The biggest story from Saturday was the defending-champion Red Sox losing their ninth straight game.
On the very opposite end of the American League East standings the Blue Jays won their fifth straight game, with R.A. Dickey pitching a season-high 8 1/3 innings and Brett Lawrie homering in a 5-2 defeat of the host Oakland A’s. Dickey yielded just one run on five hits and now has an ERA below 4.00 (it’s 3.95) for the first time since joining Toronto last winter.
The first-place Jays are 28-22 and boast the only positive run differential (+21) in the AL East.
This is the latest they’ve led that division since July 6, 2000.
Your Saturday box scores and recaps:
Indians 9, Orioles 0
Athletics 2, Blue Jays 5
Yankees 4, White Sox 3 (10 innings)
Dodgers 3, Phillies 5
Rangers 12, Tigers 2
Rockies 3, Braves 1
Diamondbacks 3, Mets 2
Brewers 1, Marlins 2
Red Sox 5, Rays 6 (15 innings)
Royals 7, Angels 4 (13 innings)
Cardinals 6, Reds 3
Nationals 2, Pirates 3
Cubs 3, Padres 2
Twins 1, Giants 2
Astros 9, Mariners 4
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.