The New York Yankees' struggling starters are beginning to put it together -- just in time for a big series against Boston.
After struggling with his mechanics the last few weeks, Javier Vazquez found his groove last night in pitching host New York to its second straight shutout victory.
"I got my confidence back a little bit," Vazquez said after throwing seven impressive innings in a 3-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals. "Hopefully, I'll get on a roll now."
Tom Gordon worked the eighth, and Mariano Rivera finished the four-hitter for his 49th save.
The Yankees have posted back-to-back shutouts, a big boost for a rotation that has struggled all season. Mike Mussina gave up only three hits and struck out 11 in eight innings of a 4-0 victory over the Royals on Tuesday night.
Derek Jeter homered and doubled twice, and Tony Clark also connected for the Yankees, who lead the AL East by four games over Boston. The teams open a three-game series on Friday at Yankee Stadium.
Jason Giambi went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in his second game back from the disabled list. He is hitless in his last 28 major league at-bats.
Vazquez (14-9) allowed three hits and four walks, striking out seven for his first win in six starts. He was 0-3 with a 9.99 ERA in his previous five outings.
"When you struggle a little bit, you get away from what's been successful," he said. "I was trying to hit the corners too much."
* RED SOX 8, DEVIL RAYS 6: Manny Ramirez hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Kevin Millar and Mark Bellhorn had two-run homers for host Boston. With the score tied at 6, Boston loaded the bases with no outs on walks by Doug Mirabelli, Kevin Youkilis and Johnny Damon. One batter later, Ramirez lined out to right, scoring pinch runner Adam Hyzdu.
* RANGERS 10, ATHLETICS 3: Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer off Mark Mulder and Texas moved up in the playoff chase with a win in Oakland, Calif.
Hank Blalock had a homer and a two-run double, and Alfonso Soriano also homered for the Rangers, who moved within two games of Anaheim and within four of the A's in the AL West. Ryan Drese (13-8) worked six innings for the win.
* TWINS 6, WHITE SOX 1: In Minneapolis, Carlos Silva pitched one-hit ball into the sixth inning before leaving with a bruised ankle as the Twins won their eighth in a row and reduced their magic number to six for clinching the AL Central. Minnesota has a 121/2-game cushion over Chicago.
* MARINERS 1, ANGELS 0: In Seattle, Ryan Franklin pitched a two-hit shutout to end an 11-game losing streak and drop Anaheim 51/2 games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race.
Franklin (4-15), who hadn't won in 17 starts since June 5, walked two and struck out four while throwing his second career shutout. Raul Ibanez singled home the only run in the eighth.
* INDIANS 5, TIGERS 3: In Cleveland, Ben Broussard's two-run double sparked a three-run eighth inning that rallied the Indians past Detroit.