Clay Buchholz allowed just two hits over six innings to remain undefeated after 11 games as the Boston Red Sox downed New York 9-2 on Sunday to eliminate the Yankees from the American League East race.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Francisco Liriano took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before faltering in his first no-decision this season to lead the Pirates over the Chicago Cubs 3-2.
Pittsburgh remain level with St Louis for the National League Central lead after taking three of four from the last-placed Cubs and winning for the sixth time in seven games.
Boston lead second-placed Tampa Bay by 9.5 games with a magic number of four to clinch their second division title since 1995.
The Yankees trail the Rays and the Texas Rangers by three in the wild-card standings, with the Cleveland Indians and the Baltimore Orioles also ahead of them in the race.
The Yankees had won the last two division titles and 13 of the past 17.
Daniel Nava had four hits as Buchholz walked four batters, struck out three and allowed only one unearned run in his second start since coming off the disabled list.
Tampa Bay’s Joel Peralta gave up a solo home run to Ryan Doumit in the eighth inning and a three-run drive to Josmil Pinto as the Rays stumbled again in the American League wild-card race with a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
The Rays remain tied with Texas for the two American League wild-card spots, half a game ahead of Cleveland.
Nick Swisher homered from both sides of the plate for the 13th time and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run homer as the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 7-1 to pull within half a game of Tampa Bay and Texas.
In other games, the Detroit Tigers edged the Kansas City Royals 3-2, the Oakland Athletics defeated the Texas Rangers 5-1, the Los Angeles Angels edged the Houston Astros 2-1 and the Baltimore Orioles were 3-1 winners over the Toronto Blue Jays.
In St Louis, Missouri, Yadier Molina broke out of a slump with a home run and three singles as Shelby Miller and the Cardinals remained tied for first place in the National League Central by beating the Seattle Mariners 12-2 in an interleague matchup.
Matt Adams also homered as St Louis won for the seventh time in nine games to keep pace with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both teams are 87-62 with 13 games remaining.
In the National League, Milwaukee’s Sean Halton hit a solo homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift hosts the Brewers to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Wilson Ramos had four hits and five RBIs for Washington and Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven innings for his National League-best 18th win as the Nationals kept up their late playoff push by routing the Philadelphia Phillies 11-2.
In other National League games, the San Francisco Giants downed the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2, the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Colorado Rockies 8-2, the San Diego Padres blanked the Atlanta Braves 4-0 and in a low-scoring game the New York Mets edged the Florida Marlins 1-0 in the 12th inning.