AL ROUNDUP: Red Sox sweep Blue Jays off six scoreless innings from Byrd

BOSTON — Paul Byrd, making his first major league start since last September, pitched six shutout innings and the Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep with a 7-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

The win was the sixth in seven games for Boston, which pulled 3½ games ahead of Texas in the AL wild-card race.

Byrd (1-0), out of baseball after finishing last year with the Red Sox, signed a minor league contract on Aug. 5. He gave up three hits and walked three.

Scoring single runs in each of the first four innings, the Red Sox sent Roy Halladay (13-8) to his third consecutive loss for the first time since last April.

The Blue Jays fell to 0-6 in Fenway Park this year.

Yankees 8, White Sox 3

NEW YORK — Mark Teixeira homered and drove in four runs, Johnny Damon also went deep and the Yankees polished off a three-game sweep of the struggling White Sox.

Alfredo Aceves (9-1) provided stellar relief pitching after Joba Chamberlain’s abbreviated outing, and the streaking Yankees won for the 20th time in 26 games.

Derek Jeter scored three times for the AL East leaders, who boosted baseball’s best record to 82-48. They are 31-11 since the All-Star break, also the top mark in the majors.

Teixeira is making a push for AL MVP honors. The switch-hitting slugger, in his first season with the Yankees after signing a $180 million, eight-year contract, has 32 homers and 101 RBI.

Orioles 5, Indians 2

BALTIMORE — Brian Matusz pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, Felix Pie homered, and the Orioles beat the Indians for a split of the four-game series.

Making his sixth major league start, Matusz (3-2) allowed one run had a career-high eight strikeouts. The 22-year-old rookie held the Indians hitless over four innings and permitted only one hit through five.

Selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 amateur draft, Matusz has a collective 14-4 record in his first professional season. This marked the first time the left-hander pitched at least six innings, and his lone walk came when he was called for going to his mouth on a 3-1 pitch.

Tigers 4, Rays 3

DETROIT — Placido Polanco hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning, lifting the Tigers to a win over the Rays.

Third baseman Brandon Inge sealed the victory, leaping to snag B.J. Upton’s high hopper down the line with a runner on first and throwing across the diamond for the final out.

Justin Verlander (15-7) gave up three runs, six hits and four walks over eight innings and struck out four, matching a season low. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 30 chances.

The AL Central-leading Tigers improved to 42-21 at home. The Rays, trying to stay in the wild-card race, fell to 28-38 on the road.

Grant Balfour (5-3) spoiled Jeff Niemann’s strong start.

Twins 5, Rangers 3

MINNEAPOLIS — Pinch-runner Carlos Gomez scored the go-ahead run as the Twins scored three times in the eighth inning to beat the Rangers.

Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, the Twins used a walk, three singles, Nelson Cruz’s error, and a fielder’s choice to rally against Texas reliever C.J. Wilson (4-6). Gomez, who was running for Jason Kubel, scored on Mike Redmon’s fielder’s choice. Texas first baseman Hank Blalock tried to get Gomez out at the plate on the grounder, but the throw was high.

The rally allowed Minnesota reliever Jon Rauch (1-0) to pick up the victory in his first appearance for the Twins after being acquired from Arizona on Friday.

Angels 9, Athletics 1

ANAHEIM, Calif. — John Lackey pitched eight innings of five-hit ball for his 100th victory, Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales hit three-run homers, and the Angels salvaged a split of their series with the last-place Athletics.

After losing his previous two starts, Lackey (9-7) became the fifth pitcher to win 100 games with the Angels. The right-hander limited Oakland to one unearned run while retiring 13 of his final 15 batters, improving to 16-4 in his career against the A’s.

Brett Anderson (7-10) remained winless in his last four starts for Oakland, allowing seven hits over six innings. The 21-year-old gave up all four of his runs in the fifth inning, including Hunter’s go-ahead shot to deep center.

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