Orioles shut down Blue Jays
Joe Saunders began pondering perfection just one inning into his latest start.
Saunders and three relievers combined on a three-hitter and the charging Baltimore Orioles blanked the Blue Jays, 4-0, Monday in Toronto, cutting their AL East deficit to one game.
The Orioles, who took two of three at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, moved even closer to New York. The Yankees lost, 4-3, at Tampa Bay.
J.J. Hardy drove in two runs as the Orioles won for the eighth time in 10 games. The one-game gap marks the closest anyone has been to the Yankees since mid-June.
Acquired recently from Arizona, Saunders (1-1) retired the first 17 Blue Jays batters before hanging a changeup to nine-hole hitter Adeiny Hechavarria, who lined a two-out single to center in the sixth.
Baltimore, which had lost four in a row at Toronto, collected its eighth shutout of the season.
The Orioles have won 20 of 28 overall.
Rangers 8, Royals 4 — Yu Darvish retired the first 17 batters, Texas hit five home runs and the Rangers beat host Kansas City.
Geovany Solo had a three-run blast in the second, Josh Hamilton hit a solo shot in the third for his 38th home run, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning, and Michael Young added a 2-run drive in the ninth for Texas, which won for the ninth time in 12 games.
The AL West leaders moved a season-high 26 games over .500.
Angels 8, Athletics 3 — Chris Iannetta hit a two-run homer in a three-hit day, Vernon Wells had a solo shot and RBI single, and visiting Los Angeles snapped Oakland’s season-best nine-game winning streak.
C.J. Wilson (11-9) shut down the red-hot Athletics in the Angels’ sixth victory in the last seven.
Nationals 2, Cubs 1 — Ross Detwiler allowed four hits in seven shutout innings and Adam LaRoche homered, giving host Washington its first winning season.
The NL East-leading Nationals improved to 82-52.
Cardinals 5, Mets 4 — Rookie Joe Kelly pitched 6⅔ effective innings and also doubled, and host St. Louis took advantage of a baserunning mistake to beat New York.
Andres Torres led off the Mets ninth with an apparent double, but was called out by first base umpire Dave Rackley on an appeal for missing first base.
Skip Schumaker hit a solo homer and Matt Carpenter drove in two runs for the NL wild card-leading Cardinals.
Indians 3, Tigers 2 — Asdrubal Cabrera’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh inning lifted Cleveland to a win over Detroit, giving righthander Corey Kluber his first career victory.
Astros 5, Pirates 1 — Brett Wallace had three hits, including a three-run homer, to lift visiting Houston.
Garrett Jones had three hits for the struggling Pirates, who dropped their fourth straight while trying to remain in contention for the NL wild card race.
Braves 6, Rockies 1 — Kris Medlen struck out a career high 12 to lead host Atlanta.
The righthander allowed five hits without a walk in his second complete game of the season.
Giants 9, Diamondbacks 8 — Marco Scutaro hit an RBI single in the 10th inning after Buster Posey’s tying double in the ninth, and host San Francisco rallied to beat Arizona.
Phillies 4, Reds 2 — Jimmy Rollins hit a three-run homer off Johnny Cueto during a cloudburst that sent fans scurrying for cover to lift visiting Philadelphia. It was Rollins’s 1,999th career hit.
Marlins 7, Brewers 3 — In Miami, Jose Reyes drove in three runs and the Marlins snapped a four-game losing streak.