The Wrap: AL
AL Quote of the Night
"It's better than not being in first place."
-- Yankees Manager Joe Girardi on the existential joy of the team being alone in first place in the American League East for the first time since the final day of the 2006 season.
Cleveland pitcher Cliff Lee has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his six starts in May, unfortunately for Lee, this has only translated into one victory as again the Indians failed to help out the ace of their staff. Andy Pettitte got the win for New York despite leaving in the sixth inning with a sore back as the Yankees halted the Indians' four-game winning streak. With the victory, New York is now in sole possession of first place in the AL East.
Baltimore continued its winning ways by picking up its fifth straight victory. The story going into the game was the much-anticipated debut by top prospect Matt Wieters. Wieters went 0 for 4 at the plate Friday but the Orioles were more than fine with that as Luke Scott picked up the slack, hitting two home runs, including his first career grand slam. Scott became the first Oriole to have multi-homer games in back-to-back nights since Albert Belle accomplished the feat in 2000. While Wieters may not have crushed the ball in his debut, his presence behind the plate may have helped fellow rookie Brad Bergesen. Bergesen picked up his second win by pitching into the ninth inning with his friend and minor league battery-mate Wieters calling the game.
After a winless nine-game road trip, the Blue Jays were thrilled to be back home as Toronto rediscovered the win column Friday night. The Jays knocked out Boston's Tim Wakefield in the fifth inning after battering the knuckleballer to the tune of five runs in the inning and six total. Marco Scutaro and Scott Rolen each had multi-hit games for Toronto while Rolen and Rod Barajas both drove in two runs. Fittingly, the Blue Jays ended their streak against Wakefield, as it was with him on the mound in Boston that the team began its futility-filled road swing.
The Rangers pulled off a sweep of their Friday doubleheader against the Athletics by getting three runs in the bottom of the eighth in the first game and carrying that over to Game 2 where they scored four runs in the first. With the two wins, Texas is 29-19 on the year, good for the second best start in team history. The Rangers were able to pick up three home runs (one each by Marlon Byrd, Nelson Cruz and Andruw Jones) in the first game while the second game featured Scott Feldman improving to 4-0 this season.
Evan Longoria drove in three runs Friday night to help lead the Rays past the Twins and to their first win in nearly a week. Tampa Bay had lost five straight entering the series opener against Minnesota and Rays starting pitcher James Shields hadn't won since May 6. Twins pitcher Scott Baker continues to struggle, falling to 2-6 on the year after giving up four or more runs for the seventh time in nine starts this season.
Chicago slapped around Kansas City starter Brian Bannister for seven runs in five innings and Royals reliever Sidney Ponson for four runs in just 1/3 of an inning as the White Sox rolled Friday night. Every White Sox starter tallied at least one hit in the rout with Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski and Josh Fields each notching three. Ramirez, Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko each drove in a pair of runs as Chicago picked up its third win in four games while handing the struggling Royals their seventh loss in their past nine games.
A three-run third inning proved to be the difference for Seattle as the Mariners collected their second win in a row - a feat the team has not accomplished since late April. The Angels played a hand in those back-to-back wins as well but were only responsible for one of the two this time around as Friday's game was the first in a three-game set in Los Angeles. John Lackey took his first loss of the season after being responsible for all five of Seattle's runs. Jason Vargas improved to 2-0 this year by allowing two runs on just four hits over 6 1/3 innings. Vargas was making just his fourth start this season as he was added in the rotation to replace the injured Carlos Silva.
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