ARLINGTON, Texas – Michael Young and Alfonso Soriano hit two-run homers in the sixth inning against struggling Orlando Hernandez, and the Texas Rangers beat the Chicago White Sox 9-2 Wednesday.

Young’s 20th homer, which came after leadoff hitter David Dellucci was hit by a pitch, put the Rangers ahead 3-2. Mark Teixeira then walked and scored on Hank Blalock’s single, and Soriano hit his 32nd homer to chase Hernandez (8-7), who lost his fourth straight decision, matching his career high. Dellucci, Adrian Gonzalez and Rod Barajas also homered for the Rangers, who lead the majors with 218.

Chicago lost three of four in Texas, including the makeup of a game rained out in May, and finished August at 12-18. It was the first losing month of the season for the White Sox, who have the best record in the AL at 80-51 started the day with a seven-game lead over second-place Cleveland in the AL Central.

Orioles 7, Blue Jays 0

TORONTO – Bruce Chen and Chris Ray combined on a two-hitter, and the Baltimore Orioles ended a five-game losing streak with a 7-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

Miguel Tejada, Jay Gibbons and Eric Byrnes homered for the Orioles, who lost 10 of their previous 11 games and held a brief team meeting before the game.

Chen (11-8) only allowed Aaron Hill’s infield single to first in the inning second and Corey Koskie’s single to center in the eighth. First baseman Chris Gomez and Chen appeared to be unsure who would field Hill’s grounder, allowing the batter to reach.

Tigers 4, Indians 3

CLEVELAND – Ivan Rodriguez homered to break an eighth-inning tie, Mike Maroth pitched seven strong innings, and the Detroit Tigers beat Cleveland 4-3 Wednesday night to slow the Indians’ momentum in the AL wild-card race.

Cleveland began play a half-game behind the wild-card leading New York Yankees, but lost for the third time in 13 games and completed a 19-8 August.

Royals 1, Twins 0

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Emil Brown singled home Denny Hocking with one out in the ninth to lead Kansas City to a 1-0 victory Wednesday over the Minnesota Twins, who set a team record by getting 13 hits in a shutout.

The Twins bounced into four double plays and had runners thrown out at third and home. It was also a Royals’ record for most hits allowed in a shutout, breaking the mark of 10 which had been done four times.

The Twins’ previous record for hits in a shutout was 12 in a 1-0 loss to the California Angels in 1975.

Padres 9, D-backs 5

SAN DIEGO – Ben Johnson hit his first career homer, a three-run drive, and the San Diego Padres beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-5 on Wednesday to chug into September with a .500 record.

The Padres (66-66) took two of three from the Diamondbacks, who dropped into third place in baseball’s worst division, 61/2 games back in the NL West. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 7-0 to take sole possession of second place, 51/2 back.

Dodgers 7, Cubs 0

CHICAGO – Derek Lowe pitched a one-hitter for his second shutout and complete game of the season, leading Los Angeles over the Chicago Cubs 7-0 Wednesday.

Lowe (9-13) gave up an infield single leading off the first to Jerry Hairston Jr., who beat a bouncer to third without a throw from a single to Mike Edwards. Lowe faced just 29 batters, allowing his only other runners on walks to Michael Barrett in the third and Jeromy Burnitz in the seventh.

Phillies 8, Mets 2

NEW YORK – The Philadelphia Phillies overpowered Pedro Martinez and remained on top in the NL wild-card race.

Chase Utley hit two of Philadelphia’s four homers off the New York Mets’ ace, Brett Myers pitched seven strong innings and the Phillies bounced back from an early deficit for an 8-2 victory Wednesday night.

Ryan Howard and Mike Lieberthal also connected for Philadelphia, which stopped a three-game skid and sent New York to its fourth loss in 12 games. The Phillies (71-62) began the day tied with Florida atop the wild-card standings.

Brewers 6, Pirates 5

MILWAUKEE – Rookie Prince Fielder hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer off Jose Mesa in the ninth inning Wednesday to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Mesa (2-8) walked pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay on four pitches, then grooved an 0-1 fastball that Fielder put on the right-field porch, 400 feet away.

Giants 5, Rockies 3

SAN FRANCISCO – Moises Alou hit the first of San Francisco’s four solo home runs, and the Giants rebounded from an injury to starter Kevin Correia to beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3 Wednesday.

Mike Matheny, Ray Durham and Todd Linden also homered as the Giants, who won for the fourth time in five games. Matheny added an RBI single.

Cardinals 10, Marlins 5

MIAMI – Florida’s Jeremy Hermida became the first player in more than a century and only second ever to hit a grand slam in his first major league at-bat, connecting in the seventh inning off the St. Louis Cardinals’ Al Reyes in the Marlins’ 10-5 loss Wednesday night.

The only other player with a grand slam in first major league at-bat was William “Frosty Bill” Duggleby, who did it for Philadelphia at home against the New York Giants in the second inning on April 21, 1898, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Elias was not able to determine whether Duggleby was a pinch hitter.

Astros 10, Reds 0

HOUSTON – Andy Pettitte allowed four hits in seven innings and Brad Ausmus drove in four runs as the Houston Astros beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-0 on Wednesday night.

Pettitte (13-9) struck out four and walked one, improving to 10-2 in 14 starts since June 20. The left-hander lowered his ERA to 2.50, tied with Washington’s John Patterson for third best in the National League.

Jason Lane hit a two-run homer for the Astros, who remained a half-game behind Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.

Braves, Nationals split

ATLANTA – Brad Wilkerson scored on a wild throw as the Washington Nationals manufactured a run in the ninth inning, beating the Atlanta Braves 4-3 Wednesday night to split a doubleheader.

In the opener, Andruw Jones homered and drove in all five runs to lead the Braves past the Nationals 5-3.

Atlanta rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the nightcap, tying the game in the eighth. But Wilkerson led off the ninth with a single off Chris Reitsma (3-5), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, then took off for third on a steal.

When the throw by rookie catcher Brian McCann sailed into left field, Wilkerson sped home with the go-ahead run. Chad Cordero worked the ninth for his 43rd save, tying John Wetteland’s 1993 franchise record with the Montreal Expos.


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