Cincinnati won and St Louis beat Pittsburgh on Friday to leave the top three teams in the National League Central division separated by just two games as the regular season moves toward its final month.
St Louis piled on 12 runs to beat Pittsburgh and close within half a game of the NL Central leader, while Cincinnati edged the Los Angeles Dodgers to stay within 1.5 games of the Cardinals and two of the Pirates.
In the American League East division, Boston rallied past their archrivals the New York Yankees to extend their lead to 7.5 games over Tampa Bay, who lost in Seattle.
Detroit’s bats lit up in a rout of Kansas City that kept the Tigers 6.5 games clear in the AL Central, while Texas lost a close game against the Los Angeles Angels and were replaced atop the AL West by Oakland.
Cincinnati’s Joey Votto emerged from his deep slump with a single and a two-run homer that led the Reds to a 3-2 win over the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
Votto hit a two-run homer off J.P. Howell (2-1) in the fifth inning for a 3-2 lead.
The Dodgers lost pitcher Chris Capuano to a mild groin strain in the second inning. Already this week, the team had to push Ryu Hyun-jin back from a scheduled start because of a sore back.
St Louis’ Carlos Beltran and Jon Jay had three hits apiece as the Cardinals beat Pittsburgh 12-8.
The Cardinals opened a seven-run seventh inning with nine straight hits off three relievers, including Yadier Molina’s three-run homer.
Jay had three RBIs and Beltran drove in two runs.
Atlanta, who have a runaway lead in the NL East, lost 2-1 against Philadelphia, with Cody Asche hitting a two-run homer for the Phillies in the seventh inning.
Asche’s homer came on the first pitch he saw from Mike Minor in the seventh. In his first time facing the Phillies this season, Minor (13-6) allowed four hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking one.
However his impressive performance was bettered by Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee (12-6), who allowed just one run and no walks, while striking out 10 in eight innings.
Boston’s Mike Napoli hit a tying grand slam in the seventh and Shane Victorino had a go-ahead homer one inning later as the Red Sox rallied past the New York Yankees 12-8 for their fourth straight victory.
Boston erased a five-run deficit in another thrilling game between these longtime rivals. One night earlier, the Yankees took an 8-7 lead with a six-run seventh — only to lose 9-8 in 10 innings.
New York have lost consecutive games when scoring at least eight runs for the first time since 1949, according to STATS. The last time it happened with both games at home was in 1911 against Cleveland.
Napoli also doubled, singled and walked twice in a perfect night at the plate. He scored three times, one night after sparking Boston’s ninth-inning comeback with a two-out single.
The Yankees remain 2.5 games behind Tampa Bay in the fight for the second and last wild-card berth.
The Rays missed a chance to extend their advantage when they lost 6-4 to Seattle, with Justin Smoak doubling in two runs for the Mariners in the eighth inning.
The Rays’ nearest rivals for the wild-card berth are Cleveland and Baltimore, both of whom won to close within two games.
After tying the game in the top of the eighth, the Rays could not keep the Mariners from going ahead.