NEW YORK — Chris Nelson hit his first two home runs of the season, including a grand slam against his former team, to send C.J. Wilson and the Los Angeles Angels past the New York Yankees 8-4 on Thursday.
Josh Hamilton and rookie J.B. Shuck each had an RBI single to help the struggling Angels prevent a four-game sweep. Wilson (13-6) won his fifth consecutive decision, keeping Alfonso Soriano in the ballpark after the streaking slugger piled up four homers and 13 RBIs the previous two nights.
Soriano extended his sensational tear, going 4 for 5 with an RBI single, but the Yankees managed little else until a three-run ninth as their four-game winning streak ended. After finishing a 5-2 homestand, they head to Fenway Park this weekend to face first-place Boston.
Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1
TORONTO — Pinch hitter Mark DeRosa hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, Mark Buehrle pitched seven innings to win his fourth straight decision and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox.
Buehrle (9-7) came in 0-4 with a 4.97 ERA in his previous eight starts against the Red Sox, a team he hadn’t beaten since Sept. 7, 2009, with the White Sox. The left-hander allowed one run and 10 hits, walked two and struck out four.
Darren Oliver worked the eighth and Casey Janssen finished for his 22nd save in 24 chances.
Making his third start with Boston since coming over in a July 30 trade with the Chicago White Sox, Jake Peavy (9-5) allowed two runs and five hits in six-plus innings. He walked none and struck out four.
Tigers 4, Royals 1
DETROIT — Prince Fielder homered for the first time in three weeks, hitting a two-run shot in the first inning to help the Detroit Tigers to a victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Andy Dirks added two doubles and two singles for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who took the opener of this five-game series with third-place Kansas City. The Royals have lost three in a row after a 17-3 stretch that put them in contention for a postseason spot.
Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez (11-7) allowed a run and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings. Bruce Rondon finished the eighth, and Joaquin Benoit pitched a hitless ninth for his 16th save in 16 chances.
Jeremy Guthrie (12-9) allowed four runs and 13 hits in seven innings.
Rays 7, Mariners 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alex Cobb pitched five strong innings in his first big league game since being hit in the head by a batted ball two months ago and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Seattle Mariners.
Cobb (7-2) ended his night by striking out Nick Frankiln on a full-count pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. He received a standing ovation as he walked off the field. The right-hander gave up one run and three hits, striking out six and walking two,
Wil Myers, who had four RBIs, drove in two with a double and Evan Longoria added a two-run homer off Joe Saunders (10-12) that put the Rays up 5-1 in the fifth.
Athletics 5, Astros 0
OAKLAND, Calif. — Sonny Gray struck out nine on the way to an impressive first major league victory, using Nate Freiman’s two-run homer and four RBIs to lead the Oakland Athletics to a victory over Houston that averted a three-game sweep by the lowly Astros.
Freiman had a two-run double in the first, and then hit his third home run in the third with a drive to the left-field stands. He finished with four hits.
The 23-year-old Gray (1-1) allowed four hits and walked one over eight innings, throwing 118 pitches in his second career start and fourth big league appearance.