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Pettitte earns win as Yankees beat Blue Jays 9-4

New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte works against Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Friday, April 19, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte works against Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Friday, April 19, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

Andy Pettitte pitched effectively into the eighth inning, Travis Hafner homered and had two RBI, and the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-4, last night.

Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells also went deep against their former team as the Yankees won for the eighth time in 10 games.

Scratched from his previous scheduled start because of back spasms, Pettitte (3-0) was pitching for the first time since April 9 at Cleveland. He showed few signs of rust, however, striking out four in a row at one stretch in his 7 1∕3 innings.

The veteran left-hander allowed three runs and six hits, walked one and struck out a season-high five.

Shawn Kelly got the final five outs for the Yankees.

Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer for Toronto and J.P. Arencibia had a solo drive in the ninth but the Blue Jays lost for the third time in four games.

Bautista returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after missing the previous four games with a sore back. Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons said Bautista will likely DH in all three games against the Yankees this weekend before returning to right field in next week’s series at Baltimore.

New York jumped on Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow with two runs in the first. Robinson Cano had a one-out double and Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch before Hafner hit an RBI double to left. Vernon Wells followed with a grounder.

Astros 3, Indians 2

J.D. Martinez and Rick Ankiel hit back-to-back homers in the second inning and Houston held on for a win over Cleveland.

The win snaps a five-game skid for Houston and extends Cleveland’s losing streak to five.

Houston starter Lucas Harrell (1-2) allowed two runs in 5 2∕3 innings before three relievers combined to shut Cleveland out the rest of the way.

Closer Jose Veras allowed one hit in the ninth for his first save in two tries.

Carlos Pena walked with one out in the second inning before Martinez got Houston’s first hit by launching a homer into the right field stands off former Astro Brett Myers (0-3) to make it 2-0. Martinez left the game with a sprained knee in the fourth inning.

Rangers 7, Mariners 0

Yu Darvish struck out 10 while allowing only three hits over seven innings for Texas, and the Rangers had their biggest inning of the season in a victory over Seattle.

In his 33rd career start in the major leagues, Darvish (3-1) had his 10th career 10-strikeout game.

Jeff Baker put Texas up 1-0 with a two-out solo homer in the second off Joe Saunders (1-2). The Rangers added a six-run fifth, scoring twice as many runs as they had in any inning this year. The seven runs overall matched their season high.

The Mariners had 13 strikeouts overall, and have 44 their last three games. They had 19 strikeouts Wednesday against Detroit, and followed with 12 more on Thursday.

Saunders won the AL wild-card game there last October but is 0-7 with a 9.91 ERA in seven career regular-season starts at Texas.

Rays 8, Athletics 3

Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer and Ben Zobrist had a pair of RBI singles to help Tampa Bay beat Oakland.

Jose Lobaton also drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single to back the pitching of Alex Cobb (2-1), who allowed three runs and 10 hits over 7 1∕3 innings.

Brandon Moss and Jed Lowrie, who went 4-for-4, had run-scoring singles off Cobb in the first for the A’s. Starting pitcher Brett Anderson (1-3) left with an ankle injury after Tampa Bay scored four times in the bottom half of the inning. Coco Crisp extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning double and added a solo homer off Cobb in the seventh.

Oakland loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth before Fernando Rodney – in a non-save situation – struck out John Jaso and got Seth Smith to ground into a game-ending double play.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 1

Jhoulys Chacin pitched effectively into the seventh inning and became the first Rockies starter to throw 100 pitches in a game since last June before leaving with an injury as Colorado beat Arizona.

Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer and Chacin helped himself by driving in a run with a sacrifice fly as the Rockies won their seventh in row and remained unbeaten in seven home games this season.

Chacin (3-0) was seen grabbing his lower left back after throwing his fourth pitch to Arizona’s Cody Ross with one out in the seventh inning. He was taken out of the game after a conference near the mound with manager Walt Weiss and team trainers and replaced by reliever Wilton Lopez.

The last time a Colorado starter reached the century mark in pitches was last June 12, a stretch of 117 games.

Brewers 5, Cubs 4

Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer and Jean Segura produced some bizarre baserunning in Milwaukee’s win over Chicago.

Segura somehow wound up safe at first base after attempting to steal third, only to later be thrown out attempting to steal second base again.

It didn’t matter, though, because Braun went deep against Jeff Samardjiza (1-3).

Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada (2-0) pitched out of trouble in his six innings, getting three double plays and holding the Cubs hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position. The right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four. Anthony Rizzo hit his fifth homer of the year for the Cubs.

Jim Henderson pitched the ninth for his third save in three chances.

Pirates 6, Braves 0

Wandy Rodriguez faced the minimum while throwing seven innings of 1-hit ball to outpitch Tim Hudson help Pittsburgh beat Atlanta.

Hudson came up short in his first attempt at win No. 200.

Pedro Alvarez homered for the second consecutive game and Russell Martin, Neil Walker and Travis Snider each reached base three times for Pittsburgh, which has won seven of its past 10 after a 1-5 start to the season.

Scratched from his most recent scheduled start after leaving his previous outing in the third inning because of a strained hamstring, Rodriguez (2-0) allowed only Jason Heyward’s one-out single in the fourth. Justin Upton followed by grounding into a double play.

Mets 7, Nationals 1

Matt Harvey outpitched Stephen Strasburg in a marquee matchup of young aces, escaping a late bases-loaded jam while the crowd chanted his name and leading New York over Washington.

Ike Davis and Lucas Duda each hit two home runs, providing an ample cushion for Harvey and the Mets to end their three-game skid.

Harvey and Strasburg paired off for the first time in their careers, with many projecting the celebrated 24-year-olds will duel far into the future. Harvey (4-0) was equal to the challenge and started out fast, striking out leadoff man Denard Span with 98 mph heat.

Davis and Duda hit solo home runs in the sixth – the first time Strasburg (1-3) ever had been tagged twice in an inning – for a 4-0 lead. The 26,675 fans at Citi Field celebrated, breaking into cheers of “Harvey’s better!” that bounced around the ballpark.

Phillies 8, Cardinals 2, 7 inn.

Roy Halladay tossed a two-hitter over seven innings and Philadelphia beat St. Louis in a rain-shortened game to snap a four-game losing streak.

Halladay (2-2) allowed two runs, walked two and struck out six to record a complete game. He’s had consecutive strong outings after starting the season with two poor ones. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is coming off an injury-plagued, subpar year, but has looked like his old self this week.

Jimmy Rollins, Ben Revere, Humberto Quintero and John Mayberry Jr. each had two hits for the Phillies, who busted out of their slump with five runs off Jaime Garcia (1-1) in the first inning.

Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday hit solo homers for the Cardinals.

The game was called after a 35-minute rain delay before the bottom of the seventh.

Marlins 2, Reds 1

Justin Ruggiano hit a solo homer off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning, sending Miami to a victory that snapped Cincinnati’s winning streak at four games.

It was a stunning moment for the Marlins, who have the worst record in the majors at 4-13 and had only four homers – fewest in the majors – when Ruggiano connected off the Reds’ spotless closer for his second homer in two games.

Chapman (2-1) hadn’t allowed a run in his eight previous appearances. Ruggiano connected on a 3-1 pitch, driving it deep to center for his third homer.

Left-hander Mike Dunn (1-0) retired the last two batters in the eighth. Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for the Marlins’ first save of the season.

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