Although he had never beaten them before, Miami Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez pitching against the Tampa Bay Rays was a sure-fire recipe for another shutout. Alvarez delivered Tuesday night, scattering eight hits and striking out five for his major league-leading third shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory against the Rays. Alvarez came in 0-5 against them for his career.
Tampa Bay, which has scored a total of six runs over its past six games, has lost eight in a row. The Rays also announced that outfielder Wil Myers would miss two months because of a stress fracture in his right wrist.
Including the no-hitter he tossed at the end of the 2013 season, Alvarez's past four victories have been shutouts. He's also pitched three consecutive scoreless outings, covering 19 innings. Alvarez said the Rays, who saw only 88 pitches, fell right into his trap:
''My sinker was working, and thankfully the batters were swinging early,'' Alvarez said through a translator. ''That determines the brevity of the game. I was attacking the strike zone, and they were attacking as well.''
NINTH-INNING WAKEUP CALL: Playing a scoreless ballgame through eight innings, the Toronto Blue Jays scored five in the ninth and held on to beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3 at Comerica Park. With Joe Nathan pitching, Toronto broke through on what could have been an inning-ending double-play ball, but shortstop Andrew Romine shied away from second baseman Ian Kinsler and the ball sneaked through for an RBI single by Jose Bautista. After a sacrifice fly, Brett Lawrie lined a three-run homer to right to pad the lead to 5-0.
Nathan, who was charged with four runs, has a 6.86 ERA for the Tigers. Nathan, 39, didn't know what to say about his performance:
''I'm at a loss for words. I thought I threw pretty well,'' Nathan said. ''I've got to be better. A lot of bad luck out there, too. But the biggest thing is another loss for the team.''
Drew Hutchison for the Jays and Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers matched each other with seven scoreless innings.
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CRUZ HOMERS IN RETURN TO TEXAS:
Nelson Cruz seemed to enjoy his 21st home run trot of the season a little more than the others — possibly because it came against his former team, the Texas Rangers. Cruz even said something to friend Elvis Andrus as he went by rounding the bases. But looks were deceiving: Cruz actually was cramping up. That's why it took so long for him to get around. Regardless, his three-run shot in the eighth capped the scoring in an 8-2 victory for the Baltimore Orioles.
It was hard to say if fans at Globe Life Park were shouting "boo!" or "Cruuuz!" louder.
''I haven't seen him in a while and I got to see him and talk to him, playing around a little bit. It was a great feeling. I didn't like anytime he popped one,'' Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. ''I've seen too many when he was on this side, but he's a talented guy. Whenever he's on, he can carry a team.''
Cruz sat out the final 50 games of the regular season in 2013 for violating baseball's drug agreement, and left the Rangers over the winter via free agency when he declined to sign a $14.1 million qualifying offer.
10TH INNING OUTBURST CARRIES A'S:
Brandon Moss broke a tie with his second home run of the game, and the Oakland Athletics piled on against the New York Yankees for a three-run 10th inning and a 5-2 victory. Moss also homered to tie the score in the fifth inning, and the A's also rallied in the eighth to tie the score against Dellin Betances.
The A's are 11-3 at Yankee Stadium since July 19, 2012.
''We have a very confident offense,'' Moss said.
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