Chicago Jon Garland saw the way Tim Wakefield's knuckleball was moving early in the game and figured it could be a tough night for his Chicago White Sox teammates to score runs.
"It was pretty impressive what he was doing those first couple of innings. I just tried to go out there and match him. I just saw some of the swings some of our guys were taking. His ball was dancing," Garland said.
"I just wanted to keep us in the game."
Garland did just that Friday night against the Boston Red Sox and became the major leagues' first 15-game winner.
He kept it close before A.J. Pierzynski and Juan Uribe hit two-out, three-run homers in the sixth off Wakefield as the White Sox won, 8-4.
"Wakefield is a guy you can't explain until you stand in there and try and hit it. It's amazing," Pierzynski said.
"The ball moves one way or the other every time. And you just hope he makes a mistake and you can somehow hit it. I fouled off some tough ones, and he made a mistake, and luckily for me I hit it in the right spot and it got up and got out.
"I think I heard the whole crowd give a big sigh of relief. It was a really tense and a tight game."
Garland (15-4) gave up two runs and seven hits in 62â3 innings, including Johnny Damon's solo homer in the seventh, and pitched out of several jams as the White Sox snapped a three-game losing streak. They have not lost four in a row this season.
"I've always had it (confidence) in myself. There are a lot of people who don't think it," Garland said of reaching 15 victories after winning 12 in each of the previous three seasons.
"Things are coming together. I'm making the right pitch at the right time, getting runs when runs are needed and timely defense."
Pierzynski's 13th homer followed singles by Aaron Rowand and Paul Konerko and broke a 1-1 tie. He hit a 2-2 pitch after falling into an 0-2 hole.
"It got away in a hurry," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "Pierzynski's at-bat, we're in a 1-1 game, and Wakefield looked terrific. He fouled off some good pitches and finally got to one. Before you know it, they spread it out."
Mariners 4, Indians 3
Cleveland - Ichiro Suzuki's two-run homer in the eighth inning - only Seattle's third hit off Scott Elarton - sent the Mariners past Cleveland. Suzuki's seventh homer bailed out Seattle starter Jamie Moyer, who was six outs away from losing to Cleveland for the first time since 2000, but received a no-decision. Moyer is 9-0 in his last 12 starts against the Indians.
Elarton (6-5) allowed just two hits through seven innings and carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth when he walked pinch-hitter Chris Snelling leading off. Suzuki then homered.
Tigers 12, Twins 6
Detroit - Craig Monroe had a career-high five hits and tied a career best with six RBIs, leading Detroit past Minnesota. Detroit had a season-high 18 hits, including three doubles by Monroe, and combined to score nine runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Monroe had a three-run double in the fifth and doubled in two more runs in the sixth.
Juan Castro homered and drove in a career-high four runs, and Jacque Jones homered for Minnesota. Mike Maroth (8-10) gained the win despite allowing six runs and eight hits in six innings.
Athletics 11, Rangers 10
Arlington, Texas - Nick Swisher drove in four runs with a homer and a double, and Danny Haren won his AL-best seventh straight decision in Oakland's victory over Texas. It was the Rangers' second 11-10 loss in five days, and this one ended with Michael Young being tagged out at home as he tried to score on a wild pitch.
Angels 6, Yankees 3
Anaheim, Calif. - Adam Kennedy's two-run single keyed a four-run second inning against Al Leiter, and Los Angeles beat New York. The Yankees remained 11â2 games behind Boston in the AL East race, while the Angels stayed 61â2 games up in the West.
Darin Erstad, Chone Figgins and Jose Molina had RBI singles for the Angels, who are 47-45 against New York since Joe Torre became Yankees manager in 1996. No other team has a winning record against them during that stretch.
Devil Rays 7, Orioles 5
St. Petersburg, Fla. - Aubrey Huff hit his first career grand slam, and Seth McClung won for the first time in two years as Tampa Bay beat Baltimore.