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Halladay tops Devil Rays for his 20th win

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Jays catcher Kevin Cash bows his head during playing of the national anthem before Thursday's game.

Jays catcher Kevin Cash bows his head during playing of the national anthem before Thursday’s game.

David Kadlubowski, Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Roy Halladay became the first 20-game winner in the majors this season, pitching a five-hitter that led the Toronto Blue Jays over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-1 Thursday.

Halladay (20-6) has seven complete games this year, including his past three starts. He beat the New York Yankees 8-1 on Sept. 1, then had a 10-inning, 1-0 shutout five days later over Detroit.

The 26-year-old righty's career-high streak of 23 scoreless innings ended when Tampa Bay scored an unearned run in the sixth.

Halladay struck out three, walked two and needed only 93 pitches to win. He is Toronto's first 20-game winner since David Wells went 20-8 in 2000.

Greg Myers homered for the Blue Jays.

Jeremi Gonzalez (6-9) allowed three runs over 7 1/3 innings. He has lost four straight starts.

TWINS 5, WHITE SOX 2: At Chicago, Brad Radke pitched a complete game to win his most important start of the season and Minnesota beat Esteban Loaiza and Chicago to move into a tie for the AL Central lead.

Shannon Stewart and Denny Hocking each drove in two runs as the Twins salvaged a split of the key four-game series. The teams meet for a three-game set next week at the Metrodome.

Radke (12-10) gave up nine hits, walked none and struck out five in his third complete game this season. It was his fourth straight victory.

The Twins spoiled Loaiza's bid for his 20th victory. He lost for only the second time since the All-Star break, snapping his four-game winning streak.

Loaiza (19-7) gave up five runs and seven hits over seven innings, striking out nine. His ERA rose to 2.73.

Frank Thomas hit a solo shot in the first inning, reaching 40 homers for the fifth time in his career. Radke limited the White Sox to only singles after that until Jose Valentin homered in the ninth.

INDIANS 6, ROYALS 5: At Kansas City, Mo., Alex Escobar had his second straight three-hit game, driving in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning single as Cleveland beat Kansas City.

The Royals stayed 3 1/2 games back of first place in the AL Central.

Danys Baez (2-8) earned the win with a scoreless inning. Jason Grimsley (2-6) took the loss in a game delayed twice by rain.

David Riske relieved Baez with two on and two outs in the eighth. Riske struck out Brent Mayne to end the inning and stayed on through the ninth for his sixth save.

Chris Magruder had hits in his first four plate appearances of the year and drove in two runs for Cleveland.

Joe Randa hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs for the Royals, but also committed a costly throwing error.

ATHLETICS 14, ANGELS 4: At Oakland, Calif., Eric Chavez hit two of Oakland's six homers and the Athletics beat Anaheim for their third straight victory.

Eric Byrnes and pinch-hitter Billy McMillon hit three-run homers, and Ramon Hernandez and Mark Ellis also homered as the A's wrapped up their next-to-last homestand of the regular season with an impressive power display in their 11th victory in 12 games at the Coliseum.

Miguel Tejada and Jose Guillen also had RBI singles for Oakland, which won the final three games of its series with the Angels to maintain its lead atop the AL West.

Rookie Rich Harden (5-4) gave up two early runs in a shaky outing, but his teammates quickly staked him to a huge lead. He earned his second victory in seven starts.

The A's homered in each of the first five innings — four against Scot Shields (4-5).

YANKEES 5, TIGERS 2: At New York, Roger Clemens got his 307th victory, and Jorge Posada hit a go-ahead, two-run single and made a nifty tag at home plate, leading New York over Detroit.

Nick Johnson and Bernie Williams added solo homers for the Yankees, who have won five straight to boost their AL East lead to four games.

MARINERS 8, RANGERS 2: At Seattle, Gil Meche pitched eight steady innings for his 15th win and Randy Winn had three hits as Seattle beat Texas.

The Mariners stayed 2 1/2 games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West and moved within 1 1/2 games of Boston for the wild card.