Friday, September 19, 2008

A-Rod reaches another milestone in Yankee win

NEW YORK: Alex Rodriguez became the first player with 35 homers and 100 RBIs in 12 seasons - one more than Babe Ruth - and the New York Yankees slowed the Chicago White Sox's pursuit of the American League Central title with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday.

Johnny Damon hit a two-run homer, Robinson Cano had three hits and Xavier Nady had a tying RBI single in the seventh inning.

Jermaine Dye had an RBI groundout off Phil Hughes, who was making his first start since April 29. That was all the White Sox could muster against Hughes and four relievers, who threw five shutout innings. The White Sox entered the night with a 2-1/2 game lead over Minnesota.

Hughes' return to the mound was cut short after just four innings. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up a run and four hits. Brian Bruney came on with a runner on second in the seventh and got three straight outs.

Tampa Bay 10, Boston 3

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Willy Aybar, Gabe Gross and Fernando Perez homered off Tim Wakefield and AL East-leading Tampa Bay beat Boston 10-3 to move closer to its first playoff berth.

Matt Garza gave up two long home runs to David Ortiz, but the Rays otherwise held the Red Sox in check to extend their division lead over them to two games.

Tampa Bay can clinch at least a wild-card playoff berth by beating Minnesota twice during a four-game series that begins Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Aybar, who was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, hit a two-run homer off Wakefield in the first inning. Aybar drove in the last of the six runs charged to the knuckleballer with a third-inning single off Devern Hansack.

Kansas 5, Seattle 2

In Kansas City, Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki matched Willie Keeler's major league record of eight straight 200-hit seasons on Wednesday when he connected for an infield single for his third hit against Kansas City

The Japanese star came into the game three hits short of the record set by Keeler from 1894-1901. After walking to lead off the game, he hit a double just inside first base in the third inning and a single over third base in the fifth.

Suzuki matched Keeler in the eighth inning when he hit a ground ball up the middle then narrowly beat shortstop Mike Aviles' throw to first base.

"It has been roughly 100 years since Wee Willie Keeler - in normal circumstances, there's no way I would associate with somebody that is that far apart from me," Suzuki said through an interpreter. "But thanks to something like this, I have the opportunity to be associated with him and cross paths with him. That's something that makes me very happy."

Suzuki reached 200 hits in 151 games this season after doing it in 136 games a year ago. Shortly after beating Aviles' throw, his accomplishment was broadcast by the ground announcer, leading to a standing ovation from the Kansas City crowd. It was similar to the response he received in Texas earlier this year when he reached 3,000 combined hits in the majors and Japanese leagues.

"Each time something like this happens, at first I think the game will keep flowing around," Suzuki said. "So when it actually happens, I'm surprised and I'm very happy and very thankful. When something like this happens, the locations become special places for me."

NY Mets 4, Washington 7

In Washington, the New York Mets snapped a three-game losing streak and retained control of the National League wildcard race with a 9-7 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

With the Philadelphia Phillies also winning, the Mets are one-half game out of the NL East lead and one-half game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers in the wildcard.

First-inning home runs by Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado helped spur the Mets to an early 7-1 advantage and starting pitcher Brandon Knight recorded his first career victory after throwing five innings and allowing two runs.

New York relinquished control of the NL East this week and is trying to avoid the type of collapse it suffered in 2007 when losing 12 of its last 17 games to miss the post-season despite leading the division for much of the year.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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