Duane Burleson, Associated Press
Los Angeles Angels' Torii Hunter rounds third base to score on a double by Juan Rivera on Thursday.

DETROIT — The Los Angeles Angels showed the Detroit Tigers what playoff teams look like.

Torii Hunter homered to back Ervin Santana, and the Angels beat the Tigers 7-1 Thursday to cut their magic number to six for clinching their fourth AL West title in five seasons.

Santana (15-5) struck out eight in 7 1-3 innings, allowing one run and six hits.

"He's as consistent as any pitcher I've seen," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's approaching 30 starts, and he's throwing as well as he did in start five or six."

Santana, who won his first six decisions this year, is 4-0 in seven starts since July 27.

"It's about working hard," he said. "You just have to keep it up and keep throwing."

Detroit (67-73), which hasn't been at .500 since Aug. 2, advanced just two runners past first base before Curtis Granderson's homer in the eighth.

Mark Teixeira and Juan Rivera each drove in a pair of runs for the Angels, who broke open the game with a four-run third inning off Kenny Rogers (9-13). Gary Matthews Jr. hit safely in his first four at-bats, his first four-hit game since June 9.

Rogers (9-13) was removed after he gave up four straight singles starting the third inning, his shortest start since he gave up seven runs and got just two outs at Cleveland on July 25, 2006. The 43-year-old left-hander, who allowed six runs and eight hits in two innings, has lost three straight starts and seven of eight.

"I'm not tired. I feel fine," he said. "I had no reason for failing. I went out there and didn't get it done. That's the only way to look at it. Everything they hit went for a double or single or whatever. I just couldn't stem the tide."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland thought Rogers is fighting some nagging pain, but didn't think the pitcher would admit it.

"He won't make excuses. He's a professional," Leyland said.

Run-scoring singles by Teixeira in the first and Rivera in the second built the Angels' early lead. Robb Quinlan and Teixeira hit run-scoring singles in the third, chasing Rogers, and Vladimir Guerrero and Rivera singled in runs off Aquilino Lopez.

Hunter homered in the eighth off Nate Robertson, reaching 20 homers for the third consecutive season and seventh time in eight years. The drive landed an estimated 435 feet away in the upper hedgerow at Comerica Park.

"That's the longest ball I've ever hit here," said Hunter, who made frequent stops in Detroit during his first seven full seasons in the majors with Minnesota.

RAYS 7, YANKEES 5: At St. Petersburg, Fla., Scott Kazmir allowed one hit in six scoreless innings, and Tampa Bay's bullpen weathered ninth-inning home runs by Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to hang on for victory over the New York Yankees. Willy Aybar homered and drove in three runs for the AL East-leading Rays, who avoided a three-game sweep and extended their lead in the division over second-place Boston to 3 1-2 games.


ROYALS 9, ATHLETICS 6: At Kansas City, Jose Guillen drove in three runs, Kyle Davies ended a four-game losing streak and the Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics 9-6 on Thursday night to complete a doubleheader sweep. Kansas City, which won the first game 5-4 in 10 innings, also finished off a sweep of the three-game series between two of the AL's worst teams. The Royals jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the second game and finished with 15 hits. Oakland scored three in the seventh and two in the ninth to cut it to 9-6 before Ramon Ramirez finished for his first career save. Kansas City's David DeJesus had three hits in each game of the doubleheader and scored three times on the day..

BLUE JAYS 9, TWINS 0: At Toronto, Jesse Litsch threw a four-hit shutout and the Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of Minnesota with a 9-0 victory over the Twins. Litsch (10-8) walked two and struck out three and is 2-1 with a 0.94 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A on Aug. 14.

National League

BRAVES 2, NATIONALS 0: At Atlanta, James Parr tossed six sharp innings in his major league debut and the Atlanta Braves beat Washington. Parr surrendered just two hits — both to Ronnie Belliard — walked three and struck out three. The 22-year-old right-hander didn't allow a runner past second base. Jeff Bennett worked the seventh, Julian Tavarez pitched the eighth and Mike Gonzalez got three outs to complete the five-hitter, Atlanta's seventh shutout of the season.

REDS 8, PIRATES 6: At Cincinnati, Joey Votto hit a solo homer and a tiebreaking, bases-loaded single in the eighth inning Thursday, completing the Cincinnati Reds' rally from a five-run deficit. Craig Hansen (0-3) couldn't hold a one-run lead in the eighth, when his wild pitch let in the tying run. Hansen has given up runs in six of his nine appearances with the Pirates, who got him from Boston as part of the three-team trade involving outfielder Jason Bay.

PADRES 5, BREWERS 2: At Milwaukee, Will Venable hit his first career homer and San Diego beat Milwaukee, handing the slumping Brewers their fourth straight loss. Nick Hundley and Luis Rodriguez each drove in two runs for San Diego, which had lost nine straight on the road and entered with the fewest wins in the majors.