ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Derek Jeter hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh inning, leading the New York Yankees past the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-5 Wednesday night.

Owner George Steinbrenner watched from a suite as his Yankees (82-62) moved a season-high 20 games over. 500 to remain 21/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East and one back of Cleveland in the wild-card race.

New York has won the first two of a three-game set after losing its four previous series against the Devil Rays, who have won 11 of 18 meetings this year.

The Yankees’ 17-3 victory Tuesday night marked the third time this season New York scored at least 17 runs in beating the Devil Rays. However, the Yankees lost the next day to Tampa Bay following both a 19-8 win on April 18 and a 20-11 victory on June 21.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Jeter lined a 3-2 pitch from Travis Harper to right for a 6-4 lead. He had only three hits in his previous 21 at-bats against Harper.

Mariners 10, Angels 9

SEATTLE – The last-place Seattle Mariners swept the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels for the second time this season, winning 10-9 Wednesday on Yuniesky Betancourt’s ninth-inning single.

Raul Ibanez homered and drove in four runs for the Mariners, and Richie Sexson also connected.

The Angels fought back from deficits of 6-0, 7-4 and 9-7 to tie the score in the ninth on a two-out RBI single by pinch-hitter Bengie Molina off closer Eddie Guardado (2-2).

Rangers 7, Orioles 6

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Kevin Mench drove in the winning run with a 10th-inning single and the Texas Rangers rallied past Baltimore 7-6 Wednesday, ending the Orioles’ four-game winning streak.

Pinch-hitter David Dellucci tied the score with a two-run homer in the ninth off Jorge Julio. Alfonso Soriano also connected for the Rangers, his 34th.

Mark Teixeira led off the 10th with a double against Jason Grimsley (1-2). Soriano was intentionally walked and Mench lined a single to left to score Teixeira easily.

Indians 6, Athletics 4

CLEVELAND – Ronnie Belliard’s three-run homer in the seventh inning on Barry Zito’s 122nd and final pitch gave Cleveland a 6-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night, keeping the Indians ahead of the AL wild-card pack.

Belliard fell behind 0-2 in the count before pulling a pitch from Zito (13-12) over the wall in left for the Indians, who have won nine of 10 and are a major league-best 30-11 since July 31.

Cleveland remained one game up on the New York Yankees in the wild-card chase and extended their lead over the A’s to 31/2 games. Oakland opens a four-game series at Boston on Thursday.

Tigers 4, Twins 2

DETROIT – Craig Monroe hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning to send the Detroit Tigers to a 4-2 victory Wednesday over the Minnesota Twins.

Curtis Granderson’s two-run homer in the third gave the Tigers a lead they clung to until the eighth, when Michael Cuddyer’s two-out single tied the score at 2.

Craig Dingman (2-2) got the final four outs to help the Tigers avoid a three-game sweep. Detroit had lost 11 of 13.

Phillies 12, Braves 4

PHILADELPHIA – Reserve infielder Ramon Martinez hit his first career grand slam, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 12-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.

The Phillies, who came in one game behind Florida in the NL wild-card race, have won three straight against division-leading Atlanta and five of six overall since Houston swept a three-game series in Philadelphia last week.

Nationals 6, Mets 3

NEW YORK – Preston Wilson and Vinny Castilla hit consecutive homers in the fifth inning, leading the Washington Nationals over the New York Mets 6-3 Wednesday night.

Castilla and Nick Johnson each drove in two runs and Wilson scored twice for the Nationals, who entered four games behind Florida in the NL wild-card race. Washington has won the first two games of a six-game road trip after losing five of six.

Padres 5, Giants 4

SAN FRANCISCO – Brian Giles lined a tiebreaking single to left with two outs in the 10th inning and the San Diego Padres snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.

The first-place Padres (72-73) rallied to avoid what could have been a costly three-game sweep and extended their lead over San Francisco to six games in the weak NL West – where the division could be won by a team with a losing record for the first time in major league history.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 3

ST. LOUIS – Brad Eldred hit a pair of solo shots for his first multihomer game and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen worked 7 1-3 innings after Oliver Perez was ejected, keeping the St. Louis Cardinals’ magic number for clinching the NL Central at two with a 5-3 victory Wednesday.

The Pirates won for only the fourth time in 19 games and denied the Cardinals a chance to clinch a tie for the division title at home.

bn Einar Diaz had an RBI double for St. Louis, which completed a 6-4 homestand and begins a 10-game road trip that starts with a four-game series in Chicago on Thursday.

Looking for their fifth playoff berth in six years, the Cardinals could still clinch a tie for the NL Central championship later Wednesday night with a Houston loss to Florida. They took two of three from Pittsburgh.

Jason Bay homered, doubled and drove in two runs off Jason Marquis (12-14) for the Pirates, who finished 4-12 against the Cardinals this season. Bay is 10-for-19 against Marquis with three homers, four doubles, a triple and eight RBIs, and he added a third hit with a single in the seventh.

Eldred, the Pirates’ minor league player of the year last season, homered leading off the second and hit his ninth over the visitors’ bullpen in left field with one out in the sixth for a 4-1 lead.

Perez was ejected with two outs in the second inning after hitting Hector Luna in the left leg with a pitch during an otherwise quiet game between teams that feuded recently. Perez was on the 15-day disabled list with a broken big toe when the teams had a pregame scuffle on Aug. 24 in Pittsburgh that led to suspensions of Pirates batting coach Gerald Perry and Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan along with then-Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon.

This was Perry’s first game back after an eight-game banishment. Plate umpire Eric Cooper appeared to warn Marquis before the top of the third.

Mike Gonzalez, the Pirates’ seventh pitcher, got two outs for his second save. He struck out pinch-hitter Reggie Sanders and retired So Taguchi on a grounder with runners at second and third for Pittsburgh’s first save in 28 games. Ryan Vogelsong (2-1) allowed a run in 2 1-3 innings.

Bay hit his 29th homer in the first, and Eldred’s first homer made it 2-0. Bay’s RBI double made it 3-1 in the fifth.

Diaz’s RBI double came in the fourth. Leadoff walks issued by John Grabow to David Eckstein and Mark Grudzielanek in the seventh helped the Cardinals cut the gap to one on Albert Pujols’ run-scoring groundout and John Gall’s sacrifice fly to the left-field wall, both off Jose Mesa.

Tike Redman’s RBI double in the ninth off Julian Tavarez put the Pirates ahead 5-3.

Marquis lasted six innings and gave up four runs, three earned, and eight hits. He won his previous three starts, two of them complete games.

Notes: The Cardinals received approval from Major League Baseball to begin selling tickets for the postseason on Sept. 19. … Hall of Famer Stan Musial participated in the Busch Stadium countdown, removing his uniform No. 6 from the right-field wall. … Bay scored his 100th run, become the first Pirates player to reach the century mark since Brian Giles in 2001. … Grudzielanek returned to the Cardinals’ lineup after missing seven games with a lower back injury and was 2-for-4 with a walk. … A paid crowd of 40,172 was the Cardinals’ 37th straight of 40,000 or more.

AP-ES-09-14-05 1729EDT


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