BOSTON — Andy Pettitte changed his ways.
Alfonso Soriano just keeps going.
The Yankees outfielder had three hits and drove in four more runs — giving him 18 RBIs in his last four games — and Pettitte avoided his recent first-inning troubles to lead New York to a 10-3 victory over the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
Soriano, who was traded to New York from the Chicago Cubs last month, was 3 for 4 with a hit-by-pitch and a three-run homer in the third that made it 6-0.
“Here we go again,” Soriano said as he approached reporters after the game. “I think the motivation (is) going back to the Yankees, trying to help the team win.”
The Yankees won for the fifth time in six games and sent the Red Sox to their third consecutive loss. With Tampa Bay’s victory over Toronto, Boston’s lead in the division was trimmed to one game; the Yankees are 7½ games back in the division and 5½ back in the AL wild-card race.
“You’re looking at a powerful right-handed hitter in the middle of the lineup who caught fire since he came over,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It’s had an enormous (impact) on their offense.”
Alex Rodriguez had a pair of singles while getting booed loudly in his first appearance in Boston since he was suspended 211 games in baseball’s latest steroid scandal. Rodriguez, who is allowed to play pending his appeal, was also mocked by fans with chants of “You do steroids” and signs that said, “A-Roid” and “AFraud.”
“That reaction was pretty close to usual,” he said. “We’re in playoff baseball. Every game means the world to us. We’re trying to stay very focused in here.”
Pettitte (8-9) had allowed a run in the first inning in a franchise-record eight consecutive starts. But this time he retired the first eight Red Sox batters before Will Middlebrooks singled in the third. In all, Pettitte allowed three runs — none earned — on six hits and a walk, striking out five in 6 2-3 innings to win for the first time in six starts.
“It was one of those nights were I felt like everything was working,” Pettitte said. “It was a big win for us. We’ve got to win this series. We’ve got to win a lot of series.”
Mark Reynolds, who was released by the Cleveland Indians last week, hit a two-run homer over the Green Monster in the second to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. He is the 14th player in franchise history to homer in his first Yankees at-bat.
Felix Doubront (8-6) allowed seven runs — six earned — on eight hits and two walks, striking out four in four innings. It was the first time in 17 starts that he allowed more than three earned runs and just the second time all season.
“Two swings cost us five runs,” said Farrell, whose team also committed three errors for the second time in three games. “This wasn’t one of our more sharp efforts.”
The Red Sox trailed 7-1 when they finally got to Pettitte in the seventh.
Dustin Pedroia reached and went to second on an error, then scored when David Ortiz line a ball off the left field Wall. But Soriano threw Ortiz out trying to stretch it into a double. One out later, Stephen Drew doubled and Mike Napoli walked and Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled in a run to make it 7-3.
Pinch-hitter Mike Carp tried to take first base, claiming he was hit in the foot by a pitch in the dirt, but was called back by home plate umpire Bill Welke. Carp was called out on strikes two pitches later and he slammed his helmet to the ground and was quickly ejected.
Boston also threatened in the eighth, getting runners on first and second with one out. But Ortiz lined it to Rodriguez, who was shifted into the shortstop’s position, and he threw to second to double off Shane Victorino.
Ichiro Suzuki had one hit, a run-scoring Baltimore chop in the three-run ninth, giving him 3,995 combined in the major leagues and Japan.
ROYALS 2, TIGERS 1 (First game)
ROYALS 3, TIGERS 0 (Second game)
DETROIT — James Shields allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings and was part of a combined four-hit shutout as Kansas City swept a day-night doubleheader.
Kansas City won the first game 2-1 as Danny Duffy took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and pitched a combined two-hitter.
Royals pitching held the Tigers to a run and six hits for the two games.
Eric Hosmer homered in each game.
Shields (8-8) won his fourth game in his past five starts. He walked four and struck out one.
Luke Hochevar pitched a perfect eighth and Greg Holland worked the ninth, allowing a hit, for his 34th save. He had saves in both games of the doubleheader.
Jose Alvarez (1-3), called up from Triple-A Toledo to make the start, took the loss. He gave up two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out five.
Alvarez’s only big mistakes came in the third with two outs. He walked Jamey Carroll and Hosmer followed with his second home run of the day, that gave the Royals a 2-0 lead. Hosmer blasted Alvarez’s 1-1 pitch deep into the right-field stands for his 14th homer.
