The Wrap: AL
AL Quote of the Night
"It's pretty much a blueprint on how to get your team to hate you."
-- Athletics starting pitcher Dallas Braden who gave up two leads against the Yankees
The Yankees extended their AL East lead to 2 ½ games with a win over the A's, the team's ninth in its last 10 games - all at home. After starter Sergio Mitre allowed two runs in the top of the first, New York came back with four of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Oakland again took the lead in the sixth but the Yankees once again responded, scoring three in the bottom half of that inning to provide the final margin of victory. New York had the pleasure of opening the second half of the season with a 10-game homestand with series against two last place teams (Baltimore and Oakland) and the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.
The Orioles managed to avoid a sweep and topped the Red Sox at Fenway Park for the first time since July 11, 2008. Rookie David Hernandez picked up the win, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. Baltimore knocked around Boston starter John Smoltz, scoring all six of its runs over five innings against the struggling veteran. Slumping slugger Aubrey Huff was given the day off so Nick Markakis filled in at cleanup for the O's for the first time this season and delivered, going 2 for 4 with 3 RBI and a home run.
The Twins effectively stomped out the Angels' hot streak thanks in no small part to Justin Morneau. The Minnesota first baseman hit two home runs and drove in three runs to help put an end to Los Angeles' eight-game winning streak. Denard Span had four RBI and Nick Punto had three of his own as the Twins ushered Angels starter Ervin Santana out of the game after 3 2/3 innings and six runs. Los Angeles fell to 16-5 in July after Minnesota rookie Anthony Swarzak allowed just one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings.
The White Sox gained some ground on the AL Central-leading Tigers by riding a strong pitching performance to victory. Clayton Richard pitched eight innings of one-run ball to outduel fellow young starter Rick Porcello. Porcello was in trouble early on as Chicago scored all five of its runs in the first two innings but did manage to pitch into the seventh without allowing any further damage. Paul Konerko and rookie Gordon Beckham each hit a homer run to lead the White Sox who now sit two games behind the Tigers.
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