Boston’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a tiebreaking grand slam home run in the seventh inning to lift the Red Sox to an 8-4 win over New York on Friday, denting the Yankees playoff hopes.
New York’s loss, combined with a win for Tampa Bay over Minnesota, saw the Yankees slip two games behind the Rays, who currently hold the second wild-card berth in the American League with between 14 and 16 regular season games to play. Cleveland sit between the Rays and Yankees after defeating the Chicago White Sox.
Baltimore rejoined the wild-card race by beating Toronto to move within half a game of the Yankees, while Kansas City’s hopes took a blow with defeat at the hands of American League Central leader Detroit.
In the AL West, Oakland extended their lead over Texas to 4.5 games by beating the Rangers.
In the tight National League Central, St Louis recovered the outright lead with a 10-inning win over Seattle, while rivals Pittsburgh and Cincinnati both lost, to the out-of-contention Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee respectively.
Atlanta and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who hold comfortable leads in their NL divisions, both lost.
Saltalamacchia also doubled and scored twice while David Ortiz and Stephen Drew each doubled twice for the Red Sox, who notched their 15th win in 19 games.
Koji Uehara preserved Boston’s lead with a perfect ninth inning. He has retired 37 straight batters; the longest streak by a reliever in six years.
New York’s loss gave some breathing space to Tampa Bay, who were led to a 3-0 win over Minnesota by Chris Archer pitching six scoreless innings.
Archer (9-7) scattered three singles and struck out seven without a walk.
Cleveland moved ahead of the Yankees in the wild-card pecking order by beating the Chicago White Sox 3-1.
Indians starter Danny Salazar struck out nine in 3-2/3 innings, working on a limited pitch count.
Ryan Raburn hit an RBI double for Cleveland, who beat Chicago for the 10th time in a row this season.
Baltimore revived their flagging playoff hopes with a 5-3 win over Toronto, as Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 50th home run of the season, a tiebreaking solo shot in the eighth inning.
Davis became the 27th major leaguer to join the 50-homer club, and the first since Jose Bautista in 2010. Davis led off the eighth with a blast to center.
The drive matched Brady Anderson’s 1996 Orioles record tally and made Davis just the third player in major league history with 50 homers and 40 doubles in the same season. The others were Babe Ruth (1921) and Albert Belle (1995).
Detroit’s Prince Fielder homered and drove in three runs to power the Tigers to a 6-3 victory over Kansas City.
Detroit remained six games ahead of second-place Cleveland in the AL Central and dealt the third-place Royals a setback in the postseason race. Kansas City are now 3.5 games behind Tampa Bay.
Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Oakland survived a shaky night from the bullpen to beat Texas 9-8 and stretch their division lead.
The Rangers scored six runs in the eighth inning to close within a run and threaten an important comeback, but fell short.
St Louis reclaimed the NL Central lead with 2-1 win over Seattle, as Pete Kozma scored on a passed ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th inning.
Kozma entered in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner, later stole third base and scored the tying run.