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Martin’s 3-run HR helps Yanks sink fading Rays

NEW YORK (AP) ― Nick Swisher drew a nice cheer for his rare bunt, Eduardo Nunez energized the crowd with three steals, and Russell Martin earned the biggest ovation for his home run.

The New York Yankees mixed and matched against Tampa Bay ― at the plate and on the mound ― and emerged with a 6-4 win Sunday that kept them ahead in the AL East and ended a most damaging road trip for the Rays.

Now, the Yankees can relax. For a bit, anyway.

“We have a day off. Guys are going to rest tomorrow,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s their last one of the year and they’d better rest because we still have a grind left.”
Cleveland Indians right fielder Choo Shin-soo is brushed back by a pitch in the second inning on Sunday. The Korean went 1 for 5 with two RBIs. (AFP-Yonhap News)
Cleveland Indians right fielder Choo Shin-soo is brushed back by a pitch in the second inning on Sunday. The Korean went 1 for 5 with two RBIs. (AFP-Yonhap News)

Martin’s three-run shot highlighted an eventful early burst as New York won with small ball and a longball.

The Yankees took the last two in the three-game series, and have 16 left to play. They began the day with a one-game division lead over Baltimore.

On Tuesday night, they host Toronto. Andy Pettitte rejoins the rotation for the first time since a batted ball broke his left leg in late June.

Minus ejected manager Joe Maddon, the Rays fell five games behind the Yankees and trail the Orioles and Los Angeles Angels in the wild-card scramble. Cleanup man Matt Joyce also was tossed as Tampa Bay finished 1-5 on its visit to Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards.

“The math isn’t in our favor,” Maddon said.

Then again, Tampa Ray pulled off an incredible rally last season to earn a playoff spot on the final day. This year, an extra slot is available.

“The baseball gods have created two wild cards, so let’s see what happens,” he said.

Orioles 9, Athletics 5

OAKLAND, California (AP) ― Matt Wieters hit two solo home runs and Endy Chavez had four hits to help the Baltimore Orioles beat the Oakland Athletics 9-5 on Sunday and remain within a game of the New York Yankees in the AL East.

Chavez drove in two runs for the Orioles, who have won four of six in snapping a three-game road losing streak. J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds, Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Robert Andino also drove in runs.

Josh Reddick, who drove in three runs, and Stephen Drew hit two-run home runs for the Athletics, who are two games ahead of the Orioles for the first wild-card spot. Adam Rosales had two hits.

Brian Matusz (6-10) retired all six batters he faced, two on strikeouts, to earn the victory. Jim Johnson got the last out for his 43rd save.

A’s starter Dan Straily (2-1) lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and five hits. He walked five and struck out one.

Straily’s effort ended the 44-game streak in which A’s pitchers had walked three or fewer batters.

Toronto 5, Boston 0

Cincinnati 5, Miami 4

Houston 7, Philadelphia 6

LA Angels 4, Kansas City 3

Milwaukee 3, NY Mets 0

Chicago 9, Minnesota 2

Chicago 13, Pittsburgh 9

Cleveland 7, Detroit 6

Texas 2, Seattle 1

San Diego 12, Colorado 11

Arizona 10, San Francisco 2

St. Louis 5, LA Dodgers 2

Atlanta 5, Washington 1