Even with another night of poor pitching and disastrous defense, the New York Yankees (search) slugged their way back into first place for the first time since the opening week of the season.
Jorge Posada, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui (search) homered, and Ruben Sierra hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the eighth inning to give New York a wild 11-10 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
"I can't explain how proud I am of this group of guys. They keep plugging away and keep battling," said Yankees manager Joe Torre, who celebrated his 65th birthday.
Seconds after getting the big hit, Sierra injured his left hamstring, which likely will send him back to the disabled list. He was sidelined from April 21 to May 20 with a partially torn right biceps.
"I feel good to get the job done, but I feel bad that I got hurt," Sierra said. "It's sore. I don't know how long it will be, I think it's strained. I don't think it's that bad."
New York, which won for the 11th time in 13 games, improved to a season-high nine games over .500 (50-41) and leads the AL East by a half-game over Boston and Baltimore.
The Yankees, who have won seven straight division titles, had not been alone in first since beating the Red Sox (search) in the April 3 season opener and hadn't held a share since after games of April 9.
"It's a stepping stone, but we've got much loftier goals on this club," Alex Rodriguez said.
In other games, it was Tampa Bay 3, Boston 1; Baltimore 3, Minnesota 2 in 11 innings; Chicago 7, Detroit 5; Los Angeles 5, Oakland 2; and Cleveland 6, Kansas City 2 in a game shortened by rain to 4 1/2 innings.
At Arlington, Kevin Brown gave up six runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings. He had been sidelined by a back injury since June 18, but came back without a rehabilitation start because Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Chien-Ming Wang have shoulder injuries.
"I'm stiff. I'm not functioning very well. I'm just trying to build back up," Brown said. "I'm just trying to fill a need."
Tanyon Sturtze (3-1), the fourth Yankees pitcher, worked 2 1-3 hitless innings and Mariano Rivera got three outs for his 24th straight save conversion.
Devil Rays 3, Red Sox 1
Boston, which had been alone in first place since June 24, lost for the sixth time in seven games.
"Do we get a prize if we're in first place tomorrow? No," outfielder Trot Nixon said. "It's not the end of the world. It's just frustrating right now."
Scott Kazmir (4-7) allowed three hits and an unearned run in six innings at Fenway Park, struck out seven and overcame six walks, which increased his AL-leading total to 62. Damon Hollins hit his first major league triple and scored in the second off Wade Miller (2-4), and Joey Gathright hit a two-run single in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie.
Danys Baez completed the three-hitter. Johnny Damon ended the game with a lineout to right, ending his 29-game hitting streak.
Orioles 3, Twins 2
Sammy Sosa hit his 584th homer to move past Mark McGwire into sole possession of sixth on the career list, Rafael Palmeiro went 3-for-5 to tie Al Kaline for 24th place in hits at 3,007 and Miguel Tejada homered in the 11th off Juan Rincon (1-2).
Sosa and Tejada hadn't homered since June 18.
Erik Bedard allowed four hits in six shutout innings at the Metrodome and struck out seven in his first start since he went on the disabled list May 22 with a sprained left knee.
Jorge Julio (3-2) fanned Torii Hunter with two on to end the 10th, Hunter's fourth strikeout.
White Sox 7, Tigers 5
Joe Crede hit a three-run homer in a five-run seventh against Chris Spurling (2-1) as the White Sox overcame a 4-1 deficit and won their fifth straight.
Former White Sox star Magglio Ordonez was greeted by former teammates and showered with a mix of boos and cheers in his first game in Chicago since signing with Detroit during the offeason. He went 2-for-3 with a walk.
Luis Vizcaino (4-3) pitched two perfect innings, and Cliff Politte got his first save of the season.
Angels 5, Athletics 2
Orlando Cabrera's two-run single off Kirk Saarloos (5-6) capped a four-run sixth at Anaheim, and Vladimir Guerrero had two RBIs.
Ervin Santana (4-4) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings, and Francisco Rodriguez struck out three for his 21st save.
Indians 6, Royals 2, 4 1/2 innings
At Cleveland, Cliff Lee (10-4) allowed four hits in his first career complete game, called with one out in the bottom of the fifth following two rain delays.
Ben Broussard homered for the Indians, who stopped a five-game losing streak. D.J. Carrasco (4-4) lost.