Yanks throw Devil Rays back

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NEW YORK – One night later, the New York Yankees took advantage of their walks.

Slumping Hideki Matsui hit a tiebreaking, two-run single after Mark Hendrickson walked his first two batters of the night in the sixth inning, and the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-1 Thursday.

Shawn Chacon put his early struggles behind him with his second straight strong outing, and the Yankees bounced back from Wednesday’s 4-2, 10-inning loss, in which they walked 14 times – with none of those runners scoring. This time, they had three walks, and all three runners came around.

Derek Jeter went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI double in the seventh, raising his average to .408.

New York rallied for three unearned runs in the sixth after an error by third baseman Russell Branyan, who backed up and let Gary Sheffield’s two-hopper kick off the heel of his glove and roll through his legs.

Twins 7, Royals 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Johan Santana struck out 10 in eight innings to get his first victory in the slowest start of his career, leading the Minnesota Twins over the Kansas City Royals 7-3 on Thursday.

The Twins opened up a 5-0 lead in the second inning and Santana (1-3) cruised to his sixth straight decision over the Royals, who haven’t beaten the left-hander in almost two years. He allowed seven hits and three runs with one walk.

The only Kansas City starter who did not strike out at least once was Mark Grudzielanek. In one stretch in the fifth and sixth innings, Santana fanned four straight.

Angel Berroa homered in the second for Kansas City. It was the Royals’ seventh earned run against the 2004 Cy Young winner in his last seven starts and 47 1-3 innings against them.

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Orioles 7, Blue Jays 5

TORONTO – Kris Benson worked seven strong innings and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Corey Patterson hit a bloop, two-run double in a four-run seventh inning for the Orioles, who salvaged the last game of the three-game series.

Benson (3-2) allowed two runs and three hits to get his third win in his last four starts. He struck out four and walked three.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched the eighth and Chris Ray allowed three runs in the ninth before retiring Troy Glaus to end the game.

Toronto starter Casey Janssen – making his first major league start – had a rocky first inning. He walked Melvin Mora, allowed a single to Miguel Tejada and hit Jay Gibbons with a pitch to load the bases.

Ramon Hernandez then hit a grounder to first baseman Shea Hillenbrand, whose throw home skipped past catcher Gregg Zaun. Mora scored on the grounder and Tejada came around on Hillenbrand’s throwing error.

National League

Rockies 6, Phillies 3

PHILADELPHIA – Garrett Atkins hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning to help the Colorado Rockies beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on Thursday.

Aaron Cook pitched seven strong innings and Brad Hawpe went 3-for-5 with a solo homer for Colorado, which improved to 7-3 on the road.

Pat Burrell had a two-run single for the Phillies, who fell to 5-10 at home.

Cook (2-3) allowed three runs – two earned – and six hits. Ray King and Jose Mesa combined for a scoreless eighth and Brian Fuentes finished for his fourth save, extending his franchise record to 22 straight.

Matt Holliday started the eighth inning with a single off Ryan Franklin (1-2). Atkins then hit a 1-2 pitch off the brick batter’s eye beyond the center-field wall for his third homer, giving Colorado a 5-3 lead. Atkins also had an RBI single in the ninth.

Cardinals 6, Nationals 2

ST. LOUIS – Sidney Ponson won his third straight start and Jim Edmonds gave him a quick cushion with a three-run homer in the first inning of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 6-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

Scott Spiezio added a two-run double in the seventh off Gary Majewski after the lead had been shaved to one for the Cardinals, who have won seven of eight.

Spiezio, who made his third straight start at third base in place of ailing Scott Rolen, also tripled in the first and is 5-for-11 with a homer and four RBIs as the fill-in.

The Cardinals are 10-3 at new Busch Stadium, all of the games sellouts.

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