MINNEAPOLIS – Jacque Jones homered with one out in the ninth inning to give the Minnesota Twins a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Jones connected on the first pitch he saw from Jason Grimsley (0-1), his second game-ending RBI in as many games. His infield single Tuesday night gave Minnesota a 4-3 win.

Rafael Palmeiro hit a two-run homer for Baltimore, one of the few offensive highlights during an impressive pitching matchup between Rodrigo Lopez and Brad Radke.

Miguel Tejada just missed a two-out homer in the ninth against Joe Nathan (2-3), settling for a double off the top of the right-field wall. Palmeiro was intentionally walked, and Sosa struck out swinging.

Palmeiro’s big hit also made quite an impact on his placement in several all-time statistical categories. He tied Wade Boggs for 23rd with 3,010 hits, tied Lou Gehrig for sixth in extra-base hits with 1,190, passed Frank Robinson to take 10th in total bases with 5,375 and passed Al Simmons for 15th in RBIs with 1,829.

Yankees 8, Rangers 4

ARLINGTON, Texas – Jason Giambi and Tino Martinez homered twice, and the New York Yankees matched their season high with six in an 8-4 victory over the Texas Rangers.

Giambi and Jorge Posada put the Yankees ahead to stay with consecutive homers in the second off Joaquin Benoit (1-1), who struck out the first four batters he faced and got a flyball out before then.

Benoit then walked a batter before retiring eight more in a row until Martinez’s one-out homer in the fifth. Bubba Crosby and Derek Jeter had consecutive singles before Robinson Cano’s three-run homer made it 6-1, and Benoit was pulled without throwing a pitch in the sixth even after coming out to warm up.

Giambi, whose first homer to straightaway center just missed the glove of Gary Matthews Jr., left no doubt about the second one, his 13th of the season. The 408-foot shot to right-center in the sixth gave him his second multihomer game this season, and 25th of his career. Giambi reached base four times and raised his batting average to .284.

Martinez homered again in the ninth, his second multihomer game this season and 22nd of his career. It was his 19th homer at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, matching Carlos Delgado for the most by a visitor.

Tigers 8, White Sox 6

CHICAGO – Nate Robertson pitched the Detroit TIgers to a series win against the team with the best record in the major leagues.

Robertson scattered four hits over seven innings, and Chris Shelton and Omar Infante homered to lead the Detroit Tigers over the Chicago White Sox 8-6.

In a game interrupted by rain for 1 hour, 11 minutes in the fourth inning, Detroit stopped Freddy Garcia’s six-game winning streak, taking two of three in the series and winning for the ninth time in 13 games.

Robertson (5-7) allowed three runs, struck out six and walked two. He is 3-2 in his last six starts, allowing eight runs – seven earned – in 37 innings over his last six starts.

Shelton hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and Infante homered leading off a four-run ninth for Detroit (45-47), which trails Chicago by 17 games in the AL Central. Former White Sox All-Star Magglio Ordonez extended his hitting streak to 12 with two singles.

Blue Jays 9, Mariners 4

TORONTO – Frank Catalanotto and Shea Hillenbrand homered to highlight a five-run fifth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 9-4.

Rookie Aaron Hill also homered for the Blue Jays, who have won just three of nine since staff ace Roy Halladay broke a bone in his lower left leg.

Gustavo Chacin (9-5) won his third straight start, allowing one run and six hits in six innings. The 25-year-old left-hander retired the first 11 batters. He struck out one and walked one.

Richie Sexson and Scott Spiezio hit consecutive homers for the Mariners.

Seattle starter Ryan Franklin (5-11) allowed 12 hits and a career-high eight earned runs in 5 1-3 innings.

The benches almost cleared in fourth after Franklin jawed with Orlando Hudson, who Franklin thought was stealing signs from second base. After Franklin and catcher Miguel Olivo chatted on the mound, Franklin walked toward Hudson, prompting players on both benches to get to the first step of their dugouts.

The Boston Red Sox accused the Blue Jays of stealing signs from second base earlier his month.

Royals 5, Indians 3

CLEVELAND – Jose Lima stopped his winless streak on the road at 14 starts, leading the Kansas City Royals over Cleveland 5-3 and sending the Indians to their 11th loss in 13 games.

Donnie Murphy and Angel Berroa hit solo homers off C.C. Sabathia (6-7), who lost his third straight start overall. Sabathia is 1-5 with a 5.97 ERA at home this year, including 0-5 in eight starts in Cleveland since beating the Royals 6-0 on April 29. He gave up five runs – four earned – and eight hits in six innings.

The Indians have been outscored 68-38 since sweeping a July 4 doubleheader from Detroit that put them a season-high 10 games over .500.

Lima (3-8) improved to 3-3 over his last seven starts, giving up two runs and seven hits in six innings. He is 1-6 in 11 road starts this season with an 8.32 ERA, and won away from home for the first time since last Aug. 10 for Los Angeles at Cincinnati.

National League

Astros 8, Pirates 0

PITTSBURGH – Manager Phil Garner said the Houston Astros couldn’t let down with a four-game sweep of the Pirates so close. Andy Pettitte made sure that didn’t happen.

