Red Sox Lowe beats Zito to become AL#039;s first 16-game winner
Derek Lowe felt like he had something to prove against fellow 15-game winner Barry Zito.
Lowe outpitched Oakland's ace to become the AL's first 16-game winner as the Boston Red Sox beat the Athletics 4-2 Thursday night to move within one-half game of Anaheim in the wild card race. The A's, whose four-game winning streak ended, are 1 1/2 back.
''This is the first game, in my little short starting career, that I felt I had to win and it is the first time I ever put that pressure on myself,'' Lowe said.
Two seasons ago, Lowe saved 42 games for the Red Sox in an AL-leading 64 appearances. In his first full season as a starter, Lowe has even outperformed teammate Pedro Martinez in going 16-5.
Lowe allowed five hits and one walk with six strikeouts in seven innings. Miguel Tejada's solo homer in the sixth ended Lowe's scoreless streak at 29 2-3 innings, longest in the majors this season and the longest since Greg Maddux's 39 1-3 innings in September 2000. He lowered his league-leading ERA from 2.13 to 2.09.
Of Lowe's 21 outs, only one reached the outfield. He got 12 outs on grounders, six on strikeouts and two on popups to shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek.
''It was a heavyweight battle,'' said Oakland's Scott Hatteberg, who spent the past five seasons with Boston. ''He's unbelievable and I can't stand facing him.''
Zito (15-5) gave up seven hits in his first complete game of the season. He lost his second consecutive start after going 11-1 in his previous 13.
''You love to pitch in a game you know will be low-scoring,'' he said. ''If I made the pitches, the outcome would have been different.''
Cliff Floyd hit his first homer for Boston since being obtained last week from Montreal and 22nd of the season in the eighth inning to make it 4-1.
Yankees 6, Royals 3
Alfonso Soriano, Raul Mondesi and Robin Ventura homered to account for all the Yankees' runs, and Mariano Rivera returned from the disabled list to close out New York's win.
Activated before the game after recovering from a strained right shoulder, Rivera pitched a perfect inning for his 25th save in 29 chances.
Andy Pettitte (7-4) won his third start in a row, pitching into the eighth inning.
Orioles 4, Twins 1
Chris Richard and Jeff Conine drove in two runs each to back Travis Driskill as Baltimore completed a three-game sweep at Camden Yards.
It was the fourth straight defeat for Minnesota, matching its longest skid of the season (April 8-11).
Driskill (8-5) allowed one run and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings to outpitch Brad Radke (4-3), who gave up four runs and five hits in seven innings.
Devil Rays 4, Indians 2
In Cleveland, Paul Wilson won his third straight start and Tampa Bay went 8-for-14 with two outs over the first six innings against Danys Baez (8-9).
Wilson (5-7) won for the first time in nine road starts since April 10. He allowed one run on six hits, striking out four in eight innings.
He has yielded just four earned runs in his last 22 innings and has an ERA of 2.58 since the All-Star break.
Tigers 2, Rangers 1
Jose Lima allowed nine hits in 5 1-3 innings and host Detroit scored twice in the fourth inning to defeat Texas.
Lima (3-5) allowed one run and walked none, throwing 53 of 71 pitches for strikes.
Rangers starter Ismael Valdes (5-9) allowed both Detroit runs and only four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out eight.
Mariners 3, Blue Jays 1
Jamie Moyer took a shutout into the eighth inning and Jeff Cirillo had three hits as visiting Seattle beat Toronto.
Edgar Martinez had a two-run single in the third and Cirillo hit a run-scoring double in the sixth for the Mariners, who have won 15 of their last 18 games at SkyDome.
Moyer (12-4) allowed one run and six hits in 7 2-3 innings.
White Sox 3, Angels 2
Jim Parque won for the first time in nearly two years, leading Chicago past Anaheim.
Parque, in his first outing since May 2, allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings for his first win since Sept. 23, 2000, at Minnesota. Parque underwent shoulder surgery in May 2001 and made three relief appearances earlier this year before going to Triple-A Charlotte on a rehab assignment.
Frank Thomas hit his 19th home run, and Carlos Lee hit his 18th off Aaron Sele (8-8) for Chicago. The Associated Press