June 19, 2013 / 6:54 AM / 6 years ago

A's dismantle Darvish to stretch AL West lead

(Reuters) - The Oakland Athletics overcame Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish to record a 6-2 road victory on Tuesday to stretch their lead at the top of the American League West division.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Grant Balfour points to left field after getting the last out against the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Arlington, Texas June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Stone

Brandon Moss and John Jaso each homered against the Japanese starter to provide an early 3-0 lead for the Athletics (43-30), who added more runs after the Rangers had threatened a comeback to extend their advantage to three games over Texas (39-32).

Darvish (7-3) struck out 10 batters but allowed five runs in six innings to absorb the loss. Meanwhile, Oakland starter Jarrod Parker allowed just two runs over seven innings to improve his record to an even 6-6.

In Atlanta, Matt Harvey flirted with a no-hitter to lift the New York Mets to a 4-3 win in the first game of a doubleheader sweep of the Braves.

The Mets claimed the second game 6-1 but not before Harvey had set the tone by taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the opener.

Jason Heyward’s infield single in the bottom of the seventh was Atlanta’s first hit against Harvey and by the time their bats stirred into life, it was too little too late.

Heyward added a two-RBI double in the eighth, where the Braves scored three times to pull within 4-3 but New York’s bullpen got the final outs they needed to survive.

Harvey finished with 13 strikeouts and the win took him to 6-1 on the season.

In Boston, Jonny Gomes hit a walk-off, two-run homer as the Red Sox also enjoyed a doubleheader sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Gomes’s big hit against reliever Joel Peralta provided Boston with a 3-1 triumph to follow up a 5-1 win against their divisional rivals earlier in the day that was delayed by about three hours due to rain.

In the nightcap, Red Sox starter Felix Doubront tossed eight scoreless innings for a 1-0 lead before Andrew Bailey surrendered a game-tying blast to Kelly Johnson in the top of the ninth to blow the save.

Bailey (3-0) and the Red Sox were able to regroup and the victory gave Boston a 2 1/2-game lead at the top of the AL East.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien

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