Oakland’s Coco Crisp had three hits, including a home run, and drove in two runs to lead the Athletics to a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay on Saturday in a clash of the two teams currently holding the American League (AL) wild-card berths.
Oakland remained two games behind AL West leader Texas, which came up with a last-out winner against Minnesota, while the Rays dropped 4.5 games behind Boston in the East after the Red Sox recorded a comfortable win over the Chicago White Sox.
In the National League (NL), Pittsburgh beat St. Louis to move ahead of the Cardinals and take sole ownership of the Central division lead, while Detroit stretched their lead in the AL Central to a seemingly insurmountable 8.5 games by defeating nearest rival Cleveland.
The New York Yankees defeated Baltimore to move above the Orioles and edge within 3.5 games of the wild-card positions.
Cincinnati beat Colorado to keep pace in the tight NL Central race, and the Los Angeles Dodgers maintained a 10.5 game gap atop the NL West by downing San Diego.
Oakland’s Sonny Gray (2-2) threw 6-2/3 stellar innings, allowing only one walk against seven strikeouts as the A’s won their fifth game in six.
By contrast, the Rays have lost six of seven and are losing touch with Boston.
Texas kept their two-game buffer over Oakland by also winning 2-1 at home in dramatic style against Minnesota.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Alex Rios doubled off Caleb Thielbar (2-2). Two walks and one out later, Leonys Martin sent a ground ball past Brian Duensing, the Twins’ third pitcher of the inning, to bring Rios home and end the game.
Boston’s Jake Peavy pitched seven strong innings against his former team, guiding the Red Sox to a 7-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Peavy (11-5) allowed two runs in his sixth start for the Red Sox, who he joined from Chicago in July.
Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run for Boston, who have won six of their past seven games.
Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett gave up just one run in seven innings to steer the Pirates to a 7-1 win over St. Louis and clear air atop the NL Central.
Burnett (7-9) struck out six and walked just one.
He received plenty of offensive help only hours after Pittsburgh acquired first baseman Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins.
Russell Martin hit a three-run homer for the Pirates on the day they acquired first baseman Justin Morneau from Minnesota, just days after getting Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the Mets as they strengthen for the drive toward the playoffs.
Detroit’s Omar Infante homered twice and drove in five runs to power the Tigers to a 10-5 win over Cleveland; a third consecutive win.
Infante hit a three-run homer in the second and a two-run shot in the sixth for Detroit, who have won seven in a row against Cleveland to improve to 15-3 against the Indians this year.
The Tigers won despite again playing without slugger Miguel Cabrera, who was sidelined by irritation of the abdominal area.
The Indians have lost five straight.
New York’s Ivan Nova pitched his first career shutout to give the Yankees a 2-0 win over Baltimore.
Nova (8-4) had an efficient 104-pitch outing for his second complete game.
Robinson Cano supplied all the offense, hitting an RBI double in the first inning and then leading off the eighth with a home run.