Hank Blalock's two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning lifted the Texas Rangers to a 9-7 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. Juan Rivera's three-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth tied the game at 7-7 as the Angels erased a six-run deficit, but they were unable to stop the Rangers cutting Los Angeles's lead at the top of the West to just half a game.
"It was really great to see my teammates waiting for me at home plate," Blalock said. Blalock had already hit a fourth-inning home run and scored a sixth-inning double that helped start a five-run spree. But this was the first walk-off homer of his career and he called it his biggest home run since his eighth-inning game-winner in the 2003 All-Star Game. In Baltimore, Julio Lugo singled in the winning run in the 11th before Jonathan Papelbon became Boston Red Sox's career saves leader by closing out a 6-5 victory over the Orioles.
After blowing an 10-1 lead to lose 11-10 a day earlier, the East-leading Red Sox used a four-run ninth to level the contest. And after Lugo singled, Papelbon recorded three outs in the 11th for his 20th save this season and 133rd with Boston to edge ahead of Bob Stanley. New York remained two-and-a-half games back of Boston after Alex Rodriguez hit a tie-breaking homer and Andy Pettitte pitched seven strong innings as the Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 to record a seventh consecutive victory.
At Progressive Field, Jose Contreras pitched eight innings to help the Chicago White Sox win their fifth straight contest with a 6-2 triumph over the slumping Cleveland Indians. * With agencies