The Wrap: AL (Hosted Games)
AL-ish Quote of the Night
"Every time I play here, it's a little special because I have the memories of coming here as a boy."
-- Astros outfielder Hunter Pence who grew up a Rangers fan and hit a home run Thursday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Hunter Pence hit a solo home run, part of a two-run eighth inning that pushed the Astros past the Rangers. By winning the series finale between the two Lone Star teams, Houston avoided a season sweep. Texas held a 3-0 lead after four innings but watched as the Astros slowly chipped away by scoring once in the fifth and twice each in the sixth and eighth innings.
The Nationals got another solid pitching performance, this time from rookie Craig Stammen to take two of three from the Yankees in New York. Stammen worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings to get his first career win. Ryan Zimmerman went 3 for 5 with two runs and an RBI to lead the Nats to consecutive wins for the first time since winning three straight on a West Coast swing in early May.
The Orioles won for the first time this season when trailing after eight innings, scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth against Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez. Rodriguez worked himself into a bases loaded jam with no one out then walked Adam Jones to score the tying run. Rodriguez struck out Nick Markakis to bring Aubrey Huff up. For the second straight night, Huff delivered, hitting a single to drive in the winning run a day after hitting the game-winning homer in the seventh inning.
Nick Blackburn threw his first career complete game, allowing one run and six hits to lead the Twins to a series win over the visiting Pirates. Zach Duke took the loss for Pittsburgh to fall to 7-5 on the season despite delivering his 10th quality start of the year. Minnesota DH Brian Buscher hit a two-run homer in the eighth while Brendan Harris, Michael Cuddyer and Nick Punto each had multi-hit games to lead the Twins' offense.
One off inning often is the undoing of a pitcher. When a game only lasts six innings, that one bad inning gets magnified. Such was the case for Boston's Jon Lester who gave up two runs in the second inning to take the loss. Lester gave up eight hits and threw 110 pitches so he had his struggles. Conversely, Florida's Ricky Nolasco was cruising, allowing one hit (a Kevin Youkilis solo home run) in his five innings while striking out five with 74 pitches. The Red Sox only got one other player on base when David Ortiz reached thanks to an Emilio Bonifacio error. The game was called midway through the sixth inning after a rain delay of 2 hours, 26 minutes.
Five Diamondbacks players had multi-hit games as Arizona topped Kansas City by a 12-5 score for the second night in a row. Chris Young went 4 for 4 and Justin Upton went 3 for 5 to lead the hit parade while outfielder Gerardo Parra drove in three runs and hit a solo homer. Luke Hochevar bore the brunt of Arizona's abuse, allowing seven runs over four innings in his first start since needing only 80 pitches to throw his first career complete game. The Royals had 12 hits of their own with eight different players getting in on the act, but Kansas City couldn't figure out a way to get runs across against Diamondbacks starter Dan Haren who picked up his sixth win.
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