Yankees climb above .500 with 7-6 victory

From the Associated Press

Alex Rodriguez concedes the New York Yankees have a lot of work ahead.

Still, winning three of four games against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to climb above .500 for the first time in more than three weeks is a nice start for a team that spent the first half of the season digging itself into a deep hole.

“It’s huge,” Rodriguez said after a 7-6 victory Sunday. “We have to feel like we want to win series -- two out of three, three out of four. Anything else is not what we’re looking for.”

Derek Jeter hit a two-run homer, Andy Phillips broke an eighth-inning tie with a run-scoring single and New York (45-44) moved above .500 for the first time since June 22. The second-place Yankees cut Boston’s lead to nine games in the American League East, the first time they’ve been within single digits since June 19.


“This was a hugely important game for us,” Manager Joe Torre said. “We just kept hanging in there and grinding.”

Mariano Rivera wriggled out of a two-on, none-out jam in the ninth for the 426th save of his career.



* Detroit 11, at Seattle 7: Marcus Thames hit a two-out, three-run homer against Jeff Weaver in the fourth inning and Justin Verlander pitched seven solid innings for the Tigers. The Mariners got a major scare in the fifth when All-Star MVP center fielder Ichiro Suzuki was hit near his right thigh by a fastball by Verlander. Suzuki had to come out of the game. X-rays were negative, but he is questionable for today’s game.

* at Minnesota 4, Oakland 3: Joe Mauer singled home the winning run in the ninth inning after Justin Morneau hit a tying homer in the eighth. The Twins earned their fifth series sweep this season and first four-game sweep since taking four in a row against Kansas City from Aug. 3 to Aug. 6, 2006.

* Toronto 2, at Boston 1: Rookie Jesse Litsch held Boston to one run in 6 2/3 innings, and Lyle Overbay had three hits against All-Star game winner Josh Beckett to lead the Blue Jays. Beckett (12-3) has lost two of his last three starts and remains tied for the major league lead in wins with C.C. Sabathia of the Indians and John Lackey of the Angels.

* at Baltimore 5, Chicago 3: Brian Roberts and Corey Patterson homered, rookie Garrett Olson earned his first major league win, and the Orioles handed Jose Contreras his league-high 11th loss. The Orioles have their first three-game winning streak under interim Manager Dave Trembley, who is 12-10 since taking over for Sam Perlozzo.


* at Cleveland 5, Kansas City 3: Travis Hafner had three hits, including a long two-run homer to help Fausto Carmona (11-4) improve to 8-0 with a 1.98 earned-run average in nine daytime starts. The Indians improved baseball’s best home record to 33-13.

* New York 7, at Tampa Bay 6: Derek Jeter hit a two-run homer as the Yankees climbed above .500 for the first time in more than three weeks.

* Texas 5, at Angels 4 (11 innings): Mark Teixeira homered against Justin Speier in the 11th inning. Chone Figgins stole three bases to break the Angels’ record for career steals.