Duffy (1-0) beat Justin Verlander in the opener.
Duffy was called up from Triple-A Omaha to make his second big league start of the season, and didn’t allow a hit until Cabrera’s hard-hit, two out single in the sixth.
RAYS 5, BLUE JAYS 4
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jose Lobaton hit a game-ending triple with one out in the ninth inning, lifting Tampa Bay to its third straight victory.
Lobaton’s triple came off Aaron Loup (4-6) Yunel Escobar walked. Lobaton had three hits.
Fernando Rodney (5-3) gave up two hits to start the ninth, but worked out of the jam.
The Blue Jays had tied it in the eighth when, with runners on second and third and one out, Anthony Gose hit a grounder to shortstop. Escobar threw offline to home plate and Brett Lawrie scored.
In his fifth start this season against Tampa Bay, R.A. Dickey gave up six hits and four runs over seven innings.
ATHLETICS 3, INDIANS 2
OAKLAND, Calif. — Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer in the first, Eric Sogard put Oakland ahead on a seventh-inning double and the Athletics beat Cleveland.
Former A’s fan favorite Nick Swisher tied the game at 2 in the seventh with an RBI single, and winner Sean Doolittle (4-4) walked the bases loaded before getting out of it with only the one run. Swisher, booed at every chance, grounded out with runners on first and second to end the eighth.
Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 32 chances, allowing a one-out walk to Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley’s single before Asdrubal Cabrera lined into a game-ending double play as the A’s held on to win for the first time in five tries this year against the Indians.
Cleveland All-Star Justin Masterson (13-9) lost consecutive decisions for just the second time this season. He allowed three runs on seven hits in 7 2-3 innings after coming off his shortest outing of the year, 4 1-3 innings in which he allowed five runs and seven hits against the Angels.
MARINERS 3, RANGERS 1
ARLINGTON, Texas — Kyle Seager snapped a career-worst 0-for-21 slump with a go-ahead two-run homer and Seattle beat Texas.
Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6) struck out eight and allowed one run in seven innings.
Derek Holland pitched two-hit ball with six strikeouts over seven scoreless innings for Texas before Neal Cotts (4-2), whose 0.93 ERA was the lowest among American League relievers, walked Franklin. Seager then lined a shot into the Rangers bullpen in right-center field, his 18th homer of the season but first in 13 games.
Justin Smoak homered in the ninth for Seattle, which won for only the seventh time in 19 games.
WHITE SOX 5, TWINS 2
MINNEAPOLIS — Adam Dunn hit his 28th home run and Jose Quintana threw six sharp innings to lead Chicago over Minnesota.
Quintana (7-4) allowed six hits in 6 2-3 innings, giving up two runs and striking out seven.
Jeff Keppinger also homered to help Chicago snap its season-worst, 10-game road losing streak.
Joe Mauer homered in the first for Minnesota, but Keppinger and Dunn both hit solo shots off Twins starter Kevin Correia (8-9) in the third to make it 4-1. Quintana breezed through Minnesota’s lineup the rest of the way after losing his previous start against the Twins on Sunday in Chicago.
ASTROS 8, ANGELS 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Chris Carter hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high five runs, and Brad Peacock didn’t allow an earned run while pitching into the seventh inning of Houston’s victory over Los Angeles.
Robbie Grossman drove in a run and scored during a three-run fifth for the major league-worst Astros (40-81), who have won three of four for the first time since June 18.
Peacock (2-4) earned his first victory since April 10 after two hard-luck losses following his return to the rotation. The rookie yielded four hits and two unearned runs, striking out five.
Hank Conger drove in a run during his first multihit game since June 30 for the foundering Angels. They’ve lost 15 of 21, including five straight at home.
ROCKIES 6, ORIOLES 3
BALTIMORE — Colorado hit four home runs, including a tiebreaking, two-run shot by Wilin Rosario in the seventh inning, and the Rockies beat the Orioles to extend Baltimore’s losing streak to four games.
Charlie Culberson, Charlie Blackmon and Todd Helton also homered for the Rockies, who have won six of seven. It was Culberson’s first major league home run in 55 at-bats.
Juan Nicasio (7-6) allowed two runs, four hits and four walks over six innings to earn his first win in five starts since July 20. The right-hander yielded 15 runs over 14 innings in his previous three outings and was 0-3 with a 7.79 ERA in four interleague starts this season.