Pettitte pitched seven sharp innings to extend one of the best runs of his career, and the Astros beat up on the slumping Pirates yet again with an 8-0 victory.

Lance Berkman gave Pettitte the lead even before the left-hander took the mound with his second homer in as many games. Mike Lamb hit a three-run homer in a four-run sixth inning that made it 5-0 against Josh Fogg (4-6).

Pettitte (7-7) improved to 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his last six starts. He struck out seven and walked one, allowing only one runner to reach second after striking out Jose Castillo to leave the bases loaded in the first.

Braves 4, Giants 1

SAN FRANCISCO – John Smoltz pitched eight smooth innings for his seventh straight win, and rookie Jeff Francoeur went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer in the Atlanta Braves’ 4-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Smoltz (11-5) allowed six hits and struck out seven. He didn’t walk a batter and permitted just two runners to reach second base in his first victory over San Francisco since April 26, 1996.

He even added a run-scoring double in the seventh, padding a lead that was never threatened by the Giants’ meek bats. Alex Sanchez’s leadoff double and Pedro Feliz’s fourth-inning homer were San Francisco’s only extra-base hits.

The five-time All-Star remained unbeaten in eight starts since June 6 while improving to 11-14 in his career against the Giants, one of the few clubs with consistent success against him. The St. Louis Cardinals are the only other NL team with a winning record against Smoltz over his career.

Reds 9, Cubs 3

CINCINNATI – Ken Griffey Jr. hit one of Cincinnati’s three solo shots off Kerry Wood, forced from the game after only three innings because of a stiff shoulder, and the Reds homered four times in all for a 9-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Aaron Harang (6-8) pitched a seven-hitter for Cincinnati’s first complete game of the season, slowing a Cubs offense that has nine homers in the series’ first three games. Derrek Lee hit his major league-leading 31st and Jeromy Burnitz followed with a solo shot in the seventh, ending a shutout.

Cincinnati had gone a club-record 94 games without a complete game this season.

The Cubs lost for only the second time in 10 games, a surge that moved them back into contention for the NL wild card. Wood’s latest shoulder woes could undercut the renewed optimism.

Wood (3-3) gave up solo homers to Griffey, Felipe Lopez and Adam Dunn in three innings, a sign that something wasn’t quite right.

A trainer and pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited Wood after Griffey hit his 21st homer in the third inning.

Wood stayed in the game and retired the next two batters, but didn’t return for the fourth.

Mets 7, Padres 3

NEW YORK – Mike Piazza hit a two-run homer to move into a tie with Johnny Bench on the career home run list, and Carlos Beltran also connected in the New York Mets’ 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Tom Glavine (7-7) won his third consecutive decision with six solid innings as the Mets won their second straight over the NL West leaders and moved two games over .500 (48-46) for the first time since June 11, when they were 32-30.

Dodgers 10, Phillies 2

PHILADELPHIA – Jeff Kent hit a three-run homer and Jayson Werth had a two-run shot during a nine-run fifth inning, and Derek Lowe pitched seven strong innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Philadelphia Phillies 10-2.

It was a rare laugher for the Dodgers, who have had little to be happy about lately. Lowe (6-10) especially has been a bust after leaving Boston for a $36 million, four-year contract to anchor the Dodgers’ staff.

The right-hander has struggled with his mechanics and looked little like the pitcher who helped the Red Sox win the World Series. Against the Phillies, though, he regained his form, never facing more than five batters in an inning.

Lowe, who was 0-5 with a 6.34 ERA in seven starts since beating Detroit 5-3 on June 6, allowed six hits, struck out five, gave up two unearned runs and walked none.

Cardinals 4, Brewers 2

ST. LOUIS – Albert Pujols homered for the third straight game and backed Mark Mulder, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2.

John Rodriguez hit his first major league homer for the Cardinals, who have won five of six games since the All-Star break. St. Louis improved to7-2 against Milwaukee and 31-10 against the NL Central.

Pujols’ two-run homer off in the third off Ben Sheets (5-7) gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. Pujols, who has 26 homers, is batting .429 (15-for-35) against Milwaukee this year with five homers and 13 RBIs.

Rodriguez, who hit 17 homers in 34 games for Triple-A Memphis before coming up Monday, connected off Sheets with one out in the first.

Rockies 3, Nationals 2

WASHINGTON – With their All-Star ace on the mound and an early lead against the NL-worst Colorado Rockies, the Washington Nationals might have felt pretty good about their chances.

Instead, Washington’s Livan Hernandez followed up his modern major league record-tying fourth hit batsman by allowing a two-run homer to J.D. Closser, and the Rockies beat the Nationals 3-2 to win a road series for the first time this season.

Washington lost for the seventh time in nine games and saw its NL East lead drop to a half-game over the Atlanta Braves, who defeated San Francisco 4-1. All of a sudden, the hallmarks of the Nationals’ early success are failing them: winning at home and winning close games. They have lost five straight one-run decisions, and five of their last seven games at RFK Stadium.

The Rockies, meanwhile, came to Washington having lost 12 series and tied two on the road.


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