The Chicago White Sox ended a nine-game losing streak by holding off the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 on Sunday, while the New York Yankees overcame Mariano Rivera’s blown save to avoid a four-game sweep by Boston with a 4-3 win over the Red Sox.
In the National League, the Cardinals outscored Pittsburgh 26-10 overall in taking the NL Central lead after Michael Wacha pitched seven shutout innings and drove in two runs to lead the St Louis to a 9-2 win over the Pirates for a three-game sweep. Down 4-1, Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth against Addison Reed. After Ryan Flaherty grounded into a forceout at second base that scored a run, pinch-runner Chris Dickerson ran for him.
Dickerson tried to steal second on a pitch to Brian Roberts, who hit a foul pop near first base. Dickerson did not know where the ball went, and the baserunning blunder made him an easy out at first.
Adam Jones hit his 31st home run for the Orioles. New York’s Ichiro Suzuki scored on Brandon Workman’s wild pitch with two outs in the ninth inning as the Yankees denied the AL East-leading Red Sox a sixth straight win.
Rivera (5-2) came in to start the eighth for the first time since 2006. Will Middlebrooks’ leadoff homer in the ninth gave Rivera his seventh blown save in 48 chances.
Seattle pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez had a go-ahead single in the eighth inning as the Tampa Bay Rays rallied past the Mariners 4-2 to build their wild-card edge.
Bruce Chen picked up Kansas City’s beleaguered starters with seven solid innings as the Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-2.
In other AL games, the Oakland Athletics downed the Houston Astros 7-2, the Texas Rangers edged the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 and the Toronto Blue Jays blanked the Minnesota Twins 2-0.
The New York Mets rebounded to beat the Cleveland Indians 2-1 in interleague play.
The Pirates arrived at St Louis this weekend with a 1.5-game division lead and a chance to cement their first winning season since 1992. They left trailing the Cardinals by 1.5 games and still stuck on 81 victories.
Wacha (3-0) allowed two hits and walked two, both of which were erased on double plays. He struck out two and never had more than one runner on at a time.
At Philadelphia, Darin Ruf hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning to back a strong outing by starting pitcher Cole Hamels and lift the Phillies to a 3-2 victory and three-game sweep over the Atlanta Braves.
Hamels (7-13) gave up just two hits, both homers, and two runs over eight innings. He struck out nine and walked two. He retired the side in order four times.
San Francisco’s Angel Pagan singled home the winning run in the 11th inning to lead the Giants past the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2.
Pagan singled sharply off Joe Thatcher (3-2) after Hector Sanchez singled and Gregor Blanco reached safely on a fielder’s choice. Pinch runner Ehire Adrianza beat the throw home.
In other games, the San Diego Padres defeated the Colorado Rockies 5-2, the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1, the Washington Nations downed the Florida Marlins 6-4 and the Cincinnati Reds were 3-2 winners over the Los Angeles Dodgers.