patella tendon. He will have an MRI on Saturday.

Orioles 11, Twins 2

MINNEAPOLIS - Rafael Palmeiro hit his 548th homer to tie Mike Schmidt for 10th place on the career list, and Larry Bigbie had a career-high seven RBI to help Baltimore stop Minnesota's longest winning streak of the season at nine.

Bigbie had an RBI double in the fifth, then capped a pair of five-run innings with a three-run double in the sixth and a three-run homer in the seventh.

Sidney Ponson (11-14) won for the eighth time in 10 decisions, giving up two runs and five hits in seven innings. Baltimore had been the previous team to beat Minnesota, on Sept. 6.

Palmeiro's two-run homer off Terry Mulholland (5-9), a drive off the facing of the upper deck in right, put Baltimore ahead 3-2 in the sixth. Palmeiro reached 20 homers for the 14th straight season, matching a feat previously accomplished by Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Eddie Mathews and Schmidt.

Devil Rays 11, Blue Jays 4

TORONTO - Aubrey Huff homered and drove in three runs and B.J. Upton hit a three-run shot for Tampa Bay.

Julio Lugo and Tino Martinez each drove in two runs for the fourth-place Devil Rays, who moved four games ahead of the last-place Blue Jays. Tampa Bay is trying to avoid a last-place finish for the first time in its seven-year history.

Doug Waechter (4-7) allowed four runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings in his third start since coming off the disabled list.

Carlos Delgado and Eric Crozier homered for the Blue Jays, who are a season-worst 27 games below .500 at 60-87.

Delgado hit his 30th home run, becoming the 14th major-league player to hit 30 or more in eight consecutive seasons. His two-run shot in the first hit off the top of SkyDome's restaurant in center field.

High school sports results, schedules
How Top Tens fared
Ohio games
Cardinals thump Aves
Q & A with Colerain's Kerry Coombs
Trojans pull victory out of air against Tigers
Offense again comes through for East
'Old-school' approach inspires Withrow win
Friday's other Ohio games
Photos of Friday's Ohio games
Kentucky games
Conner knocks off Boone
First-half stand leads to rout
Highlands shuts out Boyle Co.
Colonels' late kick KOs Tigers
CovCath ends long Beechwood string
Roundup of Friday's other Kentucky games
Q&A: Dayton coach Stephen Lickert
Photos of Friday's Kent. games

Williams has left Dolphins in lurch
Safety Beckett doubtful to play Sunday
Titans will test Colts' running game
Panthers take another hit with injury to Davis

Orange have fans seeing red
Successful Classic striving for more
Budding rivalry not only on field
Bobcats could be tonic for reeling RedHawks
It's win or bust for weary 'Cats
Scandals continue plaguing Colorado

Cubs 12, Reds 4
Tribute a trip to past for Nuxhall
Bonds joins Aaron, Ruth at 700 HRs
Rangers' Francisco suspended for season
Red Sox closing on Yankees

Driver's singular passion: racing
Rain sets lineup for NASCAR

Prolific striker blending in at NKU
Sports digest
Sports this weekend on TV, radio

Let's get this party started
Best places to eat
What's new downtown, on riverfront
Big events fill the weekend
Downtown event map (PDF)
More Big Weekend coverage

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