NEW YORK — The Boston Red Sox gave Pedro Martinez a lead he couldn't lose and quickly turned this one into a laugher.
Johnny Damon tripled with the bases loaded Friday night and the Red Sox roughed up Andy Pettitte in a 9-3 victory over the Yankees that cut New York's AL East lead to 2 1/2 games.
Martinez (11-4) struck out nine in six easy innings, cruising to his first win in four starts against the Yankees this season. Boston has not been so close to first place since Aug. 7.
With an 8-0 lead by the third, Martinez even enjoyed a chuckle on the mound at the expense of absent-minded teammate Manny Ramirez.
The left fielder, never known for his defense, made a terrific running catch at the wall in the fourth. Ramirez then threw the ball into the stands and began to jog in, thinking there were three outs.
Martinez flashed an impish smile and put up two fingers, for two outs, and covered his mouth with his glove. Ramirez also laughed at his mistake. Ramirez was hit by a pitch in the eighth and left the game.
BLUE JAYS 8, TIGERS 6: At Toronto, Mike Maroth became the first major league pitcher in 23 years to lose 20 games in a season as Detroit lost to Toronto 8-6 on Friday night. Maroth (6-20) allowed eight runs and nine hits in three-plus innings, becoming the first 20-game loser since Oakland's Brian Kingman went 8-20 in 1980.
ATHLETICS 3, DEVIL RAYS 1: Ted Lilly pitched six solid innings and Mark Ellis had an RBI double as Oakland beat Tampa Bay 3-1 Friday night. Lilly (9-9) allowed one run and four hits, struck out seven and walked two, improving to 4-0 against the Devil Rays. Jim Mecir, Chad Bradford and Keith Foulke completed the four-hitter. Foulke got four straight outs for his 39th save in 44 chances.
WHITE SOX 5, INDIANS 3: At Chicago, Paul Konerko and Magglio Ordonez homered Friday night as Chicago held off Cleveland 5-3 to stay tied with Minnesota atop the AL Central.
Konerko hit a three-run homer in the second inning and Ordonez added a solo shot in the fifth off Billy Traber (6-8) as the White Sox built a five-run lead and survived Cleveland's eighth-inning rally.
TWINS 10, RANGERS 7: At Minneapolis, Cristian Guzman hit a three-run triple and Juan Rincon pitched three outstanding inning off relief as Minnesota hung on to beat Texas 10-7.
Rincon (4-6) threw three perfect innings after starter Johan Santana faltered for the first time in a month, nearly squandering an early 8-2 lead. But Guzman drove in a career-high four runs as the Twins stayed tied with the White Sox atop the AL Central.
The Twins play a four-game series at Chicago starting Monday.
ROYALS 5, ANGELS 0: At Anaheim, Brian Anderson pitched a seven-hitter for his third career shutout, leading Kansas City over Anaheim 5-0 Friday night. Angel Berroa hit a solo homer for Kansas City, which remained 1 1/2 games behind Chicago and Minnesota, who are tied for the AL Central lead. Anderson (11-11) struck out two and walked three in his first shutout since Aug. 17, 1999, for Arizona against the Chicago Cubs. Anderson, 2-1 since the Royals acquired him from Cleveland on Aug. 25, lost to Anaheim 7-4 at home on Sunday.
MARINERS 6, ORIOLES 4: At Baltimore, Kerry Ligtenberg (1-2) hit Bret Boone with a pitch in the 13th inning, forcing in the tiebreaking run as Seattle beat Baltimore. Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run homer and Carlos Guillen drove in three runs for the Mariners, who remained two games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West and a half-game behind Boston in the wild-card race.
Arthur Rhodes (3-3) retired Brook Fordyce in the bottom of the 13th with runners on second and third.