Kansas City boosted their playoff chances by taking both games of a double-header against Detroit on Friday, with some impressive Royals pitching limiting the Tigers to just one run across the two games.
Detroit still lead the American League Central division by a comfortable six games, while the Royals moved within half a game of second-placed Cleveland and are right in the race for the wild-card positions.
Cleveland lost narrowly at Oakland, who edged within half a game of AL West leader Texas, who were beaten at home by Seattle.
New York’s Alfonso Soriano continued his remarkable recent form by driving in four runs as the Yankees beat old rivals Boston. The defeat saw the Red Sox lead in the AL East sliced to just one game over Tampa Bay, who came up with a ninth-inning winner to edge Toronto.
In the National League, Atlanta extended their seemingly uncatchable lead in the East division to a yawning 15.5 games over Washington by beating the Nationals, thanks to a tenth-inning Justin Upton homer, while Pittsburgh moved three games clear in the Central with a win over Arizona.
Kansas City’s Danny Duffy (1-0) made only his second start in the majors this season and held Detroit hitless in the first five innings en route to a 2-1 win in the day game, outpitching Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
In the night game, James Shields (8-8) pitched seven scoreless innings to guide the Royals to a 3-0 win.
Eric Hosmer homered in both games for Kansas City.
Cleveland missed a chance to make up some ground on Detroit, losing 3-2 at Oakland.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer for the A’s in the first and Eric Sogard put the hosts ahead to stay with a seventh-inning double.
In the top of the eighth, Oakland’s Sean Doolittle (4-4) walked the bases loaded, but escaped with giving up only one run, as former Athletics favorite Nick Swisher — who had tied the game in the top of the seventh — ground out with runners on first and second to end the eighth.
In the ninth, Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera lined into a game-ending double play with two men on base, ending the game.
The win moved the Athletics right onto the tail of Texas, who lost 3-1 against Seattle.
Rangers closer Neal Cotts (4-2), whose 0.93 ERA was the lowest among AL relievers, issued a walk in the ninth, then Kyle Seager — who had been in a career-worst 0-for-21 hitting slump, thumped a two-run homer to put the visitors ahead.
New York’s Alfonso Soriano was once again the slugging star as the Yankees won 10-3 against Boston.
Soriano was three-for-four with a hit-by-pitch and hit a three-run homer in the third that made it 6-0. He has 13 hits and 18 RBIs in his past four games.
The Yankees won for the fifth time in six games and sent the Red Sox to their third consecutive loss.
Alex Rodriguez was predictably the target for Red Sox fans in his first appearance in Boston since he was suspended for 211 games for his part in a doping scandal. He is continuing to play while appealing the sanction.
As Boston slumps, Tampa Bay is surging, winning their third straight by defeating Toronto 5-4 and moving back within a game of the AL East lead.
Tampa Bay’s Jose Lobaton hit a game-ending triple with one out in the ninth inning off Aaron Loup (4-6).
Rays closer Fernando Rodney (5-3) had given up two hits in the top of the ninth, but worked out of the jam.