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For their own good
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AL: Rangers make Yanks' stay in first last one day
Published July 20, 2005
ARLINGTON, Texas - Hank Blalock was glad to know he was going to knock in the tying run with his hard hit toward the gap. The Rangers third baseman felt even better when the ball hit the top of the fence, then went over.
Blalock's two-out, two-run homer in the eighth inning dropped into the Texas bullpen, giving the Rangers a 2-1 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
"It was a breaking ball, I just reacted to it and hit it," Blalock said. "Off my bat, I was glad I could drive the tying run in. Then it bounced off the top of the fence."
David Dellucci and Michael Young started the eighth with consecutive singles off Wayne Franklin before Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play. Blalock then hit a breaking ball for his 19th homer, the Rangers' major league-leading 157th.
New York lost for the third time in 14 games and dropped a half-game behind Boston in the East one day after taking sole possession of first place for the first time since a season-opening victory over the Red Sox.
Tanyon Sturtze was unavailable after pitching 21/3 innings Monday, and the Yankees were saving Tom Gordon as their closer because Mariano Rivera had pitched four of the previous five days. That left manager Joe Torre with no reliable options.
"It wasn't a bad outing for Franklin, but it was a bad pitch," Torre said. "He'd gotten three ground balls in a row, but he left a breaking ball up."
Texas manager Buck Showalter joked that the pitchers sitting in the bullpen had their feet on the fence pushing forward as Blalock's ball came toward them. It was that close.
A night after the Yankees won 11-10 in the opener of the series matching two of the majors' three highest-scoring teams, pitching and defense dominated.
"It was a funny win tonight," Showalter said. "It's hard to believe they were the same teams out there."
TWINS 4, ORIOLES 3: Jacque Jones beat out an infield single to drive in the winner in the ninth and lift host Minnesota. B.J. Ryan blew his fifth save in 26 chances, three of those against the Twins.
With Baltimore ahead 3-2, Joe Mauer walked with one out, stole second as Shannon Stewart struck out and took third when replacement catcher Eli Whiteside's throw sailed into the outfield for an error. Mauer then scored on Ryan's wild pitch.
Matthew LeCroy walked, Torii Hunter advanced pinch-runner Michael Ryan to third and Jones drove him in with his bouncer up the middle.
A'S 3, ANGELS 1: Rich Harden came within one out of becoming the first Oakland pitcher in more than four years to record consecutive shutouts, combining with Huston Street on a four-hitter for the visiting Athletics. Harden retired 19 of 20 before giving up Steve Finley's two-out single in the ninth. The A's conceded second to Finley, and Bengie Molina chased Harden with a run-scoring single to center.
TIGERS 7, WHITE SOX 1: Omar Infante hit a three-run homer to back Jeremy Bonderman, and visiting Detroit stopped Chicago's five-game winning streak. Infante's sixth homer of the season gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the second. They scored four more off Jose Contreras with two outs in the sixth on five straight hits, four of them doubles.
ROYALS 4, INDIANS 0: Zack Greinke pitched seven shutout innings for his second win since the All-Star break and Emil Brown homered off unlucky starter Kevin Millwood, lifting visiting Kansas City. The Indians, who have lost 10 of 12 since July 5, have scored two in Millwood's four starts this month.
BLUE JAYS 12, MARINERS 10: Eric Hinske homered twice and host Toronto held on. Hinske hit a two-run homer off Aaron Sele in the third, and his two-run shot off Matt Thornton in the sixth gave the Blue Jays a 12-9 lead after Seattle had gotten within one in the top half.