Burba shines, Branyan hits grand slam as Indians scalp Orioles

BALTIMORE, Maryland, Reuters

Dave Burba and the Cleveland Indians once again proved their superiority over the Baltimore Orioles with an 8-1 win on Tuesday.

Burba allowed a run and four hits in six-plus innings and Russell Branyan hit his second career grand slam as the road-weary Indians routed the Orioles.

Burba (1-1) was coming off a brutal start against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday but was in control throughout on Tuesday. The veteran righthander improved to 4-0 in five career appearances against Baltimore.

Steve Reed came on for Burba and tossed two hitless innings. Justin Speier finished up in the ninth.

Baltimore starter Jose Mercedes (0-3) continued to struggle.

In Detroit, Tony Clark’s home run in the eighth inning sparked a late rally and Todd Jones earned his fourth save of the season as the Detroit Tigers posted a 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

The Tigers trailed, 4-3, with one out in the eighth inning before Clark belted a two-run homer off Chicago reliever Kelly Wunsch (0-1) to take the lead for good.

In Toronto, Esteban Loaiza hurled six solid innings and Alex Gonzalez and Jose Cruz Jr. homered as the Toronto Blue Jays edged the New York Yankees, 6-5.

Loaiza (3-0) became the third three-game winner in the American League and defeated the Yankees for the second time.

He gave up only one earned run and five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Tomokazu Ohka pitched seven scoreless innings and Manny Ramirez led an offensive assault with two home runs as the Boston Red Sox routed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 10-0. Ohka (2-0) continued Boston’s string of solid starting performances, allowing just seven hits while striking out three.

He threw 62 of his 96 pitches for strikes and did not walk a batter.

In Minneapolis, Corey Koskie delivered a two run single in the bottom of the ninth inning as the first-place Twins rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Coming off a 93-loss season, Minnesota again was expected to settle near the bottom of the American League Central. But the Twins are baseball’s biggest surprise, winning for the 10th time in 13 games and maintaining a 3 1/2-game lead over second-place Cleveland.

The San Diego Padres dominated Colorado in a three-game sweep earlier this month but on Tuesday, the Rockies exacted a small measure of revenge with a 9-5 victory.

Larry Walker’s two-run homer highlighted a five-run seventh inning and Juan Uribe drove in three runs for Rockies.

The Rockies were outscored, 35-19, by San Diego in a three-game series on April 4-8, but Tuesday’s was their third straight win.

Walker hit his seventh homer of the season, off Padres reliever Brian Lawrence, to give Colorado a 6-2 lead. Tim Hudson allowed six hits in seven-plus innings and Jason Giambi had two hits and an RBI as the Oakland Athletics won consecutive games for the first time this season with a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Angels.

Hudson (2-1) gave up only a solo home run to rookie David Eckstein in the third inning. The righthander threw 104 pitches, walking one and striking out five.

Jeff Tam replaced Hudson after a leadoff single by Wally Joyner and recorded six straight outs.

In Seattle, Ichiro Suzuki went 4-for-4, including a triple, and extended his hitting streak to 12 games as the Seattle Mariners continued their good start to the season with a 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers. Suzuki, a seven-time batting champion in Japan who was acquired by Seattle in the offseason, raised his batting average to .377 and is tied with Toronto’s Shannon Stewart for the most hits in the American League with 23.

The 27-year-old Suzuki’s 12-game hitting streak tied the team record for a rookie set by Ricky Nelson in 1983 and matched by Danny Tartabull in 1986.