Joe Saunders and three relievers combined on a three-hitter as the charging Baltimore Orioles blanked Toronto 4-0 on Monday, cutting their AL East deficit to one game.
The Orioles, who took two of three at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, moved even closer to New York. The Yankees lost 4-3 at Tampa Bay.
J.J. Hardy drove in two runs as the Orioles won for the eighth time in 10 games.
Their one-game gap marks the closest anyone has been to the Yankees since mid-June.
Acquired recently from Arizona, Saunders (1-1) retired the first 17 Blue Jays batters before Adeiny Hechavarria lined a two-out single to center in the sixth inning.
J.A. Happ (3-2) allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits in five-plus innings. He walked two and struck out nine.
RAYS 4, YANKEES 3
In St Petersburg, Florida, James Shields pitched eight strong innings to outlast C.C. Sabathia and light-hitting Chris Gimenez drove in two runs, helping the Rays beat the Yankees.
The Yankees, who led by 10 games earlier this summer, had their edge cut to one game by Baltimore, which beat Toronto 4-0. The Rays moved within 2.5 games of New York.
Shields (13-8) and the Rays ruined the return of Alex Rodriguez. The slugger went 1 for 4 with a strikeout in his first game after being sidelined for six weeks with a broken left hand.
Gimenez broke a 3-all tie in the eighth with a two-out grounder that just made it to the outfield for a single off David Robertson (1-5).
INDIANS 3, TIGERS 2
In Detroit, Asdrubal Cabrera’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh inning lifted the Indians to a win over the Tigers, giving right-hander Corey Kluber his first career victory.
The game was tied at 2 in the seventh when reliever Darin Downs (1-1) allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out.
Cabrera then lifted a fly to center off Brayan Villarreal.
Kluber (1-3) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings in his seventh career start. He struck out four and walked one.
Vinnie Pestano allowed two baserunners in the ninth, but escaped for his second save.
RANGERS 8, ROYALS 4
In Kansas City, Missouri, Yu Darvish retired the first 17 batters, Texas hit five home runs and the Rangers beat the Royals in a game that turned testy.
Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning. Cruz watched his drive sail over the wall, then was hit by Louis Coleman’s first pitch leading off the ninth.
Cruz took a few steps to the mound, but was restrained by catcher Brayan Pena. The dugouts and bullpens emptied, but only words were exchanged.
Michael Young answered that by homering on the next pitch.
Darvish (14-9) was pulled after the seventh and struck out six, including five in the first three innings, and walked one.
Bruce Chen (10-11) allowed six runs on six hits, four of them home runs.
WHITE SOX 4, TWINS 2
In Chicago, Gordon Beckham hit a two-run homer and Hector Santiago won in his first major league start as the White Sox beat the Twins and moved back into sole possession of first place in the AL Central.
The White Sox moved a game up on Detroit, which lost to Cleveland 3-2.
Jamey Carroll hit his first home run in three seasons for the Twins, who are 25 games below .500. The home run for Carroll snapped a streak of 1,348 at-bats without a homer, which was the longest active streak in the majors.
Santiago (3-1) pitched five-plus innings and allowed one run on three hits. He struck out six and walked three. Santiago is taking Gavin Floyd’s spot in the rotation. Floyd is on the DL with a sore right shoulder.
In other AL play, it was:
‧ Angels 8, Athletics 3
‧ Mariners 4, Red Sox 1
Ross Detwiler allowed four hits in seven shutout innings and Adam LaRoche homered on Monday, giving the Washington Nationals their first winning season with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
The NL East-leading Nationals improved to 82-52. The club moved from Montreal to Washington for the 2005 season and went 81-81 that year. In 2008 and 2009, the team lost a combined 205 games, then finished 80-81 last year.
Detwiler (9-6) struck out three and walked three, allowing only one runner to reach third.
Jeff Samardzija (8-13) gave up a long home run to LaRoche to lead off the second.
Tyler Clippard allowed two hits and a two-out RBI single to Welington Castillo in the ninth. Clippard threw the ball away for an error and allowed pinch-runner Tony Campana to advance to second before striking out Josh Vitters for his 30th save in 33 opportunities.
PHILLIES 4, REDS 2
In Cincinnatti, Jimmy Rollins hit a three-run homer off Johnny Cueto during a cloudburst that sent fans scurrying for cover, leading Philadelphia over Cincinnati.
John Mayberry Jr added a solo homer off Cueto (17-7), who failed in his attempt to become the majors’ first 18-game winner. Cueto also lost a day game for the first time this season — he had been 11-0 in 13 afternoon starts.
Rookie right-hander Tyler Cloyd (1-1) got his first major league hit and win. He singled ahead of Rollins’ homer to extend the inning. The 25-year-old gave up four hits, including Jay Bruce’s 30th homer, and struck out nine in seven innings.
GIANTS 9, DIAMONDBACKS 8
In San Francisco, Marco Scutaro hit an RBI single in the 10th inning after Buster Posey’s tying double in the ninth as San Francisco rallied to beat Arizona.
Brandon Crawford beat out a single to short leading off the 10th and moved to second when Brett Pill dropped a sacrifice bunt. Angel Pagan grounded out to first to advance Crawford.
Scutaro sent the final fastball from Bryan Shaw (1-5) past diving third baseman Chris Johnson for San Francisco’s seventh walk-off win. Scutaro also doubled and scored the tying run in the ninth to help hand J.J. Putz his second straight blown save.
Sergio Romo (4-2) pitched a perfect 10th for the Giants.
ASTROS 5, PIRATES 1
In Pittsburgh, Brett Wallace had three hits, including a three-run homer, to lift Houston past struggling Pittsburgh.
Edgar Gonzalez (1-0) picked up his first win as a starter in more than four years, giving up a run on five hits in 5-1/3 innings as the Astros won for just the third time since interim manager Tony DeFrancesco took over two weeks ago. Gonzalez struck out five and walked just one.
Jeff Locke (0-1) ran into trouble early and never recovered as the Pirates dropped their fourth straight in the race for the NL’s second wild-card spot. Locke surrendered five runs in five innings to remain winless in five big league starts.
CARDINALS 5, METS 4
In St Louis, Rookie Joe Kelly pitched 6-2/3 effective innings and also doubled, and St Louis held off New York.
Kelly (5-6) allowed five hits and two runs.
He made his second start after a brief stint in the bullpen and turned in his longest outing of the season.