The Wrap: AL
AL Quote of the Night
"It's embarrassing. Eleven straight losses. Not fun at all."
-- Rays pitcher James Shields
The feel good team of 2008 has sadly reverted back to the also-ran losers of the past decade as Tampa Bay dropped its 10th and 11th straight losses in Boston on Sunday. The Rays have been outscored 61-23 during the tailspin - their longest losing streak since 2007 - and have plummeted out of the playoff picture. Boston was able to pull off the sweep of the doubleheader and the three-game series thanks to dominant pitching performances from Clay Buchholz (seven innings, one run, five hits, five strikeouts) and Jon Lester (eight innings, no runs, two hits, seven strikeouts). With the wins, the Red Sox increased their wild-card lead to four games over the Texas Rangers.
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki became the first player to collect 200 or more hits in nine consecutive seasons, achieving the feat with an infield single in the second game of a doubleheader in Texas. The record of eight straight seasons was held by Willie Keeler and had stood for 108 years. While the Rangers were on the wrong side of history, they still did get a split against the Mariners. Doubleheaders are becoming par for the course in Texas as this was the team's third of the month but the first time the Rangers hadn't swept. The split cost Texas a game in the AL wild-card standings as Boston also played a doubleheader and won both games.
Rick Porcello outpitched fellow rookie of the year candidate Ricky Romero, allowing two runs over six innings to help the Tigers end a five-game skid. Detroit used a pair of three-run innings to distance itself from the Blue Jays and got two RBI each from Brandon Inge and Gerald Laird. Despite the poorly timed losing streak, the Tigers remain atop the AL Central, 5½ games ahead of the Minnesota Twins.
The Yankees used an eight-run eighth inning to rout the Orioles and end Baltimore's hopes of earning a three-game sweep in New York for the first time since June 1986. CC Sabathia earned his seventh straight victory despite lacking his best stuff. The large left-hander gave up three runs on five hits over seven innings while walking four and tallying just one strikeout. Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie took the loss, allowing five runs over 5 2/3 innings but watched as relievers Chris Waters and Bob McCrory each gave up four runs during a nightmarish eighth.
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