Joe Saunders and three relievers combined on a three-hitter as the charging Baltimore Orioles blanked Toronto 4-0 on Monday, cutting their AL East deficit to one game.
The Orioles, who took two of three at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, moved even closer to New York. The Yankees lost 4-3 at Tampa Bay.
J.J. Hardy drove in two runs as the Orioles won for the eighth time in 10 games.
Their one-game gap marks the closest anyone has been to the Yankees since mid-June.
Acquired recently from Arizona, Saunders (1-1) retired the first 17 Blue Jays batters before Adeiny Hechavarria lined a two-out single to center in the sixth inning.
J.A. Happ (3-2) allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits in five-plus innings. He walked two and struck out nine.
RAYS 4, YANKEES 3
In St Petersburg, Florida, James Shields pitched eight strong innings to outlast C.C. Sabathia and light-hitting Chris Gimenez drove in two runs, helping the Rays beat the Yankees.
The Yankees, who led by 10 games earlier this summer, had their edge cut to one game by Baltimore, which beat Toronto 4-0. The Rays moved within 2.5 games of New York.
Shields (13-8) and the Rays ruined the return of Alex Rodriguez. The slugger went 1 for 4 with a strikeout in his first game after being sidelined for six weeks with a broken left hand.
Gimenez broke a 3-all tie in the eighth with a two-out grounder that just made it to the outfield for a single off David Robertson (1-5).
INDIANS 3, TIGERS 2
In Detroit, Asdrubal Cabrera’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh inning lifted the Indians to a win over the Tigers, giving right-hander Corey Kluber his first career victory.
The game was tied at 2 in the seventh when reliever Darin Downs (1-1) allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out.
Cabrera then lifted a fly to center off Brayan Villarreal.
Kluber (1-3) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings in his seventh career start. He struck out four and walked one.
Vinnie Pestano allowed two baserunners in the ninth, but escaped for his second save.
RANGERS 8, ROYALS 4
In Kansas City, Missouri, Yu Darvish retired the first 17 batters, Texas hit five home runs and the Rangers beat the Royals in a game that turned testy.
Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning. Cruz watched his drive sail over the wall, then was hit by Louis Coleman’s first pitch leading off the ninth.
Cruz took a few steps to the mound, but was restrained by catcher Brayan Pena. The dugouts and bullpens emptied, but only words were exchanged.
Michael Young answered that by homering on the next pitch.
Darvish (14-9) was pulled after the seventh and struck out six, including five in the first three innings, and walked one.
Bruce Chen (10-11) allowed six runs on six hits, four of them home runs.
WHITE SOX 4, TWINS 2
In Chicago, Gordon Beckham hit a two-run homer and Hector Santiago won in his first major league start as the White Sox beat the Twins and moved back into sole possession of first place in the AL Central.
The White Sox moved a game up on Detroit, which lost to Cleveland 3-2.
Jamey Carroll hit his first home run in three seasons for the Twins, who are 25 games below .500. The home run for Carroll snapped a streak of 1,348 at-bats without a homer, which was the longest active streak in the majors.