BOSTON — Jon Lester matched his season high with eight strikeouts and overcame homers by Wil Myers and Evan Longoria as the Boston Red Sox remained in first place with a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
The Red Sox moved 1½ games ahead of the Rays in the AL East and stayed atop the division for the 58th consecutive day.
The loss ended the Rays’ six-game winning streak and was just their third in 21 games, a surge that began when they were in fourth place, trailing the Red Sox by seven games.
Lester (9-6) gave up two runs and seven hits with no walks in 6.1 innings.
He is 3-6 with a 5.97 ERA since starting the season 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA. Four Red Sox pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.
Roberto Hernandez (5-11) allowed three runs in five innings and tied R.A. Dickey for the second-most losses in the AL. But it was the 28th time in Tampa Bay’s past 31 games that its starter gave up three runs or fewer.
Boston led 3-2, then scored three runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Stephen Drew and a two-run single by Jose Iglesias.
Myers’ fifth homer of the season on the first pitch of the second inning gave the Rays a 1-0 lead. The Red Sox tied it in the bottom half on a run-scoring single by Mike Carp.
Yankees 5, Rangers 4: In Arlington, Texas, Eduardo Nunez hit a tying triple, Brent Lillibridge followed with a go-ahead single, and the Yankees rallied against All-Star closer Joe Nathan in the ninth inning.
New York’s comeback got started when Shreveport native Vernon Wells drew a one-out walk against Nathan (1-1) and scored on Nunez’s triple to deep center.
Nunez stumbled on his way to third and practically flopped into the bag, then scored on Lillibridge’s single to left.
Nathan had converted 15 consecutive save chances, and 31 of 32 this season.
Mariano Rivera, who set up Nathan’s save in the All-Star game a week earlier, struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 32nd save this season, extending his career record to 640.
Tigers 6, White Sox 2: In Chicago, Rick Porcello pitched four-hit ball over seven scoreless innings, Jhonny Peralta homered and the Tigers took advantage of four White Sox errors.
Peralta delivered an RBI single and scored in a three-run fourth in which the Tigers took advantage of two errors. He also hit a solo drive off Hector Santiago (3-6) in the sixth, and Detroit scored three in the inning to go up 6-0.
Porcello (7-6) won his third straight start after dropping three in a row.
Royals 3, Orioles 2: In Kansas City, Mo., Bruce Chen tossed six strong innings, and Greg Holland pitched out of a ninth-inning jam for the Royals.
The loss snapped the Orioles’ season-best, five-game winning streak.
Holland, who logged his 25th save in 27 chances, gave up a leadoff single in the ninth to Nick Markakis and a run-producing triple to Adam Jones with none out.
ASTROS 5, ATHLETICS 4: In Houston, rookie Jonathan Villar scored the winning run from second base in the ninth inning when catcher Derek Norris had a passed ball and then made a bad throw on the same play to give Houston a win over Oakland.
Houston ended a 10-game losing streak against the A’s this season and a six-game skid overall.
The Astros trailed 4-2 entering the ninth before Matt Dominguez hit a two-run homer off closer Grant Balfour (0-2) to tie it.
Justin Maxwell hit an infield single to start the inning and advanced to second when Balfour attempted to make a throw to first from his knees and bounced it in the dirt for an error.
The homer by Dominguez bounced off the wall in left-center as Coco Crisp desperately tried to climb to grab it.
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