ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The New York Yankees won their eighth straight game Friday night, getting three-run homers by Chuck Knoblauch and Scott Brosius to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-4.
The Yankees improved the top record in the majors to 63-20, winning for the 13th time in 15 games. New York kept pace with the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates for the best start this century through 83 games.
Tampa Bay lost its eighth in a row. The Devil Rays trail the Yankees by 31 1/2 games in the AL East.
Wilson Alvarez (4-6), making his first start since May 28 after being sidelined by tendinitis in his left shoulder, did not allow a hit through four innings and had a 3-0 lead.
But after Alvarez hit Brosius with a pitch and gave up a one-out single to Joe Girardi, Knoblauch tied it with his first home run since May 24, a stretch of 35 games.
The Yankees added a pair of unearned runs in the sixth, and Brosius hit a three-run homer off Esteban Yan in the eighth to help Hideki Irabu (7-3) get his first victory since June 10.
Fred McGriff hit a solo home run and Dave Martinez had an inside-the-park homer as the Devil Rays took an early lead against Irabu. In 5 1/3 innings, Irabu allowed seven hits, struck out five and walked four.
Ramiro Mendoza pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings innings for his first save. He was moved to the bullpen in June when Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez was put into the rotation.
The Devil Rays took a 1-0 lead in the second without getting the ball out of the infield.
Martinez's grounder into the hole at short was the only hit of the inning, and the expansion team also benefited from two walks and a wild pitch before Miguel Cairo got an RBI on a grounder.
McGriff's first homer at home since April 28 made it 2-0 in the third. Martinez hit the first inside-the-park homer at Tropicana Field, circling the bases for a 3-0 lead in the fourth when center fielder Chad Curtis tried to catch a sinking liner at his ankles and the ball skipped through to the wall.
Despite breaking out of an offensive funk against Irabu, the Devil Rays hurt themselves with a lack of timely hitting. They were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position, and allowed the Yankees starter to work out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth with the score tied at 3.
Despite allowing just three hits, Alvarez gave up five runs. Throwing errors by shortstop Kevin Stocker and third baseman Wade Boggs helped New York score its unearned runs in the sixth.
ORIOLES 3, RED SOX 2: Emergency substitute Eric Davis homered off Pedro Martinez in the eighth inning to snap a tie.
Davis, who replaced an injured Harold Baines in the sixth, hit a 1-0 pitch over the center-field wall with two outs in the inning. It was his 12th homer of the season and first since June 20.
Mike Bordick also homered for the Orioles, who played in their fifth straight one-run game. Baltimore is 2-3 in that span.
Martinez (11-3), vying for his sixth straight victory, allowed three runs and five hits in eight innings. He has both of Boston's complete games this season.
Jesse Orosco (3-1) pitched 1 1/3 innings and Armando Benitez retired John Valentin for his 11th save, the second in two nights. He closed out Baltimore's 3-2 win over Boston on Thursday.
Baltimore rookie Sidney Ponson allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out three. It matched the longest stint of his career.
Boston's Mo Vaughn made it 2-all by leading off the seventh inning with his 22nd homer of the season, an opposite-field drive to left. It was his first home run since June 20.
The Red Sox went up 1-0 in the third when Darren Lewis singled, stole second and scored on a single by Reggie Jefferson.
Bordick tied it in the Orioles' half with his second homer in two days and the first off Martinez since June 16. Prior to this series, Bordick hadn't homered since May 14.
Baines singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by B.J. Surhoff to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Baines left after aggravating a strained left hamstring that had limited his playing time in the past two weeks.
Phillies 7, Pirates 6: Curt Schilling withstood a five-run inning and an unusually low five strikeouts by helping himself with a key run-scoring single, leading the Philadelphia Phillies past Pittsburgh 7-6 Friday
Bobby Abreu hit a sacrifice fly during a three-run fifth inning finished off by Schilling's single as the Phillies improved to 4-0 against the Pirates this season.
Desi Relaford went 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI, and breakdowns by the Pirates' defense led to two other runs.
Schilling, the major league strikeouts leader with 185 in 20 starts, was averaging 9.47 strikeouts per start until fanning only five in his major league-leading eighth complete game. His season low was two strikeouts in five innings May 28 against the Cubs, and he has struck out fewer than eight only five times.
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