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A's stave off late rally to overcome Yankees

Athletics' Willingham celebrates after winning their MLB American League baseball game against the Tigers in Oakland
Athletics' Willingham celebrates after winning their MLB American League baseball game against the Tigers in Oakland

(Reuters) - A late New York Yankees rally fell just short as the Bronx Bombers threatened to overcome a six-run deficit in the final two innings of their 6-4 defeat to the high-flying Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

Coco Crisp homered in the opening inning and Derek Norris drove in four runs to help Oakland charge to a 6-0 lead before the visiting Yankees provided some belated resistance.

After scoring twice in the eighth, Mark Teixeira's two-run single in the ninth pulled New York within two and brought the tying run to the plate before closer Grant Balfour got the last out.

The loss kept the Yankees (37-27) two games behind first-place Boston in the American League East while the Athletics (39-27) trail Texas by percentage points in the AL West.

In Los Angeles, the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks exchanged punches in a heated brawl that led to five ejections as the home team went on to win 5-3.

Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy hit Zach Greinke with a pitch in the seventh inning, believed to be in retaliation for the Dodgers starter hitting a D-Backs player earlier, to set off a bench-clearing brawl in which several punches thrown.

Both managers were ejected, along with Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig and hitting coach Mark McGwire, as well as Arizona's assistant hitting coach Turner Ward.

In a far more sedate affair, Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer stayed perfect on the season with his ninth win to give the Tigers a 3-2 triumph over Kansas City.

Scherzer lasted seven innings en route to tying the Major League lead with nine wins and becoming for the first Tigers pitcher to begin the season 9-0 since Vern Kennedy in 1938.

In New York, rookie pitcher Michael Wacha earned his first Major League win as the league-leading St Louis Cardinals kept their winning ways in a 9-2 victory over the Mets.

The 21-year-old Wacha allowed just two runs to fall behind in the first inning, but recovered to finish six innings as his offense gave him more than enough support.

Allen Craig hit a three-run home run in the sixth to put the visiting Cardinals 6-2 ahead and they cantered home from there.

St Louis has been cruising for much of the season and own baseball's best record at 42-22.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angelse; Editing by John O'Brien)

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