AMERICAN LEAGUE Payton, Zito lead A's past Tigers

Oakland won for the 10th time in 11 games, 9-5.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jay Payton hit a grand slam and drove in five runs to help Barry Zito win his seventh straight start and the Oakland Athletics win for the 10th time in 11 games, 9-5 over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
Payton's homer was the big blow against Nate Robertson (5-9) in a six-run fourth inning that also featured the ejection of Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
Scott Hatteberg added a two-run homer in the frame for the streaking A's, who have won 30 of 37 to move within 2 1/2 games of the Angels in the AL West -- their smallest deficit since being two back after games of May 2.
Oakland won the first two games of the series despite getting subpar performances from its best two starters. One night after Rich Harden allowed a career-high 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-4 win, Zito (10-8) fell behind 2-0 after two batters.
Zito gave up five runs and 10 hits in seven innings, benefiting from the run support he lacked when he started the season 3-8. Zito's resurgence should come as no surprise since he is 47-18 with a 2.90 ERA after the All-Star break in his career compared to 35-30 with a 3.94 ERA before the break.
Since Zito joined Oakland as a rookie in 2000, the A's have mirrored his pattern of slow starts and fast finishes, especially this season. Oakland, which has the best record after the All-Star break in the majors since 2000, is 13-3 since the break this year, part of a turnaround from being 15 games under .500 on May 29 to leading the New York Yankees by 1 1/2 games in the AL wild-card race.
Jay Witasick pitched two innings for his first save.
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LOB--Detroit 8, Oakland 6. 2B--Shelton (11), Logan (12), Payton (9), DJohnson (12), Scutaro (14). HR--CGuillen (4), VWilson (1), Payton (9), Hatteberg (5). SB--IRodriguez (6). S--Inge. SF--Scutaro.
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Spurling pitched to 1 batter in the 8th. Umpires--Home, Ted Barrett; First, Alfonso Marquez; Second, Rick Reed; Third, Terry Craft. T--2:36. A--25,265.
Rangers 3, Blue Jays 2
TORONTO -- Joaquin Benoit and four relievers combined on a six-hitter and Adrian Gonzalez homered to the lead the Texas Rangers to their fourth straight victory.
Phil Nevin didn't play for Texas. Acquired a day earlier from San Diego in a trade for Chan Ho Park, Nevin arrived at the Rogers Center just before game time. Manager Buck Showalter said Nevin will DH today.
The Blue Jays have lost two straight after winning their previous three.
Benoit (3-1) allowed two runs -- one earned -- on five hits, while striking out six and walking three in his third start of the season. Kevin Gryboski got the last out of the sixth, Brian Shouse worked the seventh, Kameron Loe the eighth and Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 32 chances.
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E--AGonzalez (2), Frasor (1). DP--Texas 1, Toronto 1. LOB--Texas 9, Toronto 7. 2B--Matthews (14), Barajas (16), Catalanotto (17). HR--AGonzalez (3). SB--ASoriano (16). CS--Adams (2). SF--Barajas.
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HBP--by McGowan (Barajas), by Benoit (VWells). WP--Gryboski. Umpires--Home, Bill Welke; First, Ed Hickox; Second, Tim Welke; Third, Gary Cederstrom. T--3:14. A--23,039.
Devil Rays 7, Royals 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jonny Gomes had the first three-homer game in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' franchise history.
Gomes hit solo shots off Zack Greinke (3-13) in the third and fifth innings and another solo homer off Mike MacDougal in the eighth. The rookie has 12 homers in 44 games. Between the majors and Triple-A Durham this season, Gomes has gone deep 26 times.
Tampa Bay began play in the major leagues in 1998 and have played 1,236 games.
Doug Waechter (4-6) won for the first time since June 13 -- a span of five starts, allowing three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Chad Orvella, Trever Miller, Joe Borowski and Jesus Colome combined for 3 2-3 scoreless innings.
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E--Teahen (16), Cantu (15). DP--Tampa Bay 1. LOB--Kansas City 7, Tampa Bay 6. 2B--DeJesus (25), Stairs (16), THall (13). 3B--Lugo (4), TLee (2), Gathright (2). HR--Long (5), Gomes 3 (12). SF--Berroa, THall.
Kansas City
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Tampa Bay
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WP--MacDougal. Umpires--Home, Joe Brinkman; First, Derryl Cousins; Second, Jeff Nelson; Third, Bill Miller. T--2:34. A--11,940.