AL: Zobrist drives in 10 in two games

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Jeff Niemann carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer to give him 10 RBIs for the day and the Tampa Bay Rays swept a day-night doubleheader with a 6-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

Niemann (1-3) gave up one run and two hits in seven innings, and John Jaso also went deep for the Rays, who pounded the Twins 15-3 in the first game. Zobrist went 7 for 10 with two homers and three doubles in the doubleheader. He set a club record with eight RBIs in the opener.

The Rays swept the rain-delayed three-game series, outscoring Minnesota 29-6. They have won five straight and 12 of 15 after a 1-8 start.

Denard Span led off the seventh inning with a soft single to break up Niemann's no-hit bid and Justin Morneau added an RBI single for the slumping Twins. Anthony Swarzak (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Rochester for an emergency start, gave up five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings for the Twins.

In the opener, Zobrist broke the team RBIs record of seven set by Carlos Pena in 2007.

Zobrist went 4 for 6, hitting an RBI single in the first, a three-run homer in the sixth and two-run doubles in the seventh and ninth. Johnny Damon had three hits, including an RBI triple, to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. B.J. Upton also had three hits to help the Rays match a season high with 19 hits.

Jeremy Hellickson (2-2) pitched 6 1-3 innings for the victory. Nick Blackburn (1-4) was the loser.

Indians 8, Royals 2

CLEVELAND (AP) - Fausto Carmona, backed by four solo home runs, pitched seven solid innings and Cleveland Indians earned its 10th straight home win, beating Kansas City to extend the Royals' losing streak to six.

Carmona (2-3) allowed two runs and five hits to help Cleveland open a 4 1/2-game lead over the Royals and Detroit in the AL Central. The right-hander walked two and struck out two.

Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana connected for consecutive homers with two outs in the first inning off Kyle Davies (1-3). Grady Sizemore opened the third with his fourth homer, and Shelley Duncan, a late lineup addition when designated hitter Travis Hafner was scratched because of an inflamed right ankle, began the fourth with his first of the year to make it 4-0.

Jeff Francoeur stretched his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games for Kansas City. He doubled in the seventh and Wilson Betemit followed with a two-run double to make it 8-2.

Blue Jays 5, Rangers 2

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Corey Patterson bunted home the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning and Toronto beat AL West-leading Texas to win a series for the first time in three weeks.

Patterson dragged a bunt to the right side that was fielded by Darren Oliver (1-2) with nobody covering first base. Patterson was credited with a single. John McDonald, who held at third base until the ball was safely in play, scored the go-ahead run. The Blue Jays, who took three of four games in the series, then added two more runs after Texas made two errors on the same play.

Adam Lind homered again for Toronto, his third in the series and fourth of the season.

Frank Francisco (1-0), who played his first six major league seasons in Texas before being traded in January, got the final four outs. The right-hander struck out Mitch Moreland after taking over with two on and two outs in the eighth, then worked a perfect ninth.

The Rangers finished 5-5 on their homestand and have lost nine of 15 after opening 9-1.

New York 12, White Sox 3

NEW YORK (AP) - Brett Gardner led off a six-run fifth inning with a homer for New York's first hit of the game, and Nick Swisher homered and had four RBIs for the Yankees.

CC Sabathia (2-1) pitched seven sharp innings to help New York gain a split of the four-game series. Swisher hit his first homer in 76 at-bats this season.

With Derek Jeter getting a planned day off and Mark Teixeira out with a sore shoulder, the Yankees struggled against Edwin Jackson (2-3) through the first four innings. But they did score twice in the third when Jackson walked four and threw a wild pitch as a light drizzle fell at Yankee Stadium. Robinson Cano, moved to third from fifth in the lineup, hit a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.

Sabathia improved to 17-4 against the White Sox in 30 career starts, a team he faced often with Cleveland in the AL Central. He is just one of two pitchers in big league history who has at least 25 starts and four or fewer losses against Chicago, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 2

BALTIMORE (AP) - Jon Lester improved to 14-0 against Baltimore with eight dominating innings, Dustin Pedroia hit a tiebreaking infield single and Boston Red Sox averted a three-game sweep.

Lester (3-1) is unbeaten in 17 career starts versus the Orioles. He allowed two runs on four hits, walked three and struck out five. After Derrek Lee's RBI single in the first, the left-hander didn't allow another hit until Vladimir Guerrero's solo homer in the sixth.

It was 2-all when Carl Crawford doubled off Jim Johnson (1-1) to the start the seventh. Crawford held second when Marco Scutaro couldn't execute a sacrifice bunt, took third on Jacoby Ellsbury's grounder and scored when third baseman Mark Reynolds bobbled Pedroia's slow roller.

Mariners 7, Tigers 2

DETROIT (AP) - Rookie Michael Pineda struck out nine in six sharp innings, and Miguel Olivo and Luis Rodriguez homered to help Seattle beat Detroit for a three-game sweep.

Ichiro Suzuki added two hits, and Justin Smoak hit an RBI double in the fourth inning that put Seattle ahead to stay. The Mariners swept a three-game set against Detroit for the first time since July 2003.

Pineda (4-1) struck out the first four batters he faced and finished with nine in six innings. Although he allowed a couple runs in the second inning, the 6-foot-7 right-hander was overpowering at times.

Brad Penny (1-3) was the loser.


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