Tampa Bay sent a message after the All-Star break by winning eight of its first 10 games, all of which came on the road


The Rays, who were in last place in the American League East on June 23, six games out, were in first place going into Tuesday’s game, a half-game in front of Boston. Tampa went 25-6 since June 23.

One of the keys to the Rays recent success has been rookie pitcher Chris Archer, who won his fourth consecutive game on Saturday, beating the New York Yankees 1-0 on the road.

“He’s been on a roll,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Archer made some history at Yankee Stadium. He became the first rookie to earn a win in a 1-0 shutout over the Yankees since Milwaukee’s Ted Higuera in 1985. And he became the first rookie to pitch a shutout against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium since Baltimore’s Arthur Rhodes in 1992.

“Going into the ninth inning, I was fully confident that we weren’t going to have to go to the bullpen because this is the best I’ve ever felt, this month, in my life,” Archer said. “As far as everything else goes, seems like everything is falling into place for the team. We’re just vibing.”

The Rays’ top four starters (Archer, David Price, Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson) were 24-1 in their last 25 starts through Saturday’s game.

Tampa Bay has won the last seven games Archer has started.

Price (6-5) allowed just two hits in 7.1 innings pitched to give the Rays a 2-1 win in a makeup game at Boston on Monday.

Garza off to good start with Rangers: Just two days after he was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers, Matt Garza won his debut with his new team, beating the New York Yankees 3-1 on July 24.

“I’m excited,” Garza said. “I couldn’t be more happy being in a place where I’m at, a place where I’m wanted, been wanted. It’s awesome.”

Garza, who went 6-1 with the Cubs, allowed five hits, no earned runs and no walks while striking out five in a little more than seven innings pitched.

“He was as advertised,” said the Rangers David Murphy. “We’ve seen him do it before. It was impressive to see him attack the zone like that.”

Garza’s next outing on Monday night against the Los Angeles Angels didn’t get him a decision, but he struck out six and allowed three runs in more than seven innings as the Rangers went on to win 4-3.

Wrigley renovation: The Chicago Cubs won approval from the Chicago city council for a $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field. The 99-year-old ballpark will get a 5,700-square-foot video scoreboard in left field, improved player training facilities and a large advertising sign in right field.

A hotel will be built across the street. The new scoreboard will be nearly three times larger than the one in center field. That iconic manual scoreboard will remain in operation.

StatsWatch: The major league batting leaders, through Monday’s games –

  • Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, .360
  • Chris Johnson, Braves, .339
  • Yadier Molina, Cardinals, .331
  • David Ortiz, Red Sox, .329
  • Michael Cuddyer, Rockies, .329
  • Mike Trout, Angels, .324
  • Joe Mauer, Twins, .324
  • Allen Craig, Cardinals, .322
  • Joey Votto, Reds, .321
  • James Loney, Rays, .317

Quotable: “The main thing is, yeah, he lied to us. He forced us to lie for him, threw people under the bus in order to help himself out and didn’t care, blamed others for his mistakes. Everything was so convincing. – Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke told the Los Angeles Times about Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. Greinke played for Milwaukee when Braun tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2011 and successfully overturned a 50-game suspension in 2012. Braun has since been suspended for the rest of this season for his ties to Biogenesis, a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

Diamond Notes: Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson broke his right ankle on Wednesday night in a game against the New York Mets, and will need surgery to repair it. Hudson’s injury occurred while he was covering first base in the eighth inning. After Hudson took the toss, the Mets’ Eric Young Jr. stepped on Hudson’s lower leg. Hudson (8-7) won his fourth straight start, but will be out indefinitely…Mariners manager Eric Wedge suffered a “very mild stroke” on Monday and was released from the hospital on Wednesday. Wedge, 45, will miss at least a week. The club said in a statement that doctors expect Wedge to make a full and complete recovery.

Copyright ã 2013 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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