ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Carlos Pena and Willy Aybar homered Wednesday night, helping the Tampa Bay Rays stop a three-game losing streak with a 9-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels and nemesis John Lackey.

Pena hit a solo homer in the third inning and Aybar added a two-run shot off Lackey (1-2) for a 9-5 lead in the fifth. Aybar also had a RBI single during Tampa Bay’s five-run second against the Angels starter, who had won nine of 10 previous decisions against Tampa Bay.

The Rays, who suffered from a lack of timely hitting during their three-game skid, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to build a 7-3 lead for Jeff Niemann. But the rookie right-hander lasted just 3 2-3 innings.

Lance Cormier (1-1) pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings for the win. Jason Isringhausen, Joe Nelson and Dan Wheeler finished up, holding the Angels to one hit – Vladimir Guerrero’s ninth-inning triple – over the last three innings.

Royals 9, Indians 0

CLEVELAND – Gil Meche tied a career high with 11 strikeouts over seven innings and the Kansas City Royals hit three home runs in a 9-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Alberto Callaspo had a career-high four hits including his first career grand slam for Kansas City. The Royals also got two-run homers from Jose Guillen and Miguel Olivo to win for only the fourth time in their last 19 games.

Meche (3-5) allowed four hits and three walks in winning for the first time in seven starts. Since beating Minnesota on May 3, the right-hander had gone 0-3 with a 4.02 ERA with the Royals losing each time.

Tigers 2, White Sox 1

CHICAGO – Justin Verlander pitched a six-hitter for his first victory ever at U.S. Cellular Field as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Chicago White Sox 2-1.

Jim Thome hit his 552nd career home run and John Danks pitched 7 1-3 strong innings, but the White Sox still fell 61/2 games behind AL Central-leading Detroit. Adam Everett homered for the Tigers, who have won five of their last six games.

Verlander (7-2) struck out nine and walked one in his second complete game this year. He has a 7-0 record and league-low 1.10 ERA since April 27.

Mariners 4, Orioles 1

BALTIMORE – Jose Lopez homered twice, Felix Hernandez pitched seven solid innings and the Seattle Mariners beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-1.

Lopez finished with three hits, raising his batting average over the last 11 games to .372 (16 for 43). He hit a solo drive in the second inning and a two-run shot in the sixth for his third career multihomer game.

Hernandez (6-3) allowed just one run and seven hits to improve to 4-0 for his career at Camden Yards. Hernandez has a 0.95 ERA over his last four starts this season.

Cardinals 13, Marlins 4

MIAMI – Rick Ankiel finished a single shy of the cycle and Colby Rasmus also homered as the St. Louis Cardinals snapped a five-game losing streak with a 13-4 victory over the Florida Marlins.

The Cardinals scored their season high runs on 18 hits. It was the most runs scored by St. Louis since Aug. 18, 2008, at Atlanta in an 18-3 win.

Brendan Ryan went a career-best 4 for 4, all singles, scored twice and drove in a run, while Tyler Greene had a career-high three hits.

Pirates 3, Braves 2

ATLANTA – Adam LaRoche drove in two runs, Jeff Karstens pitched well in his new role and Craig Monroe pulled off some nifty baserunning to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Atlanta Braves 3-2.

Charlie Morton was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis to start against his former team, but the Pirates right-hander lasted only one inning before a tight right hamstring ended his night.

Pittsburgh turned to Karstens (3-4), who was bumped to the bullpen by Morton’s promotion. The former starter gave up one run in 4 2-3 innings to earn the win, snapping Pittsburgh’s three-game losing streak.

Phillies 5, Mets 4

NEW YORK – Chase Utley led off the 11th inning with his second homer of the game, moments after right fielder Jayson Werth saved Philadelphia with a diving catch, and the Phillies beat the New York Mets 5-4.

New York built a three-run lead against World Series MVP Cole Hamels, who faced the Mets for the first time since calling them “choke artists” in the offseason – the latest in a series of verbal barbs between the NL East rivals.

Astros 2, Cubs 1

HOUSTON – Geoff Blum singled in the winning run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Houston Astros to a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs wasted a dominant start from Carlos Zambrano, who allowed a run on three hits through eight innings.

Angel Guzman replaced Zambrano and Miguel Tejada led off the ninth with a single. Hunter Pence walked, and Carlos Lee flew out to center, with Tejada tagging to third with a head-first slide.

Guzman (2-1) intentionally walked Lance Berkman to load the bases and Blum lined a single up the middle, bringing home Tejada to give the Astros.

Chris Sampson (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Wandy Rodriguez to earn the victory.


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