Alex Rodriguez went hitless in five at-bats in his Yankees return after missing 38 games following knee surgery as New York won 3-0 in Minnesota.
The Yankees (77-48) maintained their half-game lead over Boston in the American League East division. The Red Sox won 6-1 yesterday at Kansas City.
Rodriguez, 36, who is sixth on Major League Baseball’s career list with 626 home runs, grounded out twice to shortstop, popped out twice and hit a fly ball to center field.
“I was happy with the way I saw the ball and happy with my balance,” Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, told reporters. “I got a lot of good pitches to hit and just missed them by a little bit. But I liked the way I felt up there.”
Ivan Nova allowed five hits in seven innings to improve to 13-4 for the Yankees. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two, for his 33rd save of the season.
Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira hit back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh inning for the Yankees. Granderson’s inside-the-park home run was his 35th of the season. Teixeira’s was his 34th.
Carl Crawford and Darnell McDonald hit home runs for the Red Sox (77-49). Jon Lester allowed one run in six innings to make his record 13-6 this season.
In other American League games, Detroit beat Cleveland 8-7 to extend its lead to 4 1/2 games in the Central division; the Los Angeles Angels won 7-1 against Baltimore to move within four games of West division leader Texas, which lost 10-0 at the Chicago White Sox; Tampa Bay won 8-7 against Seattle and Toronto defeated Oakland 1-0.
Prince Fielder drove in two runs as the National League Central division leaders, the Milwaukee Brewers, won 6-2 at the New York Mets. Fielder drove in eight runs as the Brewers swept the three-game series at Citi Field.
The San Francisco Giants, who earlier in the day placed reliever Brian Wilson on the 15-day disabled list with a strained elbow, won 6-4 in 11 innings at Houston to move within 1 1/2 games of NL West division leader Arizona, which lost 1-0 at Atlanta for its fifth straight defeat.
In other National League games, it was Washington 5, Philadelphia 4 in 10 innings; Cincinnati 5, Pittsburgh 4; Colorado 5, the Los Angeles Dodgers 3; San Diego 4, Florida 3, and St. Louis 6, the Chicago Cubs 2.
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