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Pettitte, A-Rod pace Yanks

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N.Y. Yankees' Alex Rodriguez hits a solo home run off Royals' pitcher Hideo Nomo in the ninth inning.

N.Y. Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez hits a solo home run off Royals’ pitcher Hideo Nomo in the ninth inning.

Orlin Wagner, Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Andy Pettitte picked up his first victory and Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera each homered and drove in two runs, helping the New York Yankees defeat the Kansas City Royals 6-1 Thursday night and avoid a series sweep.

Pettitte (1-1) held the Royals to one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, and is 7-0 in his past nine starts against them. He has a career record of 12-4 with a 3.06 ERA against Kansas City, which is his best earned run average against any American League club.

After throwing 31 pitches in the first inning, when the Royals managed their only run off him, Pettitte needed just 61 pitches through the next 5 2/3 innings.

Cabrera tied the game at 1 with a solo homer in the third, driving a 1-2 pitch to left off John Bale, the first left-hander the Yankees have faced this year.

The Yankees seized a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Jorge Posada, who led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on Hideki Matsui's base hit, scored when Jose Molina grounded into a double play.

Cabrera and Rodriguez each had an RBI in the fifth. Cabrera's single scored Morgan Ensberg, and Johnny Damon scored on Rodriguez's fielder's choice ground out after his own infield single.

Cabrera hit a solo homer in the third and an RBI single in the fifth. Rodriguez and Jorge Posada hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth off Hideo Nomo, who replaced Bale for his first appearance in the majors since July 15, 2005, while with Tampa Bay.

Nomo, who is making a comeback at 39 and after having elbow surgery in 2006, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh. He then got through the eighth without any damage before giving up the homers to Rodriguez and Posada with two out in the ninth.

Rodriguez increased his career RBI total to 1,510, moving him one ahead of Mickey Mantle and into 45th place on the all-time list.

ATHLETICS 3, BLUE JAYS 2: At Toronto, Travis Buck doubled home two runs in the 12th inning and the A's completed a three-game sweep.

Buck went 3-for-6 with three RBIs, matching an Oakland record with three doubles. Buck started the season in an 0-for-22 slump before doubling in the second inning Tuesday. He ended up going 7-for-16 with four RBIs and six doubles in the series, boosting his average to .189. The six doubles in a three-game series are an Oakland record.

The winner was right-hander Joey Devine (1-0), who worked two innings after being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day when Rich Harden landed on the 15-day disabled list.

RED SOX 12, TIGERS 6: At Boston, J.D. Drew went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, and Tim Wakefield fluttered his knuckleball for five innings to send the Tigers to their eighth loss in nine games.

Manny Ramirez had a two-run double, and he also scored a run by ignoring a two-handed stop sign put up by third base coach DeMarlo Hale. Sean Casey drove in three runs on a pair of hits, including a two-run single in the four-run seventh when Boston made it 8-3.

Wakefield (1-0) walked five and hit two batters, but allowed only three hits and one earned run.

RANGERS 3, ORIOLES 1 (1ST GAME); RANGERS 5, ORIOLES 4 (2ND GAME): At Arlington, Texas, Kevin Millwood finally has a victory to show for his solid pitching this season.

Millwood (1-2) allowed one run over seven innings to lower his ERA to 1.29 and the Rangers beat Baltimore in the first game of a doubleheader, ending the Orioles' six-game winning streak.

The Rangers' No. 1 starter was coming off a complete-game 2-1 loss, after losing the season-opener despite giving up only two unearned runs.

In the nightcap, Ian Kinsler hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning and Texas completed a doubleheader sweep of Baltimore, which began the day with the AL's best record.

RAYS 7, MARINERS 0: At St. Petersburg, Fla., Edwin Jackson allowed two hits in eight innings and the Rays ended a four-game losing streak.

A 15-game loser in 2007, Jackson combined with Trever Miller on a three-hitter and improved to 2-0. Eric Hinske homered off Miguel Batista (0-2) and Mike DiFelice drove in three runs.

National League

REDS 4, BREWERS 1: At Milwaukee, Aaron Harang held the Brewers to one run in eight innings, Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and Francisco Cordero earned a save against his former team.

Harang (1-1) gave up a soft RBI single to J.J. Hardy in the second inning. Cordero, who left the Brewers to sign with the Reds in the offseason, pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.

METS 4, PHILLIES 3 (12 INNINGS): At New York, Jose Reyes scored the winning run with a deft slide at the plate on Angel Pagan's 12th-inning single, and New York took the last two of a three-game series after losing nine straight to Philadelphia — including the final eight meetings in 2007.

Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz homered for the Phillies, who scored twice in the eighth off struggling setup man Aaron Heilman to tie it at 3 and spoil a strong outing by John Maine.

CUBS 7, PIRATES 3: At Pittsburgh, Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot hit two-run homers in Chicago's five-run sixth inning and the Cubs finished off a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh.

Soto had three extra-base hits, including two doubles, among his second career four-hit game, and Derrek Lee also drove in two runs despite not getting a hit as the Cubs won their sixth in a row over the Pirates dating to last season.

Jon Lieber (2-1) got the decision by pitching 4 1/3 scoreless relief innings.

MARLINS 4, NATIONALS 3: At Washington, Mark Hendrickson and Jorge Cantu helped the Marlins complete a three-game sweep that stretched the Nationals' losing streak to seven games.

Hendrickson pitched seven strong innings, and Cantu produced three hits and two RBIs. Hendrickson (2-1) gave up one run and three hits, striking out two, while matching his longest outing since June 2006.

GIANTS 5, CARDINALS 1: At San Francisco, Kevin Correia carried a shutout into the eighth inning in one of his best starts yet, leading the Giants past St. Louis for their third straight victory.

Correia (1-1) allowed five hits in 7 2/3 innings. Fred Lewis doubled, tripled and scored twice for San Francisco.