NEW YORK – Felix Escalona’s bases-loaded single with two outs in the ninth inning gave the New York Yankees a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night

Hideki Matsui hit a tying homer in the ninth, and Derek Jeter had two hits in his return to the lineup for the Yankees (69-55), who scored in each of the final four innings to win for the ninth time in 12 games and reach 14 games over .500 for the first time this season.

New York, which didn’t lead until the final hit, had been tied for the wild-card lead with Oakland, which lost at Detroit.

Vernon Wells had three hits, including a homer, as the Blue Jays wasted a strong start by Josh Towers and matched a season high with their fifth straight loss.

Tigers 4, Athletics 1

DETROIT – Carlos Pena hit two homers and Nate Robertson won for the first time in just over a month as Detroit beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1, the Tigers’ fifth straight victory.

The Tigers matched their longest winning streak of the season and improved to 6-1 on their nine-game homestand.

The A’s, beginning a 10-game road trip, have lost seven of their last eight.

Twins 1, White Sox 0

MINNEAPOLIS – Jacque Jones ended Freddy Garcia’s no-hit bid with a home run to lead off the eighth inning, and Johan Santana and the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 1-0.

Santana (13-6) gave up three hits and walked one in eight innings, striking out seven to beat Garcia in a battle of perhaps Venezuela’s two best pitchers. Santana, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, improved to 6-1 after the All-Star break.

Garcia (11-6) walked two and struck out three in eight innings. Jones’ homer to right-center was his 18th of the season and the only hit Minnesota managed. The Twins moved within 91/2 games of first-place Chicago in the AL Central – with Cleveland in second, seven games out. Minnesota and Chicago play nine more times this season. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 32nd save.

Angels 7, Orioles 6

BALTIMORE – Orlando Cabrera had three hits and three RBIs to back a fine pitching performance by Jarrod Washburn, and the Los Angeles Angels held on to beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-6.

The Angels amassed 12 hits over the first three innings in taking a 5-0 lead. Washburn (7-7) allowed one run, eight hits and one walk in 6 1-3 innings.

Washburn was 0-3 in four starts since July 14 despite allowing only 12 earned runs in 27 innings. The left-hander is 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA on the road.

Francisco Rodriguez gave up a grand slam to Miguel Tejada with two outs in the ninth inning before striking out Javy Lopez to earn his 29th save.

Indians 5, Devil Rays 4

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Coco Crisp hit a two-run triple in a three-run, seventh inning, and the Cleveland Indians extended their winning streak to six by overcoming a four-run deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-4.

Casey Blake homered for Cleveland, which won its ninth straight road game.

National League

Pirates 10, Cardinals 0

PITTSBURGH – Unbeaten rookie Zach Duke pitched two shutout innings before leaving with a sprained left ankle and the Pittsburgh Pirates got big nights from three other first-year players to beat St. Louis 10-0.

Nate McLouth, one of four rookies in Pittsburgh’s increasingly young lineup, hit his first career homer – a two-run drive off the slumping Jason Marquis – and Ty Wigginton had a three-run triple in his first Pirates’ at-bat in 21/2 months. Chris Duffy and Ryan Doumit, the other two rookies, each reached base three times and scored a combined five runs.

Cubs 10, Braves 1

CHICAGO – Jerome Williams took a no-hit bid into the fifth inning and had the first multihit game of his career, and Jeromy Burnitz backed him with a grand slam to lead the Chicago Cubs over the Atlanta Braves 10-1.

Williams (4-6) allowed one run and three hits in 7 2-3 innings, his longest outing this season. After walking Rafael Furcal leading off the game, he retired 11 in a row before Andruw Jones led off the fifth with his 40th homer.

Reds 6, Nationals 2

WASHINGTON – Luke Hudson allowed four hits over a career-best seven innings, and the Cincinnati Reds batted around in a four-run third against a hurting Tony Armas Jr. to beat the Washington Nationals 6-2.

The Reds improved to 4-0 this season against the Nationals – even though Nos. 3 and 4 hitters Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn were a combined 1-for-10 with five strikeouts.

Hudson (5-6), who had never lasted beyond the sixth inning in 21 previous starts, gave up solo homers to Vinny Castilla in the second and Jose Guillen in the fourth.

. For Guillen, it was his 22nd homer but only No. 2 at RFK Stadium.


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