Rays can't stop their free fall

Lee gets 12th win as Tampa loses 5th in row

Toronto's Roy Halladay (11-6) went the distance to derail the Yankees and win his third straight start. Toronto's Roy Halladay (11-6) went the distance to derail the Yankees and win his third straight start. (Mike Cassese/Reuters)
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Associated Press / July 12, 2008

Cliff Lee is going to the All-Star Game on another shutout streak.

Cleveland's lefthander pitched six stellar innings in a warm-up for a possible All-Star start at Yankee Stadium as the Indians defeated visiting Tampa Bay, 5-0, last night to extend the Rays' season-high losing streak to five games.

"I'm just happy to be going," Lee (12-2) said of being selected to the AL squad for the first time. "I'm just planning to show up and try to do all I can to help my team win."

That's exactly what Lee did against Tampa Bay, joining Joe Saunders of the Los Angeles Angels for the AL lead in wins while lowering his ERA to 2.31.

Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer and RBI double off James Shields (7-6) as the Indians beat the Rays in Cleveland for the 11th consecutive time since Sept. 29, 2005.

The Indians entered the four-game series on a 10-game losing streak - their longest in 29 years - but have claimed consecutive wins for the first time since June 26-27.

Tampa Bay had won seven a row to open a five-game lead in the AL East July 6. A 10-inning loss Monday to Kansas City started the Rays on their current slide, in which they've been outscored, 32-7, and had their lead trimmed to 1 1/2 games over the Boston Red Sox.

"I'm not concerned," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We'll get through this."

Lee allowed five hits and struck out seven, improving to 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA in seven home starts. It was the sixth time in 18 starts he didn't allow an earned run.

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 0 - Roy Halladay threw a two-hitter and Matt Stairs and Rod Barajas homered to lead host Toronto over New York.

Halladay (11-6) won his third straight start and threw his major league-leading seventh complete game. He struck out eight and walked one. The righthander, who has 11 career shutouts, is 8-1 over his last 12 starts.

The Blue Jays extended their home winning streak to a season-high six games.

Phillies 6, Diamondbacks 5 - Jayson Werth hit a game-ending RBI single in the 12th inning and host Philadelphia beat Arizona in a matchup of NL division leaders.

Werth and Shane Victorino had three hits apiece for the Phillies, who have won three straight. Victorino tied it at 5 with a two-run triple off Tony Peña in the eighth inning.

Mets 2, Rockies 1 - Damion Easley's home run in the eighth inning carried host New York past Colorado, its seventh straight win.

Easley hit his third homer of the season on a 3-and-2 pitch from reliever Taylor Buchholz (3-3) with two outs. Closer Billy Wagner worked a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 27 chances.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 0 - Kyle Lohse limited Pittsburgh to six hits over seven shutout innings and Rick Ankiel (3 for 3) and Ryan Ludwick homered, helping visiting St. Louis break out of a scoring slump.

Lohse (11-2), one of the NL's biggest first-half pitching surprises, won his eighth in a row by limiting the Pirates to one extra-base hit. He hasn't lost in 12 starts since May 9, giving up two runs or fewer in all but two of his last 10.

Twins 3, Tigers 2 - Nick Punto drove in two runs and Minnesota's bullpen shut down host Detroit.

Punto had RBIs in the fourth and sixth innings before Delmon Young added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Nationals 10, Astros 0 - Ronnie Belliard homered twice and drove in five runs, Tim Redding (7-3) finally got a victory after nine consecutive no-decisions, and host Washington beat Houston.

Athletics 9, Angels 2 - Sean Gallagher allowed two hits over seven innings in his Oakland debut and fellow newcomer Mike Murton drove in two runs as the Athletics beat Los Angeles in Oakland, Calif.

Both players were acquired earlier in the week as part of a six-player trade that sent pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs.

Rangers 7, White Sox 2 - Josh Hamilton drove in two more runs, Luis Mendoza rebounded from a rough outing to strike out eight over six innings, and host Texas won.

Hamilton went 3 for 5 and leads the majors with 93 RBIs.

Royals 3, Mariners 1 - Luke Hochevar (6-7) scattered five hits over seven innings and David DeJesus doubled in two runs, helping host Kansas City defeat Seattle.

Reds 6, Brewers 5 - Jay Bruce scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning on the third wild pitch by the Brewers, allowing visiting Cincinnati to edge Milwaukee.

Cubs 3, Giants 1 - Aramis Ramirez broke a scoreless tie with a three-run homer in the eighth to send host Chicago over San Francisco.

Padres 4, Braves 0 - Scott Hairston (17 for 34, .500) remained on a hot streak with a double and a triple to back Jake Peavy (7-5) and help host San Diego beat Atlanta.

Marlins 3, Dodgers 1 - Chris Volstad came within one out of a shutout in his first major league start, Jeremy Hermida and Jorge Cantu hit back-to-back homers in the first inning, and Florida beat Los Angeles at Chavez Ravine.

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