Manny Machado led off the ninth inning with a single and scored the winning run on a single by Nate McLouth, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Wednesday night to retain a share of first place in the AL East.
The rookie also made a key defensive play in the top of the ninth for the Orioles, who moved 18 games over .500 (80-62) for the first time since the end of the 1997 season.
Baltimore started the day tied atop the division with the New York Yankees, who beat Boston 5-4. The Orioles would seek to complete a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay yesterday.
B.J. Upton homered for the Rays, who fell three games behind the Orioles and Yankees. Tampa Bay stranded 11 and went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
Machado led off the ninth with a single off Kyle Farnsworth (1-5), took second on a bunt and scored when McLouth hit a liner off the right-field wall.
Jim Johnson (2-1) got the win.
YANKEES 5, RED SOX 4
In Boston, Curtis Granderson hit two home runs, Robinson Cano also homered and New York defeated Boston to remain tied for first place in the AL East.
The Yankees finished the game without Derek Jeter, who left in the eighth after pulling up lame running out a double-play grounder to end the inning.
Manager Joe Girardi said Jeter wanted to stay in the game, but he told the shortstop to go put ice on his foot. Girardi said it was a bone bruise, but Jeter said it was a sprained ankle that was no big deal.
David Phelps (4-4) gave up one run in 5-2/3 innings, striking out five. Rafael Soriano got four outs for his 37th save, but not before allowing a solo homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to lead off the ninth.
Aaron Cook (3-10) allowed three runs in five-plus innings. Saltalamacchia had a double, a triple, a homer and a walk for Boston, which lost for the 12th time in 14 games.
TIGERS 8, WHITE SOX 6
In Chicago, Max Scherzer pitched six effective innings to earn his career-high 16th win, Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer and Detroit beat Chicago to move within a game of the first-place White Sox in the AL Central.
Scherzer (16-6) allowed a run and four hits, including the first of two homers by Kevin Youkilis. The right-hander struck out seven to increase his major league-leading total to 220 and improved to 10-1 over his last 14 starts.
The series finale last night was to feature a pair of aces, with Detroit’s Justin Verlander facing White Sox lefty Chris Sale.
Fielder hit his 26th homer in the seventh against reliever Leyson Septimo, snapping an 0-for-18 slump and giving the Tigers a 6-1 lead.
Youkilis belted a three-run shot off Joaquin Benoit in the eighth to get the White Sox within three. Jose Valverde earned his 30th save in 34 chances.
Chicago starter Gavin Floyd (9-10), activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, pitched well for the first four innings, but gave up three runs in the fifth.
In other AL play, it was:
‧ Rangers 5, Indians 2
‧ Athletics 4, Angels 1
‧ Royals 10, Twins 5
‧ Mariners 3, Blue Jays 2
Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run homer and Cliff Lee pitched seven strong innings to lead the streaking Philadelphia Phillies to their seventh straight win, 3-1 over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.
The Phillies continued their late push for an NL wild-card spot with a three-game sweep of the Marlins. Up next for the Phillies are four games in Houston against the NL-worst Astros.