Sept 27 (The Sports XChange) - Highlights of Friday's Major League Baseball games.
Blue Jays 6, Rays 3
R.A. Dickey pitched into the eighth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays took advantage of a season-high three errors by the Tampa Bay Rays to post a 6-3 victory.
The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak by the Rays (90-70), who entered the game occupying the first American League wild-card spot.
The Rays had committed only 56 errors this season, the second lowest total behind Baltimore, who have committed just 52.
Rangers 5, Angels 3
The Texas Rangers finally gained some ground in the wild-card race with the regular season down to two games as Alex Rios keyed a seventh-inning burst to lead Texas to a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Texas (89-71) have won five in a row, and trail wild-card leaders Cleveland and Tampa Bay by one game.
Rios' singled through the right side to drive home Ian Kinsler, then he stole second and with two outs, raced home on A.J. Pierzynski's infield single.
Indians 12, Twins 6
The Cleveland Indians improved their chances of grabbing a wild card spot with a 12-6 win over the Minnesota Twins and pulled into a tie for the lead in wild card race with Tampa Bay.
The Indians (90-70) and Rays now hold a one-game lead over the Texas Rangers, who beat the Los Angeles Angels.
All three teams have two games remaining in the regular season.
Twins starter Pedro Hernandez dug a deep hole for the Twins as the Indians built an early 7-0 lead after two innings.
Pirates 4, Reds 1
Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run home run and A.J. Burnett allowed just one run through eight innings, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of an important three-game series.
Pittsburgh (92-68) needs to win one of the final two games in the series to earn home-field advantage for Tuesday's National League Wild Card game against the Reds.
Todd Frazier hit a solo home run for Cincinnati (90-70), who have lost three straight.
Burnett (10-11) allowed one run on five hits. He walked one and struck six over 99 pitches.
Red Sox 12, Orioles 3
David Ortiz and Daniel Nava both hit three-run homers for Boston as the Red Sox rolled to a 12-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
The win moved Boston (97-63) one step closer to locking up home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs.
One more Red Sox victory or Oakland loss clinches the top spot for Boston.
The Red Sox did most of their damage in the first three innings, getting eight runs on 10 hits. They scored five in the first and three in the third for an 8-0 lead.
Cardinals 7, Cubs 0
The last division champion was determined with no suspense as St. Louis jumped to a 6-0 lead before the fourth inning was over then wrapped up the National League Central with a 7-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Lance Lynn (15-10) worked the first six innings, allowing four hits and striking out nine batters, eight in the first three innings.
Lynn struck out six successive batters at one point.
Yadier Molina drove in three runs for the Cardinals (95-65) and Matt Holliday added the 250th homer of his career in the sixth.
St. Louis also clinched home-field advantage for the NL Division Series, which starts on Thursday.
Braves 1, Phillies 0
Kris Medlen showed why he is in line to pitch the opener for the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series and Chris Johnson made sure that the gem was not wasted as the Braves beat the Phillies 1-0.
Johnson broke up the duel between Medlen and Cliff Lee by hitting a lead-off homer in the eighth inning.
Lee, who struck out 13, had retired 16 straight batters before Johnson connected on an 0-2 slider for his 12th homer.
Craig Kimbrel then pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 50th save.
Medlen (15-12) allowed two hits, walked two and struck out seven in eight innings to win his fifth successive decision.
Yankees 3, Astros 2
The New York Yankees survived a rocky seventh inning and held on to send the Houston Astros to their franchise-record 13th consecutive loss with a 3-2 victory.
With New York leading 3-0, Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain entered in relief of David Phelps and inherited two base runners with two outs.
Chamberlain promptly surrendered a two-run double on the first pitch to pinch-hitter Brett Wallace before allowing a single to Jonathan Villar and walking Jose Altuve to load the bases.
But he recovered to induce a harmless fly ball to center field from third baseman Matt Dominguez to stall the rally.
Right-handers Preston Claiborne and David Robertson pitched a hitless inning apiece to preserve the victory.
Brewers 4, Mets 2
Norichika Aoki led off the game with a homer and Khris Davis hit a two-run homer later in the first inning as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the New York Mets 4-2.
The Brewers won their third in a row and their fifth in their last six games. Milwaukee is 14-11 this month and is assured of a winning month for the first time since April.
Marlins 3, Tigers 2
Giancarlo Stanton's three-run double in the third inning held up as the Miami Marlins defeated the Detroit Tigers 3-2.
Stanton's hit overshadowed the return of Miguel Cabrera, who came back to Miami for the first time since he was traded by the Marlins after the 2007 season.
Friday's game also marked the return of Tigers left fielder Jhonny Peralta from a 50-game suspension for his involvement with a Florida clinic accused of supplying players with for performance-enhancing drugs.
Royals 6, White Sox 1
After restricting the Chicago White Sox for seven innings, James Shields earned his 100th career victory in the Kansas City Royals' 6-1 win.
Shields (13-9) struck out 10, walked one and gave up just four hits.
In his previous 17 starts, Shields posted a 10-3 record, which tied him for most wins in the majors since June 28.
The Sox need to win one of the last two games to prevent just their fourth 100 loss season since joining the American League in 1901, and first since 1970.
- - (Editing By Ben Everill)