Wei-Yin Chen (6-6) retired 12 of his first 13 batters but couldn’t get out of the seventh inning. He gave up four runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings in losing his third straight start.
Nate McLouth and Matt Wieters homered for the Orioles, who were coming off three straight one-run defeats in Arizona.
PIRATES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 2
PITTSBURGH — Jose Tabata hit a two-run homer and rookie Gerrit Cole pitched six solid innings to send Pittsburgh past Arizona.
Tabata’s drive was his fourth of the season and came off J.J. Putz in the eighth inning, putting the NL Central leaders ahead by four runs. Tabata connected a day after he came off the bench and had three hits in a 12-inning loss at St. Louis.
Cole (6-5) was pitching on eight days of rest. He gave up two runs and five hits with five strikeouts. The first overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft won for the second time in seven decisions after winning the first four starts of his career.
Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run single off Brandon McCarthy (2-7), who lost his fourth straight decision.
CUBS 7, CARDINALS 0
CHICAGO — Jake Arrieta threw seven sharp innings and Nate Schierholtz drove in three runs as Chicago shut down St. Louis.
Arrieta (1-0) allowed two hits and struck out seven for his first win in two starts with the Cubs. The right-hander was acquired from Baltimore in a July 2 trade.
The Cubs snapped a four-game skid and are 7-7 this season against the Cardinals, who fell three games behind first-place Pittsburgh in the NL Central. St. Louis has dropped six of nine overall.
Chicago had been shut out in four of its past five home games.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook (7-8) walked his first three batters.
BRAVES 3, NATIONALS 2, 10 INNINGS
ATLANTA — Justin Upton homered in the 10th inning to lift Atlanta over Washington again.
Upton’s 23rd of the season to left-center came on a 2-2 pitch from Ian Krol (1-1).
Scott Downs (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the Braves, who stretched their NL East lead over the second-place Nationals to 15½ games.
Washington’s Bryce Harper was hit by pitches in the fourth and eighth. Plate umpire Marty Foster warned both benches after Luis Avilan plunked Harper on his shoulder in the eighth.
Nationals players rose to the top of the dugout but didn’t come onto the field. Less than two weeks ago, both benches emptied when Harper was hit by a pitch from Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran.
The Braves, who swept a three-game series at Washington from Aug. 5-7, lead the season series 11-3, including six straight wins.
GIANTS 14, MARLINS 10
MIAMI — Hunter Pence hit two doubles, a triple and drove in five runs to power San Francisco past Miami.
Hector Sanchez hit a three-run homer, Pablo Sandoval had four hits and three RBIs, and Brandon Belt had four hits and scored four runs for the Giants, who set season highs for runs and hits (19).
Justin Ruggiano homered twice and drove in four runs for the Marlins. Christian Yelich and Placido Polanco each had three hits.
San Francisco’s offense broke loose after averaging 2.73 runs per game since the All-Star break, the second-fewest in the majors.
Chad Gaudin allowed eight runs and 11 hits in four innings for the Giants, while Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (2-3) gave up 11 runs — nine earned — in three innings.
Sandy Rosario (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
BREWERS 7, REDS 6
MILWAUKEE — Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Milwaukee a victory over Cincinnati.
Jean Segura sparked the winning rally when he beat out a leadoff chopper to shortstop for his third hit. Lucroy then drove a 1-2 pitch to left for his 17th home run, snapping Cincinnati’s five-game winning streak with his first career game-ending homer.
Chapman (3-5) had converted each of his last six save opportunities.
Todd Frazier had three hits and matched a career high with four RBIs for Cincinnati, which lost out on an opportunity to leapfrog St. Louis for second place in the top-heavy NL Central.
Lucroy finished with three hits and three RBIs. Khris Davis had a two-run double, and John Axford (6-6) pitched a scoreless inning.
METS 5, PADRES 2
SAN DIEGO — Marlon Byrd, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy homered to back Jonathon Niese’s solid outing for New York against San Diego.
Byrd and Davis connected on consecutive pitches from Ian Kennedy in the third. Murphy hit a two-run shot an inning later to make it 5-1.
Niese (5-6) allowed one run and six hits over six innings in his second start since returning from the disabled list. He struck out a season-high nine and walked one.
LaTroy Hawkins earned his fourth save.
Davis has four homers off Kennedy (4-9) in nine at-bats.
San Diego has dropped eight of 10 and fell into last place in the NL West.