TORONTO – Randy Johnson had his shortest start in more than a decade, ejected in the second inning after complaining to the home plate umpire. The Yankees bounced back to take an eight-run lead against Toronto, then barely held on.

Robinson Cano homered twice and drove in five runs, Alex Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 43rd home run and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-10 Friday night for their fifth straight win.

New York remained a half-game behind Cleveland in the AL wild-card race. The Yankees began the night 11/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.

With Toronto leading 3-2 with two outs in the second inning, Frank Menechino at the plate and the count 2-2, Johnson threw a pitch on the inside part of the plate that was called a ball. The 6-foot-10 left-hander yelled at umpire Fieldin Culbreth, who popped out to the first-base side of the plate and took off his mask.

Culbreth yelled something at Johnson and pointed at the pitcher. Johnson yelled something back, and the umpire then ejected him.

John Flaherty, New York’s catcher, got between Johnson and the umpire, and Yankees manager Joe Torre came out of the dugout to argue.

Johnson flipped the ball onto the infield before walking to the Yankees dugout.

Johnson allowed three runs and two hits, throwing 50 pitches. Scott Proctor relieved and retired Menechino on his first pitch.

It was Johnson’s shortest regular-season start since July 23, 1993, for Seattle at Cleveland, when he lasted 1 1-3 innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Johnson gave up eight runs in that game.

Cano hit a three-run homer off Dave Bush (5-9) in the third that put New York ahead 5-3 and a two-run shot off Brandon League in the fourth that boosted the lead to 11-3, the first multihomer game of his career. The rookie second baseman tied his career high of five RBIs, set Thursday at Tampa Bay. He had three hits and is batting .469 (23-for-49) in September. (20/44 coming in)

Devil Rays 6, Orioles 1

BALTIMORE – Scott Kazmir pitched six innings of two-hit ball, and Jorge Cantu hit two solo homers to carry the Tampa Bay Devil Rays over the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 on Friday night.

Carl Crawford homered and drove in three runs for the Devil Rays, who won at Camden Yards for the first time since July 7, 2004. Tampa Bay was 0-6 in Baltimore this season.

Kazmir (9-9) allowed one run, struck out four and walked five. The 21-year-old rookie is 6-2 in 12 starts since July 8. Danys Baez, the fourth Tampa Bay pitcher, got the final two outs for his 36th save.

Brian Roberts drove in the lone run for the Orioles, who finished with five hits.

Rangers 5, Mariners 3

ARLINGTON, Texas – Rod Barajas homered to give Texas the American League record for most home runs in a season at home, and Josh Rupe allowed two runs over five innings to win in his major league debut as the Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 5-3 on Friday night.

Barajas’ two-run shot in the fourth off Seattle rookie Felix Hernandez (3-4) was the 146th at home by Texas, one more than the record set last season by the Chicago White Sox.

The Rangers also tied a club record, established in 2001, with their major league-leading 246th homer.

Texas is three short of equaling the big league record for homers in a home park set by Colorado in 1996.

Seattle set the overall major league mark w

Indians 3, Royals 1

CLEVELAND – Casey Blake and Grady Sizemore hit consecutive fifth-inning homers, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1 Friday night to maintain their AL wild-card lead.

Scott Elarton (10-7) gave up one run and five hits in 7 2-3 innings as Cleveland won for the 10th time in 11 games. The Indians remained a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees in the wild-card race and 41/2 games back of first-place Chicago in the AL Central.

Cleveland is a major-league best 31-11 since July 31, cutting a division deficit that was 15 games on Aug. 1. The Indians open a three-game series at Chicago on Monday and conclude the regular season with three games against the White Sox at Jacobs Field.

Scott Sauerbeck got the final out of the eighth inning, and Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his 42nd save in 47 chances, completing a six-hitter.

White Sox 2, Twins 1

MINNEAPOLIS – Joe Crede drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single in the 10th inning, and the struggling Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Friday night.

The White Sox won for just the second time in eight games and maintained their 41/2-game lead over the Cleveland Indians, who beat the Kansas City Royals.

Chicago had a lead of 91/2 games on Sept. 7 and was 15 games up on Aug. 1.

Bobby Jenks (1-0) pitched the final 1 1-3 innings for his first major league win.

Jermaine Dye and A.J. Pierzynski started the 10th with singles, and Jesse Crain (10-5) made an error when he couldn’t handle Juan Uribe’s sacrifice bunt, loading the bases. Crede followed with a liner that hit Crain’s leg and bounced away, scoring Dye.

Mets 4, Braves 0

NEW YORK – Pedro Martinez threw his 17th career shutout, outpitching John Smoltz in their fourth meeting this season and leading the New York Mets over the Atlanta Braves 4-0 Friday night.

Martinez (15-7) allowed six hits and struck out 10, moving ahead of Hall of Famer Jim Bunning and into 14th place on the career strikeout list with 2,860.

He worked out of his biggest jam in the ninth, after a double by Rafael Furcal and a single by Marcus Giles put runners on first and third with nobody out

Martinez struck out Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones, walked Adam LaRoche but got Jeff Francoeur to fly to left to earn his first shutout with the Mets. The game took just 2 hours, 4 minutes..

Astros 2, Brewers 1

HOUSTON – Jeff Bagwell hit a run-scoring single in the ninth inning, and the Houston Astros beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Friday night.

Houston, which won its third straight game, began the night a half-game ahead of Florida and Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race. The Marlins and Phillies played Friday night.

With the score 1-1, Mike Lamb and Lance Berkman hit consecutive singles Dana Eveland (1-1). After Jason Lane struck out and Jose Vizcaino fouled out, Bagwell pinch hit for Brad Lidge (4-3) and singled to right-center, scoring pinch-runner Willy Taveras.

It was just Bagwell’s third appearance since he returned Sept. 9 after recuperating from shoulder surgery in May.

Cubs 5, Cardinals 3

CHICAGO – The St. Louis Cardinals’ wait to celebrate continues.

One day after clinching their fourth NL Central division title in six years, the Cardinals kept the champagne corked again Friday after losing 5-3 to the Chicago Cubs.

Though it has the tiebreaker over second-place Houston if the teams finish with 94 wins, St. Louis is holding off on a victory party until it gets one more win.

The Cubs kept the party on hold with two hits and three RBIs from Jeromy Burnitz and Derrek Lee’s 44th home run – a solo shot in the first inning..

The Cardinals’ Jim Edmonds hit his 28th home run in the top of the inning.